Category Archives: Hobbies

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.

There’s treasure everywhere

Today a friend gave me a big box full of beading things.  She said it had belonged to her mother, who passed on some years ago.  My friend has come to the decision she isn’t going to take up the hobby, and that it’s time to let go of these items.  I asked a few times if she was sure she was ready to give these things away.  She was sure and so tonight I looked through it all, like a pirate discovering a trove full of treasure.

It was clear her mother spent a lot of time creating this stash; from choosing beads in all shapes and colors, to the large variety of the fiddly bits one needs to complete projects.  Everything was organized and labeled.  All the while I had a sense I couldn’t put my finger on.  Melancholy?  Hope?

I came across a project-in-the-making bag, inside were two kinds of beads, sparkly diamond like crystals, and alphabets beads.  Lastly, a heart and arrow clasp had been chosen for this piece.  As soon as I realized the letters were to spell out my friends name, it hit me.  That moment came in like a gentle wave.  Finished or not, the love is clearly there; in the intention, and six tiny beads with a heart.  Treasure indeed.

I bake, therefore I am

Baking, it’s my favorite kind of technical chemistry.  I failed a semester of science in my freshman year of high school, maybe she should have asked us to measure and mix together things like flour, baking soda, butter, sugar and chocolate chips.  Anyway, one of the best parts to making homemade goodies are the reactions from people.  They often get nostalgic, with eyes rolling back in their heads, they moan words along the lines of, “This is just like my grandmother used to make.”  I love that, for a few seconds they are transported to a place and time when they were blissfully content.  Then I get to hear a personal story that creates a warm and fuzzy moment.

Today, I want to bake something I haven’t made before.  I was tooling around the Bakerella website looking for a cupcake recipe, then got lost in the world of beautiful and seriously yummy looking goodies.  She’s amazing and so is her website, if you’ve never seen it, check it out.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to bake today, something chocolate I think, but I’m also wanting to make something new, like buttery yellow cake… with chocolate frosting naturally.

There was a yellow cake recipe on the Bakerella site, but I’m not partial to wrapping cake in plastic wrap, and refrigerating it.  That equals wait time and how anyone does that is beyond me.  Plus, I’m kind of wanting something warm, possibly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  Apple cobbler comes to mind, and how it makes the house smell impossibly perfect with cinnamon and apple.  But there’s no chocolate in that.  I believe I’m on the hunt for a warm, chocolatey treat because a week or so ago I was nuts for chocolate lava cake, only, turns out, I don’t really like lava cake.  It’s hot cake batter, not bad, but not what I want.  When I hear lava, I think of rivers of hot fudge, smooth, thick, chocolatey.  Sigh.

I could make the tried and true, triple chocolate brownies, but that’s not new.  Conundrum.  I’m going back to perusing the web for a recipe that calls to me.  In the meantime, what’s your favorite baked dessert and is there a story to go with it?