Sharing an article

Going it Alone by Rahawa Haile

“What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine during a summer of bitter political upheaval? Everything you can imagine, from scary moments of racism to new friendships to soaring epiphanies about the timeless value of America’s most storied trekking route.”

https://www.outsideonline.com/2170266/solo-hiking-appalachian-trail-queer-black-woman

I heard of this on the radio and was struck that there might another reason besides being anti-nature that kept people from going out.  Seriously though, this is an excellent read and I heartily recommend it.   I hope it’s acceptable to share in this manner.

 

What’s in the box? Adventures in beauty subscription boxes – Take 1

Signing up for subscription boxes is like going to court, or working in a theatre company. It’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait. I’ve given these subscription boxes a try; Ipsy, Sephora Play, Beauty Heroes, GoodBeing, and Petit Vour. Well, sort of.  Three out of five reviews are below.

First up, Ipsy.  I signed up, paid up, and THEN was told I was on their waiting list and that posting my new subscription to my social media might grease the wheels and get me an actual Ipsy bag sooner. Wait. What? I paid with the understanding I would be getting a bag, that I WAS on the ‘get-a-bag’ list, not a waiting list. No, Ipsy.  No.  Maybe if I’d received a bag and loved it I would tell the world, but in this instance, sigh. I cancelled right away.  No Ipsy bags for me.

Next was Sephora Play.  I dithered, the website refreshed to let me know that they were full up, and did I want to be put on their waiting list?  Sigh, no.  I kept checking and finally hit on a moment in the space-time continuum where an opening existed.  After that, there were no problems.  It did take a month + to receive the first box, but their customer service kept me informed.

There was a Drunken Elephant product that I had been curious about but at $90, I was kept away.  A fat sample arrived, I used it for a week straight, and not one thing happened to my skin.  The Cover FX Illuminating Primer is not for me.  I had planned to give away the items from companies that weren’t cruelty free, and in the end, I ended up giving nearly every item away.  Also too many items were strongly scented, or were something I’m not ready to try my hand at.  Liquid eyeliner scares the hell out of me.  Don’t judge me.

Plus, what am I supposed to do with all those drawstring bags?  One reviewer said she puts tampons in them.  You get a bag each month.  How many bags of tampons does one women need?

I decided to give eco/green beauty products a try.  Enter Beauty Heroes.  They get boxes out to their new subscribers fast.  I told hubs to order early so there would be something under the tree in December and wow, I had two boxes (Nov and Dec.) and then, January’s box arrived the first postal day after New Years.  Bam. Well done Beauty Heroes.

The only item I wasn’t thrilled with was a face oil from Maya Chia that smelled too damn strong and it did not fade. (imagine strong notes of fresh cracked pepper)  I gave it to my oldest who loves this stuff.  There was also a Maya Chia face balm that while too heavy for my face, read breakouts, smells good.  I use it as lip balm.

The BEST face cleanser I’ve tried so far, is Akwi by Mun.  It is superb. Why a washcloth came with it as a sidekick item is an unknown to me. It is not a beauty product no matter who wove it, or how.

The Josh Rosebrook facial hydration spray was nice, I used it all. It smelled a bit like candy but faded quickly.  What can I say, it’s fun to spritz. Once it dries, my skin still needed moisturizer love. The chocolate mask was a kick to use, at first, (45 minutes to leave it on isn’t easy to manage) but again, I used it as recommended and I saw/felt no difference.

Onto Petit Vour.  Their box needs to get from Dallas, Texas, to me in Fresno, California.  Driving from there to here is estimated to take just under 24 hours.  When I emailed a complaint/whine/wtf sort of query in the middle of February, (days after they emailed saying it had shipped) I got back an apology for my misunderstanding, and was reminded there had been a holiday involved. ONE day off equals a package wandering around Texas for five business days?

I love that the items inside the PV box are cruelty free and green/eco beauty, but don’t care what the box itself looks like.  I like that I can recycle it.  A favorite skin moisturizer from PV is called Metta.  I can’t use it every night because it is a heavy-duty moisturizer, but when I do use it, my skin looks happy in the morning.  The odd scent fades fast.  A cream eyeshadow stick from Juice Beauty requires too much pressure to adhere to my lids. I use a brush when I have time to add one more step to what should be an easy one-step application. I love the very light color and subtle shine of “Cove” (the color I received).  It helps me look awake behind shadow casting glasses.

