A few days ago I received a lovely pink-labeled package from my favorite indie makeup company, Beauty From the Earth. I figured it was time for me to take stock of my BFTE collection, because it has grown considerably since I first started squirrelling away their products in October of 2010.

First though, the order I just got and swatches!

Top: Victoria, Addicted, Kiss and Tell
Middle: Bat Wing, Spider Venom, Golden Age
Bottom: Chili Pepper, Treason, and Rockstar
The brushes were actually a back order from their Cyber Monday sale. The crease brush I ordered sold out before it could be removed as available on the website, and I asked Crystal (the owner) to just hold that portion of my order for me until the new brushes arrived. Time passed, and when I asked about them, she told me that she'd had trouble with the provider, who never shipped the brushes. Then, she very kindly offered me a refund or two brushes of my choice, so I told her she could just surprise me with whatever brushes she chose. These are what I got. Not a bad deal for just a minor inconvenience! Another reason why I love BFTE!

And onto swatches, all over bare skin:


Rockstar, Chili Pepper, Treason

Bat Wing, Golden Age, Spider Venom


Addicted, Victoria, Kiss and Tell
And rather than wax poetic about how gorgeous these all are (and they are), here is a look I did utilizing some of them. I'm going to call this one my " Long-Lost Fruity Tic-Tac" look. When I was little, and I mean, really little, I remember getting packs of Tic-Tacs that had grape, orange, and cherry flavors all mixed together. I'm not even positive they were the Tic-Tac brand, only that they looked like them, and were very yummy, and so pretty together. I haven't seen them in many a year, and I doubt they are around anymore. This color combination reminds me of them. So, my ode to Fruity Tic Tacs:



Lid: Golden Age, Chili Pepper, and Spider Venom
Liner: Bat Wing
Highlight: Kiss and Tell






And finally, my BFTE collection in its entirety:



Total: 128
(not counting free sample baggies)


Now, lest you get the wrong idea about me...does my makeup normally look this organized? Emphatically no. An hour before taking this picture this tackle box (which a friend very intuitively got me as a Christmas gift) was jumbled and filled with a variety of products so full I couldn't even close it. In the next few days it will probably look that way again, but I just wanted to organize everything long enough to take a nice picture and see what I have and what I need more of. I'm thinking, more boxes, since I've already outgrown this one!

Also, a fun fact: out of the 35 full size colors I own, I did not pay full price for a single one. All of them were either Color of the Week (full size at the sample price, $2.00) or prizes for various contests that BFTE holds. My modus operandi is to get samples, and then use my prize choices or COTWs to get the full sizes I want most. Even so, BFTE has gotten a considerable portion of my discretionary income over the past year or so.

I'm thinking since I do have a decent sized collection, I might do swatches for everything I own in a series of posts, and re-do ones I've done before for more consistency. Hope that will help those out who are curious about certain shades!




I recently picked up a few of the Soft Matte Lip Creams from NYX at Ulta and thought I would share some swatches with you. I also thought I would share my woefully small collection of Fyrinnae's Lip Lustres too, because they are initially what encouraged me to try the NYX Lip Creams. I really like the concept of both. Like Lip Lustres, the NYX version is not quite a gloss, not quite a lipstick, and creamier than a mere stain. I don't often wear matte lip colors either, so the Lip Creams were an interesting experiment. I was pleasantly surprised by how subtle and wearable the colors were. The Lip Lustres I have do have more shine and shimmer, especially Romantique.


These are not drying, though I recommend using a lip balm under them. I just find it easier to apply that way, plus I have horrendously dry lips so I have to be careful to exfoliate and use a heavy duty lip balm before any sort of color (I've been using Jack Black lip balms, and they really work well.) These do have the capacity to highlight any flakes, so be forewarned and take any necessary precautions.

The Lip Creams do have a fragrance to them, it's sort of like an impression of vanilla buttercream. Totally artificial but not wholly unpleasant. The Lip Lustres  have also have a scent that I cannot begin to place. If anybody knows, let me know. I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Here are the shades I got:

Left to Right: (NYX) San Paulo, Stockholm, Antwerp(Fyrinnae) Type A, Romantique

Please excuse the appearance of the Lip Lustres. They have been rolling around inside the black hole that is my purse and are a little worse for wear. There WERE labels with ingredients and whatnot, but they have long since worn off.

And...the colors on:


Antwerp



Stockholm



San Paulo


Romantique

Type A

So, the downside to the Lip Creams is that dryness can be accentuated, though they do feel creamier in general than the Lip Lustres. You can see a little flakiness when I wore Stockholm, but once I washed it off and scrubbed a bit more the other colors cooperated better. The Lip Lustres at times apply a bit patchier and the formula seems slightly thinner. For me they don't last quite as long as the Lip Creams. I would always wear them with lip balm first as well. Color-wise, Romantique is like Rapunzel Had Extensions in lip form, so it's just stupid gorgeous. It's also really nice as a shimmery highlight for the center of your lips. Type A is a perfect darkened blood red. It can go on quite sheer though, as a very light stain over lip balm, or built up for a more intense effect. I think I prefer the Lip Creams formula wise, and the Lip Lustres for their colors. I would still consider both Vix Picks and definitely worth checking out.

