Monday, July 10, 2017

Here's a Post About June

I thought I'd be insanely bored without blogging this summer, since it's probably my current favorite hobby. However, I ended up being totally immersed in Stereotypical Summer Fun with my partner, and I had quite a few products on my to-test list that kept me busy. (Actually, I still have a big list of products to photograph and document...why does this take me so long?!)

First, let me run over a few of my MVPs from this summer. I managed to snag one of these Sephora Chic It Easy sets when it went on sale for $25, which is a crazy awesome deal:

I gave the nail polish to my cousin's daughter, since I already have that shade, and got rid of the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (not my shade and my mom still has half a tube) and Caudalie mist (contains alcohol). Everything else stayed with me. I was especially excited to have this small vial of Atelier Cologne's Orange Sanguine fragrance, which smells like a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. I'm not usually big on citrus fragrances because they're so fleeting, and this Atelier offering is no different, but it's been perfect for carrying around in my purse this summer.

I've been continuing my use-stuff-up journey as well, and I managed to finish a deluxe sample of the Kat Von D Lock It Concealer Creme in L3. This is still the best color match I've found for my foundation-free face, and as I've gotten more and more in to the no foundation look, I decided it was worth purchasing a full tube. I'm also working through another sample of Clinique High Impact Mascara, a great choice for full but relatively natural volume and minimal flaking or smearing. And while I've been lazy about wearing highlighter when I'm sans foundation in the past, I've honestly been loving the glow I get from Glossier Haloscope in Quartz. (It helps that I've had my hair pulled up almost every day this summer because it's so humid.) Glossier recently posted something on their Instagram stories about wearing all 3 Haloscope shades at once, and I won't even lie, I've been tempted to try it.

Now for a few product-related downers I've experienced. Influenster sent me the new Maybelline Brow Drama Shaping Chalk to test, and the shade 120 Medium Brown was definitely Not Okay. It's a little too dark for me and way too warm; it's so red on my brows, in fact, that when I wore it, my partner couldn't look at my face without laughing. (I removed it as quickly as I could to avoid being banished to the couch for bad brows.)

I will note, though, that I actually like the formula of this product. The packaging is a bit fiddly--it's a loose powder in a tube, so you'll get a few flakes on your desk when you pull the doe foot out--but the actual chalk is super pigmented and gives you a soft, filled-in look in seconds. If I could find a lighter, ashier shade, I'd probably buy another tube and use it for my lazier days.

They also sent me the Brow Precise Micro Crayon in 265 Auburn, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why they sent that shade. Medium Brown in one product, Auburn in another? WTF? Auburn is even more red than Medium Brown, so clearly, I won't be wearing it out and about.

Things have been rough on the face sunscreen front, too. Most of the American and European options I've been testing have irritated my skin, dried out my face, or produced a swath of pimples across my cheeks, so I've ordered four alcohol-free Japanese sunscreens that should be, some time this month. In the meantime, I've been using my La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray SPF60 on my face. The lightweight formula is totally workable for the face if you spray it on to your hands, then rub it in. The only downside is that I have to keep it away from my eyes because it makes them water. Also, my bottle has maybe one spray left in it. $35 for a spray sunscreen galls me in my current financial state, so I've been trying a few others that ranked highly on the most recent Consumer Reports list.

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Speaking of sunscreen: did I mention that my partner convinced me to try canoeing? I was nervous that I would look like an idiot (because I'm not athletic in the least) or fall out of the boat (DID I MENTION THAT I'M REALLY NOT ATHLETIC), but I managed to keep my seat and really enjoy myself. I mean, I freaked out a little when Kirby shifted his weight and the canoe rocked, but beyond that, I think this could become my new favorite summer activity!

Pittsburgh's Wood Street Gallery has also had a couple of robots scribing religious texts and duplicating a photo of Mars for the past month. I'm a little offended that a freaking robot has better handwriting than me, but the fact that I can still read and understand some German is a fair consolation prize. The robots will be here until early September, so if you come to Pittsburgh, check them out! The Wood Street Gallery exhibits are always free.

Kirby's friends visited the city at the start of July, and we intended to take them to see the robots and a few other art galleries. Then they heard that Pittsburgh is home to the National Aviary, and it was all over. BEAUTIFUL BIRDS! GIANT FRUIT BATS! A SLOTH! Damn, I love the aviary. Here's our friend Krista feeding some Lorikeets, by the way, which is only $3 a person and totally worth it:

Last, but not least, my incredibly generous partner decided to take me to see In the Heights yesterday. I'd give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars: you can tell that Lin Manuel Miranda wrote this before Hamilton, since the latter is superior in most aspects, but it's still a damn fun musical. If you're curious, Amazon currently has a stream of the soundtrack available. I highly recommend "Breathe" and "Carnaval de Barrio."

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Also, I want to take a moment to appreciate the navy blue jumpsuit I wore to the musical. It's the first jumpsuit I've ever found that actually flatters me. (Unfortunately, I didn't get a very clear, super-flattering photo of the actual outfit.) My aunt is a seamstress, and she shortened the pants for my little legs and raised the shoulders a bit so it fit me even better. Seriously, guys, if you want to look your best in your clothes, spend a couple extra bucks on some tailoring for your favorite pieces.

I'm usually in my pajamas when my niece comes over, so when I came home jumpsuit-ed and saw she was visiting, I made sure to snag a photo with my best girl. She'll be a year old this month!

Oh, and have I mentioned that I've managed to tan a bit? Because I have. I've gotten a hair darker on my face, but because I'm sunscreen-obsessed and usually wearing a hat on longer outings, the change is most noticeable on my shoulders. Hence, I currently have an NC5 neck, and NC15 face, and an NC25 set of shoulders. I will be a patchwork for the next few months, and I apologize in advance.


  1. I have been loving exploring Japanese sunscreens. I've tried the Nivea Essence, Canmake Mermaid gel, and Rohto menthulatum Sun Play. I have the &free UV gel and Skin Aqua super moisture on the way. What did you order? Interested to hear your take on them when you receive. As for Body sunscreens, I literally SWEAR by Kiss My Face Cool sport continuous spray. Bought it on a whim at Whole Foods and it smells divine, spreads quickly and easily, leaves a glowy sheen, and the sprayer is non-aerosol. Oh and also delivers super good sun-blocking results. I get it for 12$ a bottle when it's on sale... which is most often.

    1. I was curious about the Canmake Mermaid Gel! I also snagged Sunplay Super Block and Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk, which will be here soon, and Mommy! UV Mild Milk and Isehan Perfect Water Essence arrived this past week. :)

    2. Cannake gel is okay. I feel like it leaves my skin a bit too shiny/tacky... a bit like a film. It's not too bad after I put on more moisturizer and a base, but I wouldn't wear it alone as my last step. Hoping the &Free is better. Otherwise I think I'll go back to the Nivea essence or the new cream formulation. Excited for moisture milk for beach though!

  2. I used to love the San Francisco Zoo's lorikeet exhibit when I was growing up! I still remember how surprisingly heavy the birds felt on my arm (but then I was a lot smaller than I am now).

    1. They also have aricaris at the Pittsburgh aviary now!...and they were on vacation when we went. D: