My July Birchbox  actually came in a timely manner this month, but I just totally forgot to post about it. Go me. I did remember to take pictures though so here is just a quick post to document what I got. It was a decent box, nothing extraordinary but decent. I was happy to get the Eyeko liner in black rather than the teal or olive advertised on the Birchbox site. I got a teal Stila smudgestick in a previous box and didn't really did another liner in that color. I will say the headphones were a cute touch, but unfortunately sound like listening through a tin can under water, so these will be reserved strictly for music emergencies.

If anyone wants to know more about any of these products, just leave me a comment!

I just returned from LUSH, empty handed. I wanted to buy something. I bought nothing. Why, you ask? Because while shopping in a LUSH store is always a test of mental endurance, this time the experience left such a bitter taste in my mouth I'm not sure when or if I'll go back.

Rant alert!

I'm not really a huge bar soap person, and whipped soaps are quickly turning into my cleanser of choice, but when Haus of Gloi did a big soap release recently I decided to just try them, as well as the Body Emulsions, the lighter alternative to the Pumpkin Butters.

Here's what I got:

Bar soaps in Sol and Moon Dog
Insalata Nocturna Body Emulsion
Moon Dog Body Emulsion
Picaroon Bubbling Scrub
Free sample of Depravity

First off, the soaps are just gorgeously crafted, almost too pretty to use. My method has been to cut a slice off, which seems to be lasting me 3-5 days of generous use. I suspect I can get about 6 good slices from each bar. One of the things that turn me off of bar soap is when they leave a too squeaky-clean feeling behind, which to me feels filmy. There is a slight squeaky clean feeling with these, but it somehow disappears almost right after I get out of the shower, so it hasn't been an issue for me.

I really quite like the Body Emulsions as well. I don't really consider the Pumpkin Butters particularly heavy as far as body creams go, but the Emulsions are a little lighter, with a bit more slip, and they soak in just a bit faster. These are perfect for summer.

I have tried Insalata Nocturna (In the night garden, green Bolivian lemon, rubbed tomato leaf, olive leaf absolute, black fig syrup and basil)  before and just felt compelled to get it in an Emulsion. It's a little lemony at first but it also has that interesting garden-fresh tomato note that I like alot.

I got a free sample of Picaroon (Sun scorched mahogany bough crusted with a crystalline sea spray. Faint plundered and rare spices. Lemongrass, coconuts, fine Mexican lime and bay rum. in another order and love that one too. I think it would work perfectly as a unisex scent, the rum gives it a pirate-y edge and is a neat mixture of fresh, fruity, and spicy.

Sol (The sun, at its apex: Dry gingergrass, litsea cubeba, neroli, frankincense tears, saffron infused honey, rosemary and the faint touch of true cinnamon bark) I have only tried as a soap, and I think I'd be able to get a better handle on it if I had the perfume oil to compare it to. For the most part I get just a clean soapy smell, along with something warm and summery. The gingergrass is the only note that is really apparent to me. The description states it contains cinnamon bark, but while I'm sensitive to cinnamon oil, the soap didn't bother me at all.

I tried Depravity (Pure corruption: clove, nutmeg lurk amongst the sweetest offerings of coconut, on a bed of rich golden amber, laden with dustings of sandalwood and spilled wine) as a scrub previously, and getting the oil made me wonder why I never got this again. The name says it all; brings to mind drunken debauchery and decadence, all heady wine, spice, with a hint of the coconut that I love so much in Moon Dog. It's so easy to be distracted by all the new smellies debuting each season that I don't get around to really exploring the general catalog.

All in all, a great little order to reacquaint me with some old favorites and some new favorite formulas!

It has been FAR too long since I've gotten an order from BFTE, my first love in indie makeup. I think I've been on a neutral kick for a while and have been trying to focus on using what I have, which is really much more than I should have! But BFTE recently offered a new "mystery" color for Color of the Week, divulging only that it was a duochrome, so I really couldn't resist that. I also had a couple of free full size shadows to redeem from their 365 contest (looks posted on their Facebook page are chosen to win free shadow, one for each day of the year.)

Along with the COTW deal (the full size shadow along with three samples for six dollars) I was able to get seven shadows and a mini Mix and Fix for a mere $14.00 including shipping. BFTE includes a free sample with each order, which normally come in a small baggie. But this time my order came with a regular sample size jar of Blue Bayou, with a sifter. I'm not sure if that's how the free samples are being sent now regularly, but if so, that's awesome and really generous!

Here's what I got (the shades are labeled in the swatches below)

Full sizes: Splash (the new duochrome)
Golden Age
Dusty Rose
Samples: Lace
Secret Garden
Little Beach
Blue Bayou
mini Mix and Fix

Here's Splash in action. Swatched on bare skin it is a light aqua blue with a slight golden sheen, over a black base it turns more sea green and gold! I'm not even really into a lot of blues except teals and seafoams, and this one is really gorgeous!