A pink Konjac sponge arrived, but after three days of consecutive use my cheeks started drying out.  I looked like newly born Benjamin Button.  I drank oceans of water to hydrate from the inside, and holy mother of god, it took over a week to get things back to almost normal.  No worries, it dovetails with my youngest’s science lesson.  Plants make two kinds of roots, tap roots, a carrot for example, and fibrous roots, like a Konjac sponge.

I STILL have not used the coconut oil hair mask. I have plans to break off a bit, melt it and carefully, carefully, dab/massage it onto my scalp, and the ends of my hair.  But I’m scared. Even hubs, who has no hair and no interest in hair care heard coconut oil and said, “Coconut oil? In your HAIR?”  Even he knows that putting the full amount of product in a headful of hair in one go is too much and will probably leave my hair looking greasy.

The second PV box arrived without issue.  There was a tiny bottle of shiny illuminator stuff.  It came with its own explanatory card. I opened it, dribbled a drop onto the back of my hand, rubbed it in, and saw it left behind tiny specks of glitter. Maybe I’ll mix a drop into my facial sunblock and see what happens.  There’s also a one-use nail polish remover but so far I haven’t received any eco/green nail polish.

I got a powdered face mask in an elegant envelope.  I can mix it with honey, or cooled down chamomile tea, etc.,.  Maybe I’ll use it on a hot summers day when my face seems to shine with oil like a bag of french fries.  Which lets me segue nicely into the last item I’ve tried, Little Barn Apothecary cleansing oil.  After the face balms I was nervous, but this gem has helped me in the fight to re-hydrate my skin.  It worked, there were no break outs, it even smells okay.  Actually, I initially put a drop on my hand and after a few minutes it went rogue or something, all I know is that I couldn’t wash it off fast enough.  Put it on, wash it off.

The reviewers of green beauty products (sometimes) give me pause.  I wish they didn’t talk about chemicals as if all of them are evil.  Also, microwaves are not something we believe in or not, they are not fairies or Santa Claus.  They speed up the water molecules in food, etc., The science of this exists whether anyone likes it or not.  I’m getting off topic.  Again.  Apologies. (Sorry Santa. I know you’re out there.)

(coughs, shuffles notecards)  I signed up for Goodbeing because they send items from brands I’m very curious to try, such as Vapor, Osmia, Juice Beauty, W3ll People, etc., but don’t want to pay full price to learn I don’t like.  I am learning that Beauty Heroes and their fast shipping is a rarity.  I signed up for Goodbeing on March 1 and have yet to receive a box. I have yet to get a response from their customer service aside from the auto-response saying they received my question and will get back to me within two days. It’s now April 8th, I’ve read over their FAQs and think I can expect the first box sometime next week.  I’m so underwhelmed.

They do have an online question form so items can be more tailored to skin/hair type, etc., which I thought was excellent. I did get to choose two items, but then no box arrived.  I have no idea if that was a glitch or if those items will arrive in the April box.

I’m a little iffy about Goodbeing not being a beauty/makeup box only.  Body care items, such as vitamins, toothpaste, deodorant, I think tea, are included.  That sounds fine. I guess. I’m enough of a hippie.  Sort of a suit-wearing, patchouli-hating, paralegal hippie, but I have some crunchy edges and am open to discovering a tasty new tea, or whatever. But first I need to get a box and so far, that’s not happening.

*UPDATE.  The Goodbeing box arrived today (April 11).  Inside is a bottle containing fifteen capsules that are made with algae, aloe, and some other mess that is said to be clinically proven to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  I want to see that clinical trial.  The capsules are enormous and smell terrible.  I was hoping from the lengthy profile I filled out Goodbeing understood I wasn’t interested in more than say, chamomile tea, honey lozenges or a spice mix for chai.

There is a one ounce bottle of Noto deep serum for the face and neck, it does not have a proper cap for traveling.  It is a thin oil, a drop runs down the back of my hand quickly, and it has an unusual scent.  A bit peppery, or spicy, but only a bit.  I’m getting used to it and I think I can appreciate it, and that the ingredients are listed.  Next is a fair sized jar of face cream by Clarity (the size isn’t given).  It is a thick cream that absorbs into the inside of my wrist nicely.  As I run my fingers over the area it feels different from the surrounding skin, a bit dryer, less silky.  The card says something about leaving a matte finish, so the dry feeling is intended.  The mix I have has sage, desert rose and gardenia according to the label (there is no list of ingredients) and smells flowery.  I’d rather smell sage.  There’s also a note of something that reminds me of items scented for baby lotions, I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not enjoying it and it’s lingering.

