Hi all, I'm feeling a lot better since my last post, and my eyesight is pretty much back to normal. I saw the specialist Friday but by that time it had improved so much he just recommended gel eye drops or allergy eye drops. I'm really relieved, as it was getting old fast! 

So, it is time for a review! I used my tax refund to sign up for Sixteen92's Circle subscription service. Since Sweet Anthem discontinued their sub, I felt like this one would be a smart investment. A year of four seasonal releases (in 2ml sample form), a limited edition scent exclusive to members, and a coupon code each season for use on full size seasonal products cost me $85.00. Plus members get their packages several weeks before the season officially launches, so you have plenty of time to make informed decisions. These are sold out for the year, but hopefully this service will return! 

My Circle Summer edition was packaged the same as other orders I've received, neatly in a  black bag with a cardboard wrapper, with a note card with the scent list and a handwritten 30% code.  There was also a cute sparkly bracelet, which I believe was meant to coincide with the Jazz Age theme. Full disclosure, most of these scents weren't my thing, but if you like fruity scents, you will be in heaven.

Here are the scents!


Wild honeysuckle bushes after a rain shower


The Beautiful and the Damned

Sparkling pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry and currant with soft violet, gardenia and vanilla absolute

I knew going in that this would not be a favorite, and it's not. It's got two of my least favorite notes, grapefruit and currant, so it just wasn't going to win. It's potent and heady and powdery; it smells like a humid day and a bowl of fruit that has been left outside to steep in the sticky heat. I'm sorry, this was a scrubber for me, though I can imagine it working just fine on others, and other reviews have indicated as such.

Theda

Tart sangria infused with ripe summer fruits (white peach, nectarine, berries, citrus), dark vanilla, wild vines, rose absolute


This one opens with a sharp, boozy top note tinged with berries, and soon after application smells more like apricots or nectarines to me. The dry down is  vaguely fruity and sweet with a little vanilla. It's a little lackluster and indecisive at the end. It just smells like it fizzles out, a little musty even?  I like this only marginally better than The Beautiful and the Damned. It's still got that humid and heady thing going on; fruity scents like this just make me want to take a shower.

Blood and Honey

Blood orange, wildflower honey (vegan), pale amber, honeysuckle

Le sigh. I can think of multiple scents now that contain honey and amber, and they all smell way too strong on me. It's tart and creamy and very, very sweet and it just amps on my skin until I feel like I'm drowning in a vat of honey. The dry down reminds me a little of the Body Shop's Satsuma, which I had a brief love affair with maybe 15 years ago, but it just takes too long to get to that point. On the plus side, these scents are lasting a lot longer than other Sixteen92 scents I've tried. Claire recently changed carrier oil blends and I do notice an increase in longevity. 

Paper Moon


Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, rose


This is much better! It really does have a dry, papery, musky feel to it. It just now occurred to me that it smells like a more summery version of Solstice Scents' White Fox. It must be the vanilla musk doing that. It dries down to a nice, soft skin scent.The peach blossom is thankfully subtle and doesn't scream peach to me. I will use up my sample as it is quite pretty, but I probably won't need a full size, though it's possible this one might grow on me. The sillage isn't massive, but it did linger till morning after wearing it to bed, so it has some staying power.

Eternal Return

Peat moss and damp garden soil, tomato leaf, beetroot, grass, herbs, lavender spikes, galbanum, sun-warmed oak bark


Leaving the best for last here so this review doesn't read like a total bummer (it's not, I swear!) So, this one totally makes up for the other scents not working on me. It's a wonderful garden scent- green/herbal and earthy with a peppery punch from the tomato leaf. The dry down is a warm, clean, woodsy scent that truly smells sun-soaked.  I also love Haus of Gloi's Ploughman and Sixteen92's the Grass Harp, so if you like those or other scents that evoke rolling around in the dirt n' sunshine, perhaps try this one!




