Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review:Comparing Maybelline, Dr. Jart, and Boscia BB creams

(Note: No picture just yet, camera is a bit out of commission)

Now that BB creams seem to be all over the place I've had the chance to try a few.

Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical and I must say that I've never tried any Asian brands (most only come in a few colors, typically a bit too light/grey for me, and since I have no desire to lighten my skin I never bothered).

I got to try three different types: Boscia, Dr. Jart and Maybelline.  I've had the first two for a while and I used them on vacation.

Dr. Jart BB ($39 at Sephora) cream has SPF 45, which is great, and a light sunscreen smell, so not too bad (I can be a bit sensitive to that).   I found it to be pretty thick though, at times a bit hard to spread, and for some reason (for me) it played up some imperfections more (any irritated/peeling skin, pores, etc).  But when my skin is "okay" it works okay, and the coverage seems to be fuller, probably because it's thicker.  It's the most "grey" out of all of them, so that dulls my warm skin tone which I don't really care for.  It feels a bit heavy and greasy (though that settles down after a while), perhaps because of the SPF

Boscia ($38 at Sephora) is SPF 27 and as such has even less of a sunscreen smell (though still lightly present).  There is less coverage and it was easier to spread.  It was far too light one me so it had a similar effect in highlighting certain imperfections (small hairs, pores, uneven texture...I sound like a goblin).  However it was a warmer color (more yellowish, but not excessively so) and therefore looked a lot better. 

Both Boscia and Dr. Jart only come in one color.  While the effects of that can be toned down (and admittedly, I wear powder foundation over it) the color does not suit my warm, tan skin tone.   They both washed me out and were too light or grey for me.  That, combined with the prices, makes them kind of a no-go for me, but for someone lighter and more cool toned it would work.

They were very similar to me, and I found neither particularly moisturizing (though is BB cream supposed to be?  I always wore it on top of my typical moisturizer).  I can feel both of them on, admittedly.  

Anyway, oddly enough (maybe?) the best out of the three was the Maybelline (around $8, average).  It was the thinnest of the three, but it spread itself out well.  Out of the three it covered up imperfection the best and did do an actual good job of blurring out pores and so on...probably because, unlike the others, it comes in a range of colors.  I tried out the "light/medium" shade and it worked out surprisingly well for me; typically I'd have gone up a shade darker, but I wear a very thin layer and it's winter now, maybe that makes a difference.

I found this to be be really nice, it feels moisturizing, doesn't have any scent (no SPF though) and it is very smoothing.  I still use a concealer to cover up imperfection and a powder over to matte it out, but I'd actually buy this again if I were in the market for a very light, moisturizing foundation type of thing. 

I may be wrong but I generally get the feeling that BB creams are just hyped up tinted foundations. 

(Note: I got the Boscia/Dr. Jart creams from some Sephora sampler deal, and the Maybelline one from an online free sample opportunity; as of this typing, it is available from Target's site as a free sample).  

More Shameless Begging and Cool Results

A few weeks ago I decided to actually make an effort to save money with my biggest expense outside of rent: food.  In looking at my spending habits I ran into