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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Nail Art for Reasons

Hello gentle reader.

Breast cancer awareness is a cause that is close to my heart and seared into my soul. I lost my mother to breast cancer last November. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease and in spite of all best efforts and treatment, it spread fast and took her from us far, far too soon.

I am not going to argue pink washing and ribbons and whether it is all "right" or "wrong." If my loss taught me anything it is that there is no right or wrong. There is only what there is. And while I strongly object to the rampant consumerism and the corporate money grab that has unfortunately become such a pervasive part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in the end, if all of these pink ribbons all over the place and BCA this and BCA that reminds just one woman to get checked, find her malignancy early and her life is saved; if just one daughter is not made to endure the devastating loss that I did, I am not going to speak too harshly against it.

I am going to encourage all of my gentle readers, women and men - yes, men can and do get breast cancer and when men are diagnosed, their chances of dying are often higher because most men don't  know that they are at risk and they don't take steps to check themselves and their cancer is caught too late - to look to your breast health. Talk to your doctor, assess your health, your own risk factors and take appropriate action for you.

Learn how to do a proper self exam and do them, on a regular basis. Most cancerous lumps are found by self exam or "by accident." A wet, soapy hand in the shower, the caress of a lover, just applying body lotion. Get to know your breasts really well. How they look and how they feel and keep an eye and a hand out for any changes. And if you do see or feel anything, even if it seems small or like "nothing" get your ass in and see your doctor! Better to get examined and scanned and get the all clear then to let something tiny, that can be stopped in it's tracks early get out of control.

Talk to your doctor about the appropriate scans for you, for your age, breast tissue type and risk factors. Breast cancer can strike at any age. Teenagers have been afflicted as have people in their eighties or later. Mammography, the gold standard of breast scans isn't so effective for those who have dense breast tissue. If you are young or have dense tissue, have a chat with your doc about ultrasound. Tumors missed by mammogram can found by ultrasound. Again, talk to your doctor! 

This is important. This is real, gentle reader. Please take some time to click the links to the American Cancer Society's sections on breast cancer. There is a lot of information, there are hard facts that we all need. We need to be informed, educated and aware. This is about our lives, our futures and those of the people we love the most. Make every month of your life and the lives of those you love Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don't live in fear. Live aware. And live.

From the American Cancer Society website:

What are the key statistics about breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2014 are:
  • About 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 62,570 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,000 women will die from breast cancer
After increasing for more than 2 decades, female breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in 2000, then dropped by about 7% from 2002 to 2003. This large decrease was thought to be due to the decline in use of hormone therapy after menopause that occurred after the results of the Women's Health Initiative were published in 2002. This study linked the use of hormone therapy to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart diseases. Incidence rates have been stable in recent years.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman's death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%). Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.
At this time there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. (This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.) Survival rates are discussed in the section “Breast cancer survival rates by stage.”

Last Medical Review: 09/25/2014
Last Revised: 09/25/2014

Far more information can be found here.

And because I like to do a little nail art now and again and I want to do my small part:

Polishes used are from the OPI Pink of Hearts 2014 duo and OPI Alpine Snow. The ribbon decal came in the Pink of Hearts set, as did the clear crystals. The pink crystals are from my small nail art stuff drawer. (It's a very small drawer! Hee! Hee!)

It took me four days to write this post and it isn't as "well written" as my others. It was difficult and painful and at times, my fingers didn't want to move across the keyboard and I had to stop and go away but I felt deeply motivated to write it, regardless of how long it took me or how it came out, in the end.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope with all of my heart that you also clicked the links and read all of the very good, very necessary information provided. If you or someone you love is fighting breast cancer or any form of cancer (yes, I know that other forms exist, all too well. My dad died of prostate cancer in 2008) just know that my thoughts and my every good hope is with you. Cancer sucks! It is horrid and evil. It is my dearest wish that one day, we can wipe it out.

Be well, gentle reader. Cherish every day. Be happy and don't forget... Pee before you polish. It sucks to finish a manicure and have to dance until it dries.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Ipsy Bag: Am I Being Trolled?

*affiliate and I get points links used*
Hello gentle reader.

Just to warn you, this post is an epic whine fest for which I make no apology.

I think that Ipsy is trolling me. Who is Ipsy, you may ask. And why would they troll you? Well, to answer your first question, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service that is (allegedly) personalized to your preferences by the questionnaire that you take when you sign up. For ten dollars a month, you receive a makeup bag and four to five deluxe sample to full sized just right for you (yeah, right!) products in that month's theme.

This month's theme is "Beauty Candy." I saw some teaser photos on Instagram and Facebook, a couple of weeks ago and I started getting excited that finally! After months of bags full of unusable for me skincare (stahp with the skin care, already!)  I would be receiving a bag with items that I would love. Surely a bag in the theme of Beauty Candy would be filled with... Beauty candy.

NOPE. While other subscribers received Cirque nail polish and a pretty highlighter, lipsticks and mascara and sweet smelling hand lotion in pretty tubes, I received this:

An admittedly cute makeup bag in shiny teal patent with a square embossed pattern that looks like quilting. Another bag that I kind of dig. In fact, I think I'm going to change out the one that is in my handbag, now and use this one, for a while.

The contents? Not so much.

H2o+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment: Sample size. Full size is 1.7 oz and is $36.00. From what I read about this, it's not appropriate for my skin. I didn't even open it. I passed it on to someone who may be able to put it to use.

Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths: This is a sample/travel pack size of ten. The full size of 30 is $15.00. They are probably good. I tossed the pack in my handbag. You never know when they could come in handy for cleaning up when I'm swatching my way through the makeup counters at Dillard's or Ulta or just need a wet wipe for whatever. I would be tempted to buy the full size but at fifteen dollars a pack, no. My favorite wipes are half that price, even less when there is a sale and I have coupons.

Ayres Patagonia Body Butter: Sample. A full size is 6.75 oz and is $28.00. This is pretty nice stuff. I wish my sample jar had been bigger, as it didn't last long. This body butter applies smoothly, sinks in quickly without forever rubbing, rubbing, rubbing, rubbing and it leaves my skin nice and soft and not feeling coated, oily or sticky. Too bad it's so spendy. At that price and the way I need to slather body moisturizer on to my very dry skin, I'd be in the poor house in no time!

Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Eye Shadow in Ocean Breeze: This frosty blue stuff I receive in a full size. $3.99. This shadow  comes in six shades. The shadow is a bit dry and stiff but once you break the surface, it softens up and swatches out all right. The shade is a shimmery blue-grey with coloured sparks. It's not bad... There are shades I would have preferred. I don't know if this will get much use. At the moment, it's giving me bad seventies flashbacks.

Starlooks Lip Gloss in Guilty Pleasure: A full size is $12.00. I received a snack sized mini. This is kind of nice. It's a pretty, neutral creamy pink. This gloss smells kind of yummy. Honestly, so far I have only swatched it. I have a lot of glosses going, right now. I could toss it in my bag as an emergency lippie.

Swatches of the Starlooks lip gloss and the Jesse's Girl eye shadow. I guess that I keep getting skin care and blue eye shadow because I'm old? Is this ageist trolling on Ipsy's part? Because I have to tell you, that is a little how it feels. At my current settings, I get this kind of nonsense. If I change my settings, those who also receive bags according to settings like mine get fabulous bags, I get junk like this. I switch my settings back and... You guessed it. I feel as if I'm being trolled.

Another bleh Ipsy bag. For me, Beauty Candy turned out to be Random Stuff She Doesn't Want But We're Going to Give to Her, Anyway. Not all of the products are useless. I passed on the moisturizer, (unopened, of course!) the body butter is used up, the wipes will come in handy now and then. I am probably not going to use the Jesse's Girl shadow all that much, if at all. The lip gloss should be a hit, for however long that cute, tiny tube lasts.

So, there is my Ipsy Beauty Candy bag for October. Definitely more tricks than treats. Honestly, seeing the products others are receiving, I have to ask myself why I am continuing with a subscription service that, in spite of repeated efforts to tweak my preferences, seems to have me locked in to receiving products that I don't want, don't like and am not happy with. I may give Ipsy a couple of more months I may not. I'm debating. The debate is not leaning in Ipsy's favor, at this point and time.

Anyway, if you do decide to sign up, if you use my link I receive points that I can use toward things that I actually do want, and do like. I recently redeemed a pile of points for three Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eye Shadows. (Review in an upcoming post.) And I have just about enough points for something else I would enjoy. And I figure I might as well hang in long enough to finish racking up enough points to do that, eh? And maybe things will get better? Ah... The realist plays optimist. Wow. Desperation. I stink of it.

Do you subscribe to Ipsy? Did you receive Beauty Candy or did you, like me, receive the equivalent of a package of underwear on Christmas morning? Please do tell. And whine with me. Or rub my nose in the contents of your fantastic bag. I'm here for you.

*affiliate and I get points links used* 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sample Saturday: Benefit Watt's Up!

Hello gentle reader.

How long has this partially written post been lurking around on my posts list? I was doing a little bloggy housework and found it there, debated on whether to delete or finish writing it and get it posted. I decided on the latter.


Watt's Up! is Benefit's soft champagne creme to powder highlighter that turns on "watt" you got.  I received this snack size tube in my little Sephora birthday gift, last year. It came along with a They're Real Mascara sample. 

Inside the reflective, blue-y tube is a stick of soft, golden champagne glow. I have used this on my face and as a brow bone highlight. It works very well as both. You can apply this with your fingers or with a soft brush. The product is smooth and creamy but not squishy and messy and it is easy to work with. A little bit goes a long way. When it is buffed softly atop the cheekbones with a small duo fiber brush, your face looks as if an angel dipped the tip of her wing in pure sunshine and touched it, ever so gently to your skin.

Benefit Watt's Up! in a heavy swipe swatch and a blended out swatch, under my indoor light.

The same swatches, in the sun.

Benefit Watt's Up! is available at SephoraUltaBenefit's websiteMacy's. Wherever you can buy Benefit cosmetics.

I would probably buy a full size, some time in the future but I don't see myself needing one, any time, soon. I still have quite a bit of my little one left.

Do you own Benefit Watt's Up! highlighter? What do you think of it? Do you have a highlighter that you really dig? Enable me. I'm easy.

Thank you for spending a little of your Saturday reading my natterings. Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tarte Sweet Dreams Holiday Chic to Cheek Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set

Hello gentle reader.

I think that I need to buy #alloftheblushes!


 It's true. If my recent spending habits are any indication... The Tarte Sweet Dreams holiday collection this year is so delicious and I kind of went a little crazy. I was planning to get a little from Tarte, a little from another brand or two but I binged on Tarte, as you will see, in future posts. I couldn't help it. I ordered this set from Ulta on impulse when I bought the Away Oui Go Portable Palette and Collector's Set. Because I wasn't getting enough new blushes...

The Chic to Cheek Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set is a collection of four 0.05 oz "snack sized" blushes in special holiday packaging. This little collection is $35.00. Tarte Chic to Cheek is limited edition and, as far as I can tell, now only available on the Tarte website. I can't find it anywhere else, anymore.

There are four shades, two kind of neutral and two more pink shades. Just look at them. So pretty and little and oh! I could just...

Would you like to see swatches?

Classic: A soft apricot pink, matte and smooth.
Amour: Sweet candy pink with a bit of shimmer.
Prim: Soft slightly plummy-nude satin matte.
Daydream: Rosy pink satin.

Availability is dwindling fast. As of writing this post, this set is still available on the Tarte website. You might also find some in random Ulta stores, if you look around but I can't find it anywhere else online.

Did you buy this adorable blush collection? What do you think of Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes, in general? Are you as big a fan of them as I am?

Thank you so much for coming in and reading and have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lorac Mega Pro Palette: Review, Photographs and Some Swatches

Hello gentle reader.

In an epic dick move, I am going to do a post on a palette that was limited edition, highly sought after and sold out so fast that people barely had a chance to take a breath and it was gone.

I'm not doing this review post to rub noses, to do a "Neener-neener!" or show off. I am just really thrilled that I actually managed to get in on a super limited edition, online only palette (not something that happens to me, very often!) and I want to talk about it and share it with my gentle readers.

The Lorac Mega Pro Palette was marketed to be part of the Lorac Royal Collection for Holiday 2014. The exterior of the palette is the signature Lorac Pro palette cover material in a beautiful warm brick red with bold gold lettering. I love the look and feel of this palette. Like all of the Pro palettes, it is very slim and lightweight and easy to hold in the hand. The width of this palette is just about that of two full single Pro palettes and is just as long. This palette is compact enough to slip easily into a drawer yet has enough pizazz to dress up your vanity top, if you would like to leave it out. Mine is tucked away, of course. Because dust.

When you open the palette, the trim is a deep burgundy. There is a large mirror in the lid, all ready for your primping pleasure. In the body of the palette is four rows containing a total of thirty-two eye shadows. The top two rows of sixteen shadows are all mattes, the bottom two rows are all shimmers. The shade makeup is largely neutral with some wearable brights and interesting colours to mix it up and add some fun and variety. For a neutral shadow lover who likes a little "different" this palette is eye shadow heaven.

Just look at all of these beautiful neutrals and interesting, pretty colours to mix in with them! There are four repeats from the previous Pro and Pro 2 palettes: Cream, White, Espresso and Black. The other twenty-eight shades are new to this palette. There are so many beautiful shades and tones that can mix and match and coordinate and pop. A soft, subtle, work look or a bright, night out with the girls look. A come and get it, date night with your sweetie look. They are all possible with this beautiful and versatile palette. This palette can function on it's own or one can haul out other shadows and palettes and really experiment and play.

Here are swatches of some of the matte shades. I didn't swatch all of the shadows... I have no doubt that everyone has already seen all of them many times. I just wanted to feature some of my eye catchers.

And some of the shimmery shades. I am so frustrated with these photographs. These are the best I could get and they are driving me nuts. Indigo is a deep blue with purple-y glitter. It's so beautiful in person. My photos destroy it. Deep Teal is alive, not so much in this picture. Merlot has this glorious shift. You can barely see it, here. Okay. Enough whining. Clearly, I need to work on my lighting and technique.

Moving on.

The quality of the shadows in the Lorac Mega Pro palette is very good. The matte shadows are all soft, smooth, silky if a bit powdery. Pigmentation and colour payoff is very good and the shadows blend together and out without becoming a muddy mess or blending clean away.

The shimmers are velvety, buttery and extremely soft and blendable. Some are almost too soft. When I dipped my Q-Tip for swatches, I was a bit alarmed at how easily it sank in to some of the shadows. I don't know if this is the nature of the shades, themselves or if this is an artifact of the manufacturing process. I am wondering if the run was produced in haste to meet demand and the press suffered a bit? Using, swatching these shadows produces some dust and flaking. This palette is going to be a bit of a pain in the ass to keep clean and neat and I have to remember to use care with my brushes when using it. I will most certainly not be taking this palette along with me, should I do any traveling. It will stay tucked cozily away in my makeup organizer.

Minor objections about super soft shadows aside, this palette is terrific. The colours are beautiful and wearable, the overall quality of the shadows is very good and I am happy that I bought this palette. It was $59.00 and in my opinion, it is worth the price. I was honestly expecting it to be priced higher and I would have paid it, cheerfully.

Did you manage to get your hands on this palette before it sold out? If so, what do you think of it? Are you as happy with it as you expected to be? Are you loving it? Please do share.

 If you missed out on the very brief time it was available, there is a giveaway going, you can enter to win a Lorac Mega Pro Palette of your own from Leticia, the owner of Cosmetics Aficionado and some of our fellow beauty bloggers. Just click the link, travel to Leticia's blog and enter on the widget provided. Her giveaway is open until October 27th.

Thank you so much for coming by and reading. I hope that you are having a beautiful day.

L'Oreal Glossy Balm: Review

Hello gentle reader.


L'Oreal Glossy Balm is a lip product I picked up a while back and have kind of waffled on whether I would even review it or not. I'm a little cranky and writer's blocked, today and this is an easy off so, here you go. L'Oreal claims that this product "gives lips a high dose of pigmented shine, while smoothing and conditioning to keep lips soft and supple for hours on end."

L'Oreal Glossy Balm is a twist up chubby pencil. There are eight shades available from pale pink to peach to brownish to red. Just about everyone, of every skin tone should be able to find at least one shade to suit them. Some shades are shimmery some are not. This product is free of chemical sunscreen.

I caught a BOGO 1/2 off and had a coupon so I bought two shades at my local Walgreen's; My Baby Doll, a cool, sweet pink and Innocent Coral, a bright coral. You know that I can't get enough of these kinds of colours so I was happy to snap up these pretty shades. The formula is smooth, glossy and applies easily without dragging or pulling. This glossy balm is moderately pigmented, it's more balm than lip colour but it does show up on my naturally red lips. Comfortable and fairly moisturizing, I can wear this all day and my lips are pretty happy by the end of the day but I can't rely on this for my sole source of lip moisture.

As far as colour, comfort and wear are concerned, I like this lippie well enough. Where it falls down on the job is in the scent. This balm smells unpleasant. It smells medicinal with a generous whiff of latex bandage. Sorry but, yuk. The scent keeps me from reaching for these when otherwise I would grab them for an easy, pretty lip. And, unless L'Oreal reformulates and changes the scent, I can't recommend these and I most certainly won't be purchasing any more!

L'Oreal Glossy Balm is available at Ulta, most drugstores that carry L'Oreal, grocery stores with beauty departments... You know where you go for your fix. L'Oreal Glossy Balms sell for about $8.00 each and most stores have regular sales and BOGO specials. You can also find coupons in your local paper and online. But really, if you haven't tried these, I would suggest that you look to a different brand for something similar, unless you like the smell of the inside of a plastic bandage box wafting around under your beak.

Have you tried L'Oreal Glossy Balm? What did you think of it? Of the scent? Please do tell.