Have you tried either of these? What did you think of them?
I know, I failed to do a Birchbox review last month. I do have a good reason for that though. Birchbox had several problems last month, including one product not being ready in time for shipment, and there was some sort of shipping snafu with Birchbox's shipping provider, Streamlite, and some people either did not receive their boxes or received them very late. I wasn't too upset though as Birchbox added 100 points to my account for my trouble and I still got my box, albeit around New Year's. By that point it seemed a little silly to do a review, but Birchbox got their act together this month!

Here's what I got:


Handy Birchbox Magnet: Because you can never have too many magnets.

Viva La Juicy sample: LOVE Juicy Couture and Couture Couture, and I love this one too. If I buy perfume like this though, it's going to be through Ebay.

Origins Cheeks and Balances Frothy Face Wash: I really like this so far. It's very thick and creamy, a little goes a long way and it foams up very well. It smells fresh and sort of minty too. I may get this at some point. It does rinse off a little too "squeaky-clean" for my tastes, but it doesn't feel drying so I can overlook it.

VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Lotion:  Apparently you can use this lotion everywhere. It really has no scent that I can detect. I've only used it on my face but I like that it contains glycolic acid and it still feels very gentle.

Larabar:  More food. I got mine in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. This wasn't half-bad. The first bite was a little...hmmm...the dates give it a peculiar taste initially but once I finished it I thought, okay, I would perhaps eat this again.

Stila Smudgestick in Peacock: Full size product! Very happy to get this, and the color is gorgeous, a rich, shimmery teal. I suppose ideally I would have gotten a brown, bronze, or green shade since those are my favorite colors and the ones that I can utilize most often, but this one is great too. Only downside is that it REALLY smudges.  This is upon application:



And after about a minute to set:

It didn't take much effort to smudge it this much either, and water and light pressure was enough to wash it off. So, not quite the level of waterproofiness that I've encountered with liners like MUFE's Aqua Liners. If you like a more smoky liner look and more time to change it before it sets though, this liner would be a good choice.

This was a good Birchbox month!

Note to self: New Year's Resolution is to be a better blogger, oh, and get more fit, less afraid, more organized, more evolved as a human being and figure out what bloody direction my life needs to start going in. But, until I get the guts to face all that, being a better blogger will do.


 Addendum to Resolution: stop apologizing when setbacks occur in blogging progress or when an unforeseen hiatus takes place. Nobody wants to read your long-winded explanations and excuses. Hello, bor-ing.

What y'all want to read about is what I got with my Secret Santa gift from G's sister: a Solstice Scents Gift Certificate, yo!

OK, just one more quick addendum: I wrote the Snark Bite before this post actually after writing this post, but I was so pleased with it I published it first. I know it sounds, um, well, snarky, but flaky people are one of my biggest pet peeves and I've had a few very annoying flake encounters lately that compelled me to write about them as a general demographic.

Oh, and one absence explanation (hopefully that doesn't seem hypocritical and, ha, flaky, since I did tell everyone last week what was up): mom was released from the hospital this past Sunday, seems to be doing a little better. Ended up not doing a feeding tube because it might have been too dangerous given the size of her stomach and general health. It was ridiculous how she was in the hospital for malnutrition and all the tests they were doing required her not eating or drinking for long periods of time, like 15+ hours! It was crazy, and her already tenuous and a'hem, challenging disposition was certainly NOT helped by that complication. Anyway, doctors tweaked her medications and supplements and are treating her for an ulcer, so hopefully that all will help. OK, time to move on and start talking about the things I love!

First , G and I got our new bed, and I really like it! My dad helped me build the platform. G is not technically inclined that way so it was good for me to learn how to do it. Even used a power drill (baby steps to the power drill...) It actually looks nice, and the mattress is so much better than our old one. It still hurts a bit if I sleep too long on my back, which is easy to do because with the memory foam you don't feel the need to change position much during the night. But it's easier to get in/out of, and feels generally more supportive. I think it was definitely worth what we paid for it.

When you open up the mattress package, you have to let it air out for a few days because it can contain some chemical fumes. We didn't notice any bad smells, but we left it in the living room for a few days just to make sure. And during this time, I came home to find some odd little snag marks in the otherwise pristine mattress, and I had my suspicions, but thought..."nah, impossible!"

And then...PROOF!
If you make plans with someone only to back out at the last minute for some generic, vague reason that may or may not be true with no consideration for the value of the other person's time, you may be a flake.

If you don't show up for meetings that were arranged only hours before and fail to contact the party you were supposed to meet to notify them and apologize, you may be a flake.

If you expect others to take the initiative and seek out your company or make plans with you, and never make the effort to reciprocate, you may be a flake.

If your conversations consist of a great deal of talking and very little listening, you may be a flake.

If that "talking" consists of a great deal of talking about yourself rather than showing any genuine interest or concern for the other party, you may be a flake.

