Archive for category The Lent Experiment
Well another year has passed, and that means another Lent and a challenge to embark on. Six weeks ago, I revealed my plan to you for this year’s Lent, which was MUCH tamer than last year (giving up buying cosmetics cold turkey – gah! What was I thinking!?):
1) Write a blog post every single day, with the exception of Sundays
2) Wear every single makeup item in my stash at least once
3) Post regular FOTD pictures with the evidence
It was a pretty easy year, I have to say, which is why you didn’t get many updates from me as the weeks passed. I started strong with the FOTD pics (though failed at making them look good!), but as time wore on I found myself still mostly wearing the same old looks and products I always do. It was an unsuccessful Lent in that respect, but not entirely a waste – I did learn a few lessons!First, I came to some conclusions about blogging and how I plan to proceed with writing posts. While I almost always have a plethora of things I’d like to write about, near the end of the 6 weeks I found that I was feeling less enthused about blogging – working on a computer all day to come home to work for another few hours, every single day, started to get to me. Could have been year-end as well, but in order for me to maintain my blogging integrity and the quality of posts I want to produce, I think every second day or so is more reasonable for where I’m at right now. I really want to engage with more people, either our in the community making myself present, or through my own posts, and I’m barely finding the time to write a post, take good quality (as I’m able) photos, respond to comments, read others blogs and comment….it’s a lot of time and as I’m no night-owl…it gets pretty strained. So while I tried and mostly succeeded to write every day, it’s just not feasible for me if I want to still enjoy blogging as much as I do. I hope you all understand!
Second, and much more entertaining, I did experiment with makeup more than normal, working with shades that I had deemed unwearable and pairing them with different products to ‘figure them out.’ With the exception of a handful of shades, I’m pleased to say I did wear everything in my stash at least once. I had some particular successes:
- Wore MUFE Aqua Liner #5 (an aqua), a bold shade I was hesitant to wear, on the top lash line with minimal other makeup, and actually ADORED how it looked – and how wearable it turned out to be! A perfect look for Summer!
- Paired MAC’s Shimmermoss, another aqua shade, with MAC’s Petrol Blue liner (smudged at the lash line) to create a deeper, more intense teal shade which looked much better on my darker skin tone.
- Wore UD’s Kush (kelly green) from the BoSIII palette on Saint Paddy’s Day, along with Lise Watier’s Folie de Pomme loose shadow (golden green), and it looks absolutely amazing!
As to be expected, I also had some failures:
- I struggled to find ways to wear MAC’s Madly Magenta Cream Color Base, a deeply saturated violet pink (tried it on lips as well as cheeks, and I’m not too sure…*see below*).
- Several shades from the UD BoSIII palette continued to be completely unworn: Perversion (matte black), Uzi (glittering white), Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (glittering champagne), and Money (pale aqua-blue with a touch of glitter)…can you see a trend here? The shades with glitter (hello, fall-out!) are just so tough to pull off!
- Still haven’t taken the time to figure out NARS Habanera…I feel like the lack of effort I’m putting into it might be indicative of it’s fate.
Overall, while there were some shades I discovered new uses for, or learned how to wear them properly, there were also shades that just aren’t going to and won’t work for me. A lot of the more cool-toned, blue-based shades I own I think will have to go – I just don’t feel comfortable wearing them. The UD palette also is a bit of a thorn in my side, because while half the shades I love, the other half are essentially useless to me. It’s a bit frustrating! However, there are still some items that are a work in progress, and I’m going to continue to investigate whether or not I should hang on to them, such as Tarte’s Blushing Bride Cheek Stain (I think I’m too dark to make this work, as it’s quite sheer); Smashbox On Trend Cream Eye Liner, a deep khaki (I’m bringing it to Jamaica to try smudging it out a ton, as that feels like the just right look for the trip); and Clinique’s Salt & Pepper Lid Smoothie (a shimmering silver-grey that would be a great base for certain looks).
Lastly, I did improve my photography skills a bit when it comes to taking FOTD’s, though I still have a LONG way to go!! Here are a couple looks I shot over the last few weeks:
So. While Lent this year wasn’t much of a big hoopla as it has always been for me in years past, nonetheless I still took something away from the experience, and it wasn’t for naught! I plan to continue to go through my stash regularly to weed out products that just aren’t right for me and could use a better home, and I’m definitely going to keep trying to experiment – with both products and photos. Blogging as a whole is a constant learning experience for me, and one that I relish and take great pleasure in. There will never be a shortage of things to discover and write about!
Oh, one last thing before I go – here was my Easter mani for the week:
(Tee hee!!) Happy Easter/Long Weekend everyone!!
The day has come. The moment of truth. In the words of the illustrious Kevin McCallister: ‘This is it. Don’t get scared now.’ I just had a hearty dinner of pancakes so I can stomach it all. Today I’m going to reveal my Lenten plan for 2012!!
…Well, OK, so I’m building it up a bit, and unneccesarily so, because – I’ve had some time to think. And in that time, I’ve realized a few things: 1) I’m a touch masochistic (as Liz duly noted), and 2) contrary to popular belief, I actually do LOVE makeup, not hate it! I feel like I’ve been imposing so many bans and rules and the link upon myself and my interaction with cosmetics, that I’m giving an entirely inaccurate portrayal of how I really feel about beauty as a whole. I don’t want you to think that I’ve got this strange relationship going on where I love makeup so much that I abhor it at the same time – no, no, no.
Here’s something you need to learn about me: I tend to make little things, whatever they are, seem much bigger than they are. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a highly excitable person, which can be fun at times, but which can lead to some misperceptions about how I’m really feeling. Just because I make LOUD PROCLAIMATIONS about things doesn’t mean I’m worked up or upset; and just because I make mountains out of molehills doesn’t mean that I actually feel that strongly about the situation in the first place. I just tend to inject a good dose of emotion into most aspects of my every day life to spice things up! There’s gotta be some way that I can get rid of all this extra energy!
So, that being said, I’m going to try and tone it down a bit on the blog and make sure the messages I want to come through are being related accurately – at least until you get to know me a bit better If I slip and you notice I’m starting to go off the rails a bit though, please take most of what I say with a grain of salt. I’m just having a little bit of fun!
Now, let’s get to the ‘good’ stuff: what am I giving up / taking up for Lent? Regardless of my personality ~quirks~ I’m still determined to devise a plan that encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in some way. My grandmother and I always participated in Lent together, and I will continue to carry on that legacy well after her death (to be clear – I am not doing this for any religious reasons, merely personal ones; for those of you who are religious, I hope that this does not offend you). After pondering this matter for some time, I think I have come up with a few ideas that are fun, that benefit you as a reader, and that push me to give more as a person. Rather than giving up some sort of pleasure I have in the beauty world (I did enough of that last year), I’m going to take on an activity that will test my ability to discipline myself. Without further ado, here’s the official scoop:
From Wednesday, February 22nd, until April 5th, I am dedicating myself to the following tasks:
1) Write a blog post every single day, with the exception of Sundays
2) Wear every single makeup item in my stash at least once
3) Post regular FOTD pictures with the evidence
Note that I said ‘regular’ FOTD shots, and not daily, because as I’ve said before, getting a good face shot in the morning while I’m already rushing to get to work on time is pretty much impossible. Also, for some shots it is absolutely necessary to have proper lighting, which just isn’t always available. But, nonetheless I’m going to try my best to show you as many looks as I can during the next 6 weeks or so! Also, bear with me if some of my posts are less rambling as usual (which I’m sure some of you will LOVE), as posting every day is going to be a challenge in and of itself. I do have a lot to write about though, so I’m sure it’ll be just fine
So there you have it. A beauty-loving challenge with nary a restriction nor deprivation in sight. Hallelujah! Now I can be free to continue to dedicate that kind of effort towards eliminating all the ‘meh’ products from my stash. And actually, these two endeavors will work together in order to achieve that goal, so – BONUS! I’m planning on making a few big time splurges in the next few months so I’ve got to make way for those
I hope you all approve of my final plan for Lent? Let me know your feedback in the comments! The big day starts tomorrow!