Along with the reasonable sized samples are three others that are ridiculous.  First up is a .16 fluid ounce of Seaweed Bath Co. Day Cream.  It looks like the lotions you get in a middling hotel, only of much smaller size.  If I’m to use as directed, on face, neck and décolletage, there is probably enough for one use.  A tiny foil seal is under the cap so I know I haven’t accidentally received an empty even though it feels like there’s nothing inside.  The cream is an unusual light blue color and goes on fine.  It smells a little of sea salt or something that brings the ocean to mind but then a green/medicinal scent scares it away, bringing to mind grannies and camphor.

Second runner-up for worst sample in any box so far, ever, is a primer from Vapour.  The plastic disc the product is in, is one inch diameter and less than half a centimeter thick, so it’s a bit like a fat quarter.  This is glued to a card that says to keep it as a reminder of the brands I love and that the product inside is valued at $3.  Dear Vapour and Goodbeing, you want to know what I value it at?  Less than zero.  If you think a smear of product in a plastic button is better than a smear of product in a foil pouch, you are wrong.  They both suck.  If I took a pink Froot Loop, soaked it in water, smashed it gently and pierced the center with a 1mm sized hole, it would look like what is inside this absurdly af sized sample.  Also, it has an odd medicinal smell to it.  This is going in the trash.  I’ll wash it out and throw it in the recycle.  Vapour, this is a snub.  Your products are pricey, and if you want me to spend my cash on them, you need to give a decent sample.

The winner is a half inch wide section of a tinted lip product from Suntegrity.  The cap of the plastic nubbin-of-a-container is bigger than the bottom but it isn’t filled to the top.   There are stickers so I know the brand and product color (lucky me), AND this comes with a three-inch long section of plastic stick with a brush at one end with which to apply the product.  The fact that they went to the trouble to have these tiny stickers created for their grudging samples strikes me as a clear signal they never intend to go one step better.  Going on with the customer-dazzling ideas (that’s sarcasm by the way) is that the sample and “brush” came in a ziplock plastic bag.  After one use the brush will be dirty, am I expected to store it in the zip baggie for the next two uses I may get out of this?  That baggie came stapled (nothing says classy like a staple) to a thick/glossy Suntegrity card showing the various shades available.  So, Suntegrity, you can buy thick card stock with glossy printing but can’t pony up a bullet sized lip balm?

Along with all of this came six small cards detailing what the items are, one large card mentioning the brands offering discounts, the Clarity jar was in a bubble wrap envelope, and the oil/serum came in another zip baggie.  And of course it all arrived in a cardboard box, with a thousand paper crinkles.   I’m awash in plastic and paper and a pathetic amount of makeup. *End up updated section.

Mostly I signed up for beauty boxes to get makeup, and I have to say I’m not getting much of that. It almost makes me miss my Sephora Play days.  Aside from the boxes, I purchased the Whole Foods Beauty Bag.  There was a full size mascara by Mineral Fusion (that’s quite good) no flakes, and only late in the day smudging.  I’ve learned not to put any kind of sunblock under my eyes if I’m going to wear mascara.  It will smudge even the best waterproof formula.  Everyone else probably already knew that.  Also there was a lipstick by Pacifica that I like.  It has a natural coconut scent, not chemical or candy-like, which fades quickly.  It feels good and is not sticky.  I’m thinking I’m going to end up not renewing any boxes and have to resort to haunting the aisles of Whole Foods and pilgrimages to Credo in San Francisco or Los Angeles.

*Tip.  I’ve learned plain witch hazel dabbed on pimples makes them go away.  No squeezing, or picking, just dab twice a day.

My teen got a couple of Loot Crates, I’ve heard there’s another box for artisan chocolate, there’s probably one for anything you can imagine. Just keep in mind it may be a few weeks before the account gets going and you actually have a box in your hands, so if it’s a gift, better order early.  Be patient, and maybe send some of that patience my way.