Blue Bayou, Little Beach, Golden Age, Dusty Rose, Secret Garden

Blue Bayou, Little Beach, Golden Age, Dusty Rose, Secret Garden, Lace, and Splash

And finally a quick look I did using my new colors:

Lid: Splash
Crease: Little Beach
Liner: Secret Garden
Highlight: Lace

Remember how I spent a nice long Snark Bite recently complaining heartily about recent stress at work? Well, I am a firm believer in stress rendering one far more susceptible to illness, and said illnesses showing up at the most inopportune times. Because here I am with the worst sore throat I have ever had. Swallowing is an exercise in torture and futility. The folks at urgent care said my rapid strep test came back negative but I cry foul. Those tests aren't always accurate, and I know when I'm getting something like sinusitis or bronchitis. I have none of those symptoms. Just crushing fatigue, swollen glands, and a throat filled with shards of glass and pufferfish spines. Not that this is a good thing, but they hand out antibiotics like candy so the doctor still decided they were the best course of action even with a negative strep result. And oh joy, rapture, they're tearing up my stomach too.

But this is, believe it or not, a rather convenient sickness. Because next week is my vacation week, and I would much rather be sick now than then. I won't talk about it specifically until it happens but I'm totally stoked about this little minibreak, and I do not want to be sick for it. Fingers crossed.

Revlon has been on a roll this year. First, their uber-popular, oft-reviewed lip butters. Now, their much more affordable answer to lip balm/stain hybrids like Clinique's Chubby Sticks and Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Stains. I've never tried the Chubby Sticks but I do have one each of the Tarte and Revlon, so I thought I'd share my opinions on both.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick
Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Stain in Joy
First off, I'll say that I love both of these. But for the price ($24.00 for Tarte vs. approximately $8.00 for Revlon) I prefer Revlon. The Tarte came in a recent Birchbox, I don't think I could bring myself to purchase it on its own, as nice as it is.

They are quite similar at first glance: similar size, shape, texture, and slight minty taste. I would say that the Lipsurgence, at least the shade I have, is more balmy than stainy. It goes on a little softer and while pigmented, is not nearly as shocking as it looks in the tube. It has a twist-up/twist down mechanism, but as you can see, it's definitely lost its pencil tip shape.

The Revlon, on the other hand, feels moisturizing but does apply with a little more drag and seems more stainy than balmy. It can go on fairly sheer or built up to some pretty impressive pigmentation. The particular shade I have, Lovesick, has insane staying power! I've only had it about a week, but it seems firm enough that it's maintaining its shape.

As a totally non-scientific test, I decided to swatch each color on my wrist and wear it overnight to see how they'd last:

Upon applying:

And the following morning:

The Revlon would not budge for hours after! I could still see it faintly even after taking a shower, so if you want staying power, this one is awesome. The Tarte was a lot easier to remove.

And here are the shades on:


So, my final assessment: I will definitely be going back for more Revlon Balm Stains. While I love the Lipsurgence too, I can't justify the price when there is a much more affordable alternative on the market.

Have you tried any of the new Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains?
What shade should I get next?

This has been a pretty stressful week at work. First, part of the week our computer systems were offline while we transitioned to a totally new (and totally complicated and unfamiliar) system. So we operated at bare-bones capabilities, only able to check out and check in items, unable to tell patrons anything about their accounts, collect or inform them of fines, take requests, print out lists of everything they had checked out, you get the idea. I admit I did take a perverse pleasure in certain moments when asked to perform one of the above tasks and I was able to tell them, quite sincerely and legitimately, "No, I'm sorry, I can't." And then go on to explain the offline period and when they could inquire again. But, then, that pleasure was dashed with the knowledge that come the end of the week, those same patrons would come in and expect every possible task to be completed at once without a hitch.

So, it has been a trial by fire sort of week. Learning to navigate a totally new system in an orderly training session is far different from  having a line of people waiting for you to figure out which tab to select to request, to get to their items-out list, to pay their fines. Listening while one launches into a tirade about a twenty cent fine on an item from 2007, because they know for a fact they returned it on time. With new system glitches and quirks popping up with every transaction. With the phone ringing too. With someone on the other line who incredulously responds "Oh, you need that? Can't you use my social?" when asked to provide their library card number to access their account. I'm sorry, Is this unheard of? Does one call their bank, provide their name, shouted over the din of TV or arguments in the background, and expect the doors to all knowledge open to them?
Floors me every time.

But that's not totally what this Snark Bite is about. The unusual circumstance this week is simply icing on a big, towering, quivering cake of tension and stress. Utterly toppled and dumbfounded by the sheer lack of common courtesy and logic demonstrated by many of my fellow humans. I say fellow humans because it seems some forget that I am indeed a fellow human, not a robot set on earth to do their bidding. I say logic because it seems common sense, to me at least, that if you want someone to help you, or feel compelled to help you alot, isn't the best approach to be kind, appreciative, and maybe even a little patient and understanding? Tall order, I know. Perhaps I'm an incurable optimist in that respect at least.

So it should come as no surprise that after five minutes with an older lady explaining our new "reader history" capability (one of the cool new perks of our new system as many patrons want to know what they've read in the past, something until now we haven't been able to track) I was a little taken aback when after checking out some items to her, she deadpans to me, with a dismissive flick of her wrist, "get me a bag."

Um. Okay.
 No "can I have a bag?" let alone customary pleases and thank yous. I sort of expect rudeness from the youth, but considering this dear soul was from a generation I daresay raised with respect for traditional notions of politeness and gentility, I was surprised at her blatant sense of entitlement. See, one can buy sturdy library plastic bags, or, if we have them, we provide free donated plastic grocery bags. No guarantees, plus, it's free. If she were purchasing it, I could *almost* swallow it, but, no wait, I couldn't swallow it no matter what. As soon as she said that, in that tone, I immediately shut down and felt no desire whatsoever to help her beyond mere formalities. That's human nature and the truth, no matter how much society idolizes the image of the steadfast employee who lives to work and works to live and takes every indignity on the chin and welcomes more. If I hadn't been so tired and drained from the rest of the day and taken off guard, I might have strained my ear to her and said "sorry, come again?" to force her to repeat her demanding statement. Instead I just did it and was left to marvel at the audacity. Seriously. It makes sense to me. Treat the people helping you like they're people, and they will want to help you a hell of a lot more than if you treat them like insufferable peons. Pleases and thank yous go a long way.

She might have missed that episode of Sesame Street.

This past weekend G and I went to a cousin's wedding. I haven't been to a wedding in forever and wasn't planning to since I'm really not close to the groom (my cousin). But my parents actually seemed interested in going, and they so rarely seem interested in going anywhere nowadays that I decided to suck it up and go. After all, they said, it was being held at a pretty nice country club and there was bound to be some decent food offerings. This sealed the deal for me. It was also a good excuse to get me a classic little black dress, which, oddly enough, I do not own (except for the one from high school still hanging in the back of the closet which was used primarily for funerals.) Not the look I was going for.
(picture heavy)
It is indeed July, and I am just now getting to my June Birchbox. I admit I was a little miffed that my box came with the "second wave" of shipments this month, and didn't even ship until June 21st, and I didn't receive it until the 28th. I am used to it shipping by the 9th or 10th like clockwork and it made me a touch grumpy to have to wait so long. The actual box, however, was a win!

I didn't get the box that I had initially been coveting, which was this one:


I've never been a huge headband person, but this deer printed one from ModCloth is just so stupid, disgustingly cute. I think I might use my Birchbox points on it at some point. The other items seemed interesting as well, but man oh man did I want that headband!

The actual box I got was pretty nice though.

Check that, folks. FULL SIZE Stila One Step Bronze. That's a $36.00 product right there! I try not to measure my "box satisfaction" solely by retail value (since an expensive product I don't like/can't use is of less worth than an inexpensive one that I love) but it's hard to not squee when a full size item appears!

What else I got:

The Balm Stainiac in Beauty Queen
Masqueology Pore Minimizing Mask
John Varvatos Star USA Perfume sample
Comodynes Self Tanner
Tili bag

I haven't used the mask or the tanner yet. I am saving the mask for a rainy day, and self tanner makes me so nervous. Even the gradual kinds often look too dark on me. The John Varvatos perfume was an extra intended to introduce customers to the new Birchbox Man, and I wasn't at all opposed to getting a "man's perfume" in my box. It's not bad, just a classic guyish smell, not particularly dark or intriguing, but pleasant.

The Tili bag extra is handy (though I really wanted the headband instead!). I used it to hold my post-swimming toiletries this weekend. One annoying thing about them is the colorful coating on the outside of it started scratching off just from being jumbled around in my beach bag. So, I wouldn't really invest in these for looks. A regular heavy duty Ziploc bag would work just as well. I also tossed the Stainiac in my beach bag as it doubles as a cheek and lip tint. This is a subtle, summery berry color and was fast and easy to use just to add a little color with a minimum of fuss.

I don't use a lot of bronzing products because they tend to be too dark, but I really like the One Step Bronze. I love the novel helix design and how the different shades of bronzers mix together.

If you're fair, it can seem a little scary when you first start applying:

But if you keep rubbing it in it fades nicely, leaving only a faint glow and a little sparkle behind. You can't really even see much of a difference in this photo, but this is to show that it is still good for fair folks. You just need a TINY bit. I've been using it under my foundation actually and it's working well for me.

So that's June's box. I guess the good thing about having had to wait so long is that July's box is right around the corner!
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