Finally, Sixteen92 recently debuted a line of hair care products. I picked up a Detangling Hair Mist in Lolita and a Sea Salt Spray in Vanilla Coconut. Lolita is definitely one of the brand's best sellers, and I've never tried it because the "tart peach candies" in it would usually make it a no-go. I figured trying it in a hair mist would be a safe way to just give it a chance. And of course,  given my general disdain for many fruity scents, I have no explanation for why I love this one. It doesn't make sense at all. But it smells like boozy gummi bears have been hanging out in my hair and having an awesome time frolicking and being their sweet, plump, juicy selves. It's not kapow-PEACH, it's more of a generalized fruitiness that makes me feel nostalgic for scents I wore a gazillion years ago, like Victoria's Secret Love Spell or Bath and Body Works Art Stuff Roll on Glitter. Absolute sugar bombs, but compulsively sniffable.

Anyway, the actual product does a decent job at detangling my fine, yet copious short-ish hair. I use it only on wet hair, a few sprays on each side of my head, and it does seem to make it more manageable. I admit a few times I used it on dry hair as more of a hair fragrance mist (I said it was compulsively sniffable!), and it did start to weigh my hair down a little when too much got on top of my head. As addictive as it is, I try to keep it focused towards my ends and only on wet hair, and that's the way it seems to work best for me. YMMV.

The sea salt spray has a really fine mist, and I notice I haven't gotten any of the crunchiness that some other wave sprays have left my hair with. The Vanilla Coconut is definitely a tropical beach coconut smell, not a gourmand coconut. It's simple but cheery and summery. I've been searching for a long time for a perfect beachy wave spray. My hair is straight but prone to waviness on rainy or humid days, and I'm always looking for products that can amplify that waviness so it looks like an intentional "look" rather than a colossal mistake. But my hair is fine so it's easy to weigh down and hard to hold a wave. This one isn't a miracle worker and doesn't give me the wave I seek, but it does give some texture without crunchiness or build up, and smells delish too. So I enjoy using it and would probably try more of both once I finish these.


And now it's time for a breakdown:

Dislike: The Beautiful and the Damned
Theda 
Blood and Honey
Like: Paper Moon
Love: Eternal Return
Hair stuff

The summer collection launches Friday, 5/29!




2015 has been a hell of a year so far, dear reader. Multiple family deaths, car troubles, and weird health issues for yours truly. I had fully intended to start reviewing a lot more (and I've been on a creative streak, so more DIY posts too) but I've had a totally bizarre health scare this month, and it's not resolved quite yet. I doubt anyone is particularly interested in this unless maybe you've been having a similar issue and stumble across this post, so basically I'm writing this out so I have a record of my experience with this.

About a month ago, I started noticing that when I'd help patrons on the computers, I was having trouble seeing what they were working on. I was used to getting occasional computer eye strain, but my vision was actually starting to get blurry. I had to really strain to help people, and a couple times when they needed help with their phones, I had to get a co-worker to do it because I simply couldn't see clearly enough. I noticed I was getting a lot more floaters in my right eye, and most of the blurriness seemed to be originating from that eye. I have severe myopia, and my eye doctor always told me to be on the lookout for the signs of a detached retina, which I would be predisposed to because of that. So I was pretty damn worried something serious like that could be going on. I tried making an appointment with my regular eye doctor, but I couldn't get in until after G and I returned from vacation. I already had a small trip planned and a week and a half already scheduled off work, but I didn't want to wait that long to get in. So I called a different practice, and they were able to get me in the day before we left for our trip.

The doctor was super nice, and did LOTS of tests. The standard eye charts I failed miserably. I couldn't get past the top largest row of letters now matter how she adjusted it, with glasses or without. I paid a little extra for this new test, a machine that takes a picture of the structure of your eye. You can see your optic nerve, everything. She said it wasn't a retina issue, I wasn't going blind or anything. WHEW. 