Today while I was walking to work, I saw a sign at a church advertising a free pancake breakfast next week. In an instant, I remembered – it’s that time of year again! When regular people choose to give up, say, chocolate or pop for 6 weeks. If you’re religious, or even if, like myself, you’re not, Lent is a time when you can challenge yourself to give up (or take up – people often forget that part) something that initiates a change in behavior, typically towards a better, healthier approach.
Sure, my own trials are based upon that idea, but I always seem to take it one step further (remember last year? I gave up buying cosmetics and reading blogs ~shudder~ NEVER.AGAIN). You may have noticed, I like to impose difficult tasks upon myself at regular intervals; low/no-buys, rules for purchasing, massive resolution lists. This is partially due to my innate desire for change, and my adoration of list-making (which, incidentally, I gave up for Lent two years ago lol). The other side of the coin is: I just thrive on challenge! Although…I have to note that for someone who supposedly dislikes restrictions, I sure do put a lot on myself, huh? LOL! Oh, dual-natured Gemini’s
I’ve been giving it some thought today, and have come up with a beauty-related endeavor that will certainly put me to the test over the next month and a half. It’s not entirely formed yet; if you have suggestions, please, do tell – I welcome them as I want to make this good! Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Starting Wednesday, February 22nd, and ending Thursday, April 5th, I am only going to wear select makeup items that I have pre-chosen – giving up the rest of the products in my stash for the time being. Noted below, I will have only the following at my disposal:
1) Five eyeshadow – MAC Shimmermoss, NARS Grand Palais (duo), Hourglass Exhibition (duo)
2) Three eyeliner – Urban Decay Perversion (liquid), Urban Decay Bourbon, Lise Watier Gold Eye Shine
3) Three blush – Milani Sunset Beach, Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel, theBalm Hot Mama
4) Three lippies – Revlon Berry Haute lipstick, MAC Evolution Revolution gloss, Chanel Empire RAL
*I am excluding essentials such as foundation, concealer, etc. from the restriction.I debated on whether or not to count the shadow duos as one or two, but in an effort to be fair, decided to count each shade as one. I chose some shades of makeup that I don’t normally wear (Shimmermoss, Berry Haute, eg.), mixed with ones that I do, so I can get a chance to break out of the box and have a better idea of what to keep and what to get rid of. I also wanted to choose Spring-like shades since this will run through the duration of March. If a product happens to run out (unlikely, but just covering the bases), then I am allowed to appoint a replacement product (please oh please oh please). I have to work out if I’m going to not count Sundays (as is the religious tradition); my thinking is to just go full on (yikes!).
Let me say now that I know already I’m going to find this uber-difficult. First of all, I’m going to keep my makeup caddy hidden under the sink and keep the items in question separate, so I don’t have to torture myself with all the shades I’m not allowed to wear. Also, if I end up purchasing anything new, I won’t be allowed to wear it ’till Easter – the heartbreak! The biggest challenge will be to keep things interesting, as we know how easily I get bored. It’ll be a great test to get me to be creative, which has gone by the wayside in my older years.
I’ll likely be adding to / tweaking the above over the next few days before D-Day begins. I’m still not entirely convinced it’s crazy enough LOL. Like I said, if you have suggestions – have at ‘er! I’m all ears I’ll post the offical rules on the first day (Wednesday).
Do you participate in Lent? What kind of things do you take up / give up?
So… ~scuffs feet while looking at the floor~ I’m sorry I’ve yet to review any of the products I picked up last week, I’ve been a touch busy lately, um…making up for lost time, so to speak. That is, I’ve been pretty much buying every single cosmetic item I can get my hands upon!! Gah!! Damn the malls being open when I’m still off from work! I spent the entire day yesterday hitting up some of my favorite beauty stores – Sally, Chatters (I think this is a Canadian chain?), MAC…and today I popped into Mills Brothers on my lunch break to ‘visit’ my favorite SA’s. Needless to say, I threw down some more of the green stuff, despite my already somewhat ridiculous haul at Sephora. Oh brother, I’m completely out of control! At least I’m not using my credit cards, so I’m not going into debt over it (YET).
For the most part, I’m grabbing items I know I’ll get good use out of and are worth the splurge. Behold my additional list:
1) Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment
2) TheBalm Time Balm in Medium/Deep
3) MAC Cream Color Base in Madly Magenta
4) MAC Lipglass in Lychee Luxe
5) MAC Arena Eyeshadow
6) MAC Nail Polish in Mischievous Mint
6) NARS Laguna Illuminator
7) Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Reviews to follow…I promise! In the meantime, I have to start keeping my wallet at home if I’m going to behave in this manner. Seriously, someone rein me in!! I think I’m pretty much done, almost all of these products I had been lemming for a while but was holding out just because I didn’t really need them. But after being so severely restricted, I have swung the complete opposite way and figure, it’s now or never!! Totally scary behavior…
Does anyone else have Spring shopping fever??? Indulge me
I’m fairly certain that when I walked into Sephora yesterday afternoon that I looked like a complete and utter madwoman. I was grabbing products left, right and centre and tossing them into my basket carelessly, already on the hunt for the next product to pounce on. Another $180 later (that seems to be the magic number with me and Sephora), and I am the proud owner of the following products:
1) Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment
2) Lavanilla The Healthy Fragrance Rollerball in Vanilla Grapefruit
3) Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer in #10
4) Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete
5) Phyto Phytolactum + Intelligent Shampoo
6) Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15
7) Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (Travel Size)
You’ll notice I have only one color cosmetic purchase…it was a tough call, and there were a few things I would have liked to try, but I have so much of that stuff already I have to limit it to only one per shopping trip. I *sort of* need a new lip gloss so that was my justification. I’ve never used LM products either and the gloss feels really nice so I thought I’d give it a shot.
My list isn’t really that long I guess, but I didn’t really rein myself in, in any way. I picked up what I wanted to buy and bought it without second thought or consideration for price. So, I saved absolutely NO money giving up buying cosmetics for Lent, but I did learn a valuable lesson…………..NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!!! Sheesh. Terrible idea. Of course you know when you can’t have something you want it even more? Yea. Totally brutal. Although I’ll say again that the absence of reading blogs was a far more difficult challenge really. I can avoid shopping malls etc but I can’t avoid going on the internet. So that was a bummer. BUT I plan to spend like, 5 hours catching up tonight so what a wonderful evening it will be
Anyway, back to the products. I’m pretty wiped, having just sat in a car for about 10 hours straight, and I’m a little loopy so forgive me for not making complete sense.
Unfortunately, Illamasqua was not carried at the store in Portland (ME) so I didn’t get to check that line out at all, which is a real disappointment. I also wanted to look at the Hourglass line firsthand but that wasn’t available either – but I’ll get my chance in a couple months when I’m in Toronto for Canada Day, so it’s not so bad. As for Illamasqua, one day I might get really crazy and just order something from their direct website and pay an arm and a leg for shipping. It could happen.
I haven’t had an opportunity to get a true idea about each product’s performance etc. just yet, but I will post my reviews as I am able. My initial thoughts are that the shampoo is terrific and well-suited to my hair needs; the fragrance is lovely and I wish I had bought the body wash I picked up last month (the Vanilla Coconut scent) in the Vanilla Grapefruit instead – I far prefer it; and the concealer is just ‘OK’ and may be a hair too light, although I didn’t exactly get exceptional rest while away (we saw West-Coast musician Dan Mangan in Fredericton on Thursday night – ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SHOW – and then the band CAKE in Portland Saturday night), so I might just have some extra-serious dark circles to contend with at the moment.
On that note, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday / Easter weekend, and be fair-warned that I will be trolling some of your own blogs with ardent fervor and zeal I’ve missed you terribly!!!
Heading to Maine today, and as such I have been preparing a list of cosmetics I am planning to pick up now that my torment challenge is now finally coming to an end. Check out what I’m indulging in:
Illamasqua Blush in Hussy ($24US) – I tried to order this online last month when I ‘stocked up’ before Lent began, but you can’t get this product in Canada, boo. Hopefully I’ll be more successful in the US.
Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF15 ($39.50US) – another product I made efforts to buy here which I was unable to order online (the SPF regulations I suspect). I couldn’t even get a sample of it when it was offered with my order!!
Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Spot Treatment ($22US) – read some great reviews of this product, and I’m actually in the market for a new blemish treatment so I’ll give it a go!
Phyto Phytolactum + Intelligent Shampoo ($24US) – I once bought a bottle of Phyto shampoo which completely broke and spilled everywhere in my suitcase on my flight home; that was when they used to package them in glass bottles. Now it appears like they are aluminum or something? And we’re driving so I’m hoping that I’ll actually get a change to try the product this time.
I also need a new concealer…I have Bobbi Brown’s corrector (not enough coverage) and Chanel’s Eclat Lumiere (brightens but no coverage for my racoon eyes), so back to the drawing board I go. In the running are: Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer ($42US), Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil ($18US), Tarte Dark Circle Defense Under Eye Corrector ($32US), Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer ($32US), and Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($30US). This is something I clearly can’t order online without being able to test the shades on my skin, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do so. I suspect that the UD pencil and Hourglass’ concealer will not have shades dark enough for me…and I get the impression that the Tarte concealer may be just like the BB Corrector. I’ve heard conflicting views on the Amazing Concealer, and I have tried it before and didn’t have luck with the shades, but I’ll give it another go.
Does anyone have any suggestions/feedback regarding these concealers? And the other products I mentioned? Any particular products that I should be scooping up while I’m there?
I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!!!
So I’ve been almost avoiding the internet for the past while, because its allure has been drastically reduced due to my Lent challenge. It’s just too weird and unnatural for me to go online now and not look to see what’s happening in the beauty world outside my own bathroom. *Which, as a side note, is getting pretty boring too – without regular inspiration I find myself somewhat repeating the same old shades and methods. I’ve also been trying to limit my use to products that are thisclose to being finished (so when my no-buy is over, I’ll be fully justified in
going on a major shopping extravaganza modestly replacing those products with new ones), which also makes for repeat makeup looks.* Anyway, when I do happen to do a ‘lil surfing, I find myself browsing online clothes boutiques, which isn’t the smartest idea as I seem to be easing my cosmetics withdrawal with other, pricier items. Yikes.
~Only 11 more days to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~
One positive of all this (I’m finding them few and far between) is that because I haven’t been able to hoard any new polishes in the past month, I’ve actually worn almost every shade I own at least once, which finally gives me a better idea as to what I want to keep and what I will be putting up for swap. Particularly, I notice that when I post pictures on here, looking back at the swatches generally makes or breaks the polish – and more often than not I decide to keep it even though initially I wasn’t loving the shade. I seem to mostly post shades that I have some affinity for, which makes sense because the ones I’m not into I only can manage to leave on my nails for about two days. Every time I look at the Nubar Marble Tower swatch I start thinking that it’s actually kind of awesome. Go figure.
Today I have yet another polish I received in a swap (6 polishes at once! Such a great day!): Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Commander in Chic. One of those old ‘it’ shades that everyone has tried at some point. I was unsure if I’d like it on my skin tone as it’s so close and has that grey tone that I don’t think is too flattering on me; however, it ended up looking quite nice, I think. Very muted, elegant, and great for the office if that’s a concern. I just applied it today at work actually (hence the dent in one nail – oops!) – now that year-end is over I have more time on my hands I guess lol. I really liked the formula – and I personally enjoy these larger brushes, makes application so quick and easy! – it goes on thinly (but not too thin) and evenly and has decent pigmentation, although I did three coats as there was some slight patchiness. Because they’re thin coats it wasn’t a hassle for the extra coat at all. Overall, I’m definitely impressed, although I read somewhere that Coty, the company that owns Sally Hansen, tests on animals so I’m hesitant to say I will purchase any further polishes or continue to support them in the future. Just not sure how I feel about that.
Ok, onto the polish:
What are your thoughts on this shade with my coloring??
I hope everyone had a great, relaxing weekend and are easing back into the work week without too much pain
So, it’s been 19 days since I last viewed a beauty blog or purchased any cosmetic products…gah! 19 days sounds like I’m half-way through right? 40 days of Lent and all that – but when you count Sundays (as I am) it’s actually 46 days, soooo I’ve still got a ways to go I think officially it’s over on Easter Sunday, but I’m traveling to Maine that Good Friday and you know what? I’m gonna go hog-wild as soon as I get there so screw that. I figure I’ll have earned it even being restrictive on Sundays so that how I’m going to justify it. I CAN’T FRIGGIN’ WAIT.
I find the no-buy part of the challenge actually not too bad. Although, that could be because a) I got my Sephora package last week, b) I have received several swaps that I’d started before Lent, c) I received my RBL Insouciant in the mail on Thursday (!Review coming shortly!), and d) I am just avoiding all places which sell cosmetics lol. So yea, I guess it’s not been so rough yet there. HOWEVER, the blog business is really starting to get to me. I feel out of the loop, with no idea what’s new and exciting, and I miss just reading my regular blogs to catch up on their comings and goings in general. All of the ladies are smart, entertaining women and I miss checking in!! So this part is really tough. Also, I don’t know what to do with myself a lot of the time. I often just stare at my computer screen wondering what to do next. It’s like a Phantom Limb or something!! I did cave and buy a magazine last week…I didn’t rule those out so it’s not cheating and I refuse to feel guilty about it! I needed some kind of fix, bad.
I hope everyone is doing great and thoroughly enjoying their cosmetic-filled lives – enjoy it twice for me
…It’s not necessarily that I can’t LIVE without my blogs, and new cosmetics…but it’s just such a part of my life that I feel a bit at odds not being able to plunk down to read a post or two (or…20) about what’s going on in the beauty world and capturing the interest of my fellow addicts. It’s just weird, you know??
Do you think it’s cheating if I go on MakeupAlley to reply to swap requests? I guess technically it is because then I’m getting new items – sure, I’m not buying them but I’m still getting them somehow. I haven’t been doing any searching on there but I just had to give a heads up to a MUA’er to let her know I received her package (a deal we set up WELL before Lent began), and I saw I had an message from someone regarding an item on my swap list. I replied without thinking, but now I feel guilty and like I can’t go through with it. Thoughts?? Anyone want to offer absolution for my transgression??
I just realized that I didn’t explain to you what the “punishment” (as decided by my bf) will be if I slip up during this [very difficult] time. Well, let me tell you so you may revel in my possible (likely) demise. The terms are: he is to apply my makeup, without my aid or instruction, and then we are to go out for one drink at a bar of my choosing. I cannot choose the makeup for him, nor am I allowed to explain to him what goes where. Keep in mind he knows absolutely NOTHING about cosmetics whatsoever, owning only shampoo, antiperspirant, and body wash in his own ‘cosmetic arsenal.’ So in essence, I could have black eyeliner on my lips, hot pink blush on my eyelids, and bronze eyeshadow on my cheeks. Or some other horrific variation. Holy hell.
Good grief…what did I get myself into?
So it’s Day Four of my Lent experiment, and so far so good. I encountered my first hurdle today when we passed the Shoppers Drug Mart – just in general my heart perks up when I see that red & white sign and think of the possibilities within. My first thought was “Ah, we should browse around for a bit,” but then I realized that for the next 40 odd days, the store will not bring me the usual joy it imparts. Often I just peruse the aisles aimlessly, half of the time not buying anything – but now, with the purchasing restriction in place…well, we all know what happens when we can’t have something: we want it even more (hello, LE products!). So it’s probably best for me to refrain from tempting myself that way at all.
It’s going to be a long 40 days…
Hope you’re enjoying the weekend!