Adventures in Makeup

Now that my inner child is a teenager I have been diving into the world of makeup in a way I never have before, (parochial upbringing) and loving it.  For me, makeup is fun and not at all about following trends (my eyebrows can confirm this) or trying to look a certain way, other than colorful and shiny.  I’m talking the Joss Whedon, Firefly kind of shiny.  I also mean shiny as in, metallic eyeshadow because it makes me happy like Ramona Quimby puddle jumping with red rain boots.

This was an experiment to discover if lip products could become my favorite makeup items.  I thought it was time to try ‘high end’ i.e., pricier products, with the idea of discovering some kind of holy grail product.  I purchased a smile-shaped box holding six different high end brands in a variety of lip finishes from Sephora.  For $28 dollars I got two full sized products, and four products in what the beauty world calls ‘deluxe sample’ sizes.  (I have to admit I’ve become a snob and eschew foil packet samples.  Don’t save me.)

I’d heard wonderful things about Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick by Too Faced.  It felt softening and perfect, the color seemed made for me, but it had a cloying sweet smell that while not overly powerful, was strong enough to give me headaches. (I applied it on two different occasions, and wore it for at least half an hour to be sure.  I now think of it as Evil-in-an-Elegant-Squeeze-Tube).  Next I tried Kat Von D. Studded Kiss Lipstick, the miniature spiky looking container is perfect.  The color is fine, but the formula feels drying, and it has a mild scent that while it didn’t give me headaches, it didn’t fade and annoyed me the entire time I had it on.  Also I have the same color in a Colourpop Lippie Stix, which costs $5 compared to the full size KVD Lipstick for $21, and the Colourpop doesn’t feel as if it’s actively removing moisture from my lips.

There’s a Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, it’s a balm with a hint of color.  It’s beautiful (product and package), it feels great, looks great, but again, what is with the strange scents in lip products? Hello, cosmetics companies?  The nose is right above the lips, have you not noticed?  Wearing a scent I don’t like on my lips is like having a smoker living in the apartment beneath me.

How sensitive to scent am I?  On a scale of one to ten, one meaning I can sit next to tuna man on an airplane and never notice, I’d say I’m a seven.  I’ll notice the unpleasant odor, and ration however many sticks of Big Red I have in my bag to last the length of the flight, chewing until my jaw hurts in order to smell something other than my neighbor.  If I keep the comparisons to other lip products, the scent on Colourpop’s Lippie Stix I don’t particularly like at first uncapping, but it disappears in an instant (and it’s not on all of them).  Another example I can give, Fresh Sugar untinted balm hits me with a whiff of, no joke, lemon pledge furniture polish, but, and this is a big but, the smell fades quickly and I can wear it in comfort.  I can’t say the same of the tinted balm in this package, which in all fairness the scent is faint, but for me, it’s just strong enough to be an annoyance.

Back to the box, I picked up the full sized Juicy Shaker by Lancome.  Upon first glance it’s an adorable, tiny martini shaker but with a see-through lower portion which showed the product to be separated like old nail polish.  Ghastly.  Ah ha! I realized, it must be shaken.  I shook it and told myself my lips were being spared from a nasty binding ingredient, but between you and me that glimpse of unmixed product wasn’t appealing.  Then I saw the warning sticker telling me the contents are “Flammable”.  Let me pause so that can sink in.  ___________.  I want to ask Lancome, what exactly should I avoid doing while wearing your lip product?  Visions of birthday cakes setting my face on fire came to mind.  Too much Stephen King you say?  You may be right, but  I haven’t opened the tiny shaker yet.

There’s a Smashbox  Always On Liquid Lipstick (the other full sized product) which I had planned from the first to give to my niece as she loves that brand.  Also, a NARS Satin Lip Pencil, which my oldest daughter says is one of her favorite brands, so that is going to her.

All in all, eyeshadow remains my favorite makeup product.  While I expected I might not like the finishes or the colors of all the lip products, it didn’t occur to me that I’d have issues with scent of more than say, one item.  Oh well.  I’m ready for the next adventure.

Girls, it’s not the distraction, it’s the erection.

Memo: regarding females protesting being told they are a distraction in school because of their clothes.

The truth has been kept hidden for so long, that many actually believe it is about the girls. That they should be sent home, lectured to, and covered up. But deep down we all know this is bull. Even when females wore loads of clothing, from cap covered heads to floor length skirt, males would fall into slobbering fits over the sight of a boot covered ankle, a bit of bare wrist, so it’s not how revealing clothing is.

It’s about the erection. Someone had to say it.

Newly minted teenage boys get fed-exed truckloads of hormones, and even when there is nothing remotely sexy going on, for example, he can be sitting with grandma while Matlock is on, and the hormones can begin to fight for their right to party. The male is now horrified and uncomfortable, not just because grandma is there but because the dress slacks he’s wearing are from last year. Mom refused to buy more because he’s growing out of them all the time and grandma won’t care if your hems are awaiting a flood.
Suddenly it’s very tight in places that only moments ago were not and Male A doesn’t know if he should get up and hide in the bathroom, stay put in case someone sees the bulge, or try to think of how to make it go away. He doesn’t know what to do. Men, remembering those embarrassing moments have fought long and hard, no pun, to hide this secret and put the blame on females, instead of teaching boys how to cope.

It’s been happening for so long now that most have begun to believe it really is about the female in the tank top, or the hoop skirt that flashes the bottom edge of petticoats. That’s how long this shit has been going on. Enough already. Now the erection truth is out. Girls, this is what happens to boys. It’s nothing to do with you. You want proof? It happens in their sleep while dreaming about nothing even remotely sexy. Damn hormones never stop fucking with all of us.

That includes girls. Sure we don’t have appendages springing up and crowding our pants, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get our own deliveries of hormones that try to throw righteous parties during algebra. Those early teen years are fraught with trying to act like a regular school kid while the urge to do things you used to think were gross, tries to overwhelm you. It’s nothing short of madness.

We all deserve a medal for getting through those years.

If you’re a boy and you find this to be happening to you, get a grip on it, (again, no pun intended) and figure out how to manage your penis and hormones. They are YOURS, no one can do it for you, and you’ll have them forever (ideally). It is no one else’s problem to solve but your own. Stop blaming girls. Talk to your friends, read a health book, go on-line. Do not get taken in by a porn site, this will not help.

Sure I know the music industry, Alcohol industry, The American Car Association, swimming pool corporations, clothing for both sexes, pretty much every thing that can be sold, has been marketed to us as if it’s all about the female form, but listen up, you cannot trust those fuckers. They just want to sell you something. Look at what the cigarette industry sold us. Is throat cancer sexy? No. Would James Dean, or (enter name of every hot young man or female since beginning of time here) have been sexy without a cigarette? Uh, the answer is YES.

And if you’re a schoolteacher telling yourself, and girls in your class, that they are distracting you with their bodies, You. Need. Help. You are no longer a pre-teen or teenage boy, and it is unacceptable for you to be stuck in that mindset. You’ve bought into the lie for so long you’re on the cusp of becoming a felon. Wake up and get control of yourself.

This has been an informational blog.
No promotional considerations have been accepted.

Merry Christmas old Building and Loan!

I want to make one thing absolutely clear, when I wish someone “Merry Christmas” it’s not about my religious leanings. I don’t care if someone is Christian or not.
It’s me, feeling and expressing the happiness of a life that is full of wonderful people. I feel a spark of being a kid again, a kid who doesn’t care what I get so much as who I get to share the day with. And in that moment, I get to smile and be one less person demanding anything of a clerk behind a counter, or the stranger on the walk to the park. The smile usually brings them ’round to cheer up their own countenance, and then I add Merry Christmas.
I imagine the Ghost of Christmas present, waving his torch around to help those with less feel abundance and love. I hope such a ghost does exist and gets to everyone who needs some cheer.
I also can’t help but feel the spirit of George Bailey after he gets his wish to have lived his life, even one as unfulfilling as he once thought it was, and joyfully runs down the snowy road, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Enjoy it all. Merry Christmas.

Debbie Downerism: John Oliver and For-Profit Colleges

tressiemc

One of the better things about social media is that if you manage to curate social feeds with just the right balance of entertaining spirits and brilliant intellects, it delivers unto you amazing content you would have otherwise missed.

I woke up one of these days — Sunday? Monday? I’m dissertating — to find dozens of messages from social media comrades about John Oliver’s take-down of for-profit colleges. You can watch it here:

 

It’s very satisfying.

It is particularly satisfying if you’ve experienced what Kevin Kinser rightly points out is the oddly sporadic nature of public interest in a 100 year old institutional practice of selling education for profit. Oliver is one of the best in the entertainment-as-news genre. He reaches people that mainstream media does not. He makes difficult issues palatable for general, concerned audiences.

And if you think about debt, precarity, credentialism and financial cronyism like I do…

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