If your "listening" really just consists of quiet contemplative moments during which you are mentally preparing the next thing you are planning to say, about yourself, you may be a flake.

If you fail to maintain equality in "friendships" by disappearing when your other obviously more important relationships are either going badly, going well, or going any way that encourages you to become so distracted by your own "issues" that you don't give a flying fuck about anyone else's, you may be a flake.

If you meet all of these criteria, you are definitely a flake, and Flakes are only good as candy bars. Grow up and start treating other people the way you like to be treated.

Sincerely,

Fed Up People Everywhere Who Are Still Kind-Hearted Enough to Hope For Your Reformation


P.S. Feel free to post this Snark Bite anywhere the flakes in your life may find it!
Well, the first crisis of 2012 appeareth. My mom had to be admitted to the hospital yesterday for what the doctors say is "bariatric starvation." She had bariatric surgery about 6 years ago and she never really seemed to adapt well to it. She lost weight, yes, but she has been unable to absorb nutrients properly or keep enough food down, so she has basically been wasting away. It has gotten much worse over the past few months. For several years there my parents were in a bad financial situation, my dad finally, thankfully, got approved recently for disability, and I know they probably hadn't been able to keep up with all the supplements and things she needed to be taking to stay healthy.

Dad said she weighed 113 last week and was at 105 yesterday, and she has been looking extremely unhealthy and gaunt. The lack of calcium has left her with bad osteoporosis, her eyesight has been deteriorating, and her legs have been swelling up, both of which can be caused by vitamin deficiencies. Wonder why it took doctors so long to figure this out and make the connection. My parents ended up going to see the doctor who performed the surgery initially, who postponed a planned vacation to see her, which says to me it was pretty serious and could have been irreparable left untreated much longer. So now she is in the hospital; I suppose they will have to give her a feeding tube to get calories in her and get her stabilized. Not sure exactly what happens from there. I haven't gone to see her yet, but dad says she is pissed at the world, and I know what that means. I feel like a prick for having been so upset with her over Thanksgiving, but if anyone can test the limits of your compassion, it's her.

I'm sure it will be OK, my family is no stranger to health problems and hospitalizations, so I'm less upset/surprised than one might normally be. It's sort of par for the course, but still...ugh.
I could easily use that as my excuse for not posting lately, but really it's just been the usual business and holiday drama. Things went fairly smoothly at my parents, and the
 get-together with G's family was nice as always. I got some things I had really been needing, er, wanting, and G and I got a few joint gifts. *Cue my dad's dorky jokes: "What, you got some joints for Christmas? Can I have some?"*

Um, no dad.

I did, however, get a food processor. I had envied G's sister's food processor at Thanksgiving and got probably a little too excited at the sight of them shredding a huge block of cheese in no time. So's G's dad and stepmom got me the same model, and I told them, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna go home and process something!" They also got me a neat rotating spice rack, with 20 jars! I'm sort of picky about my spices though, so I might replace the contents of some of the jars with my own spices.

Then, G's sister noticed me post a glowing recommendation of Solstice Scents on my Facebook wall, and she was my Secret Santa so she gave me a 25.00 gift certificate. Yep, already spent it.

My parents actually got us a TV too, and it was high time since our TV is ancient, like, one with a huge, heavy back to it. And G's gift to me was a new bed! This sounds like a lot of big ticket items at once, but our bed is probably 13 years old or older, he had it for years before we met and it is a thing of evil and pain and misery. I can't sleep a full night on it and frequently wake up unable to move and when I finally do I groan "ow, ow, ow" , hunched over on my way to the bathroom like I'm a hundred years old. Not cute, not fun. So, this was a wholly unfrivolous purchase. I ordered a memory foam mattress and platform bed from Overstock and should be getting them soon. It made me nervous ordering sight unseen, but I swear if it turns out to be a concrete slab it will feel better than our current bed. So now I have spent my New Year's weekend cleaning out our *somewhat* untidy bedroom and rearranging the furniture so things will look nicer, more organized, and more worthy of our awesome new bed.

Plus, I got my new camera, which does so much more than my old one and it will take me a while to get the hang of it. Thus far it shows immense promise!

Now, as promised, here are some pics of the cornucopia of gustatory joy that I made this holiday season. Keep in mind that these are the leftovers from sorting everything out into gifts for the four main couples/families at G's get-together:



I made:
Peanut butter cups
Peppermint patties (these are so much fun and so easy!)
Shortbread
Apple streusel cheesecake bars
Mint chocolate meringues (these were each piped over a Hershey's Kiss so they each contained a chocolate center!)
Raspberry Jam Linzer Pinwheels
Chocolate Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies
Fudge Cups
Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Kahlua Marshmallows
Not pictured was my Kahlua Roulade that fell apart and I turned it into a trifle instead. Not pretty, but pretty nomtastic.

I might have gone a little overboard.

I didn't rest much this holiday season.






And here is a shot of the little gifts I had made up. I have to admit I was pretty proud of these, they were a bit precious!


If anyone wants detailed info/recipes/tutorials on anything I made, just leave me a comment!



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