But. My corneas were really inflamed, which is what was causing my blurriness. She diagnosed me with Superficial Punctate Keratitis. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, I guess my corneas are covered in tiny little spots/lesions that are causing the blurriness, sensitivity to light, double vision. The doctor described it as "like looking through a stained glass window." And that's what it feels like. Everything's distorted, text and computers are especially problematic, and even if text is magnified, it's still blurry. I couldn't even get through watching a movie. I haven't presented like other descriptions I've read- I don't have any pain (aside from the photo sensitivity and achiness from eye strain, and I didn't have any redness or outwardly visible irritation. She suspects it could be contact lens related, so no contacts for me until this is resolved. There are a lot of potential causes though, and it's hard to know for sure. And the extra shitty thing is, this may be a chronic condition. If it goes away it could come back again, perhaps over the span of years. I personally suspect it's immune system related. I was feeling really stressed out and run down around the time it started (hence the planned vacation) and I've been having some painful eczema/dermatitis flare ups too. It just seems related to me, though I don't know exactly how. 

So, she told me to use preservative free eye drops often and come back after a week to see if it would resolve on its own. No such luck.
We went on our trip, and it was fun, but my sight did hinder my enjoyment. I couldn't see all the nature on our hikes. We saw a family of deer in the woods, but all I saw was a blur when they moved, otherwise I couldn't see them at all. I told G that I'm like a T-Rex, my visual acuity is based on movement. Ha ha. But it wasn't funny in the moment. I was disoriented, and felt detached from everything. I couldn't see people's faces clearly (or my own in the mirror), and couldn't see expressions, nuances, details. Signing forms for our car rental reservation and lodge rental was difficult. I just felt kind of adrift, not like myself. I haven't worn glasses for so long since I got contacts in 2008, and while I don't mind them at home, they just don't feel like me anymore. And doing my regular eye makeup was an exercise in futility, since I was using eye drops every couple hours. So on top of being pretty scared and frustrated about my vision, I was feeling kind of self-conscious and not my best. I made the best of the situation though, and we still had a good time. 

The rest of my time off I had a zillion craft projects planned. I only managed to get a couple done. But I am proud of them considering, and I hope to get some posts done about them. I went back to the eye doctor the Friday before I returned to work, and she said it was no better, and seemed to have gotten worse, as my left eye was now in bad shape too. She gave me a sample of steroid drops and Restasis. She warned me that the steroids were "hit or miss" and my own research suggested that they may prolong the disease in the long term, so I'm glad it was just a sample, as I didn't really want to continue them. Going back to work last week was not much fun, I was feeling like I was only partially refreshed, and kind of like a failure for not getting as much done as I'd hoped. The lights are so bright in the branch, with tons of natural light too, so I was constantly squinting and uncomfortable and struggling to help people. Feeling generally helpless. I went back to the doctor AGAIN last Friday, and she said my right eye had marginally cleared (fewer lesions) and I could mostly get the top line of letters on the eye chart. But it hadn't improved to her satisfaction, so she made me an appointment with a cornea specialist, and I'm going to see him this Friday. 

Over the weekend I feel like it's improved a little, but I'm not ready to get my hopes up just yet. The chronic nature of the condition is weighing on me and keeping me from getting too excited. But I'm able to type this post (hopefully not too many typos), so that is an improvement for sure. A couple weeks ago I simply couldn't. Even if it gets totally better, I'm still going to see the specialist, because I want to know if there are any other new treatments out there, especially if it happens again. My doctor told me about something called Autologous Serum Drops that may be an option for me. They're basically eye drops made from your blood that has been centrifuged to isolate the plasma. They're supposed to be regenerative and great for dry eye syndrome and other ocular diseases. Sounds weird, but it seems like they work. And since it's made from you, you can't really have an allergic reaction to it. But I will have to ask the specialist about them, as they're outside her realm of knowledge. I don't know if they're cost prohibitive or if there is a lab nearby that can make them. I'll see soon. LOL. I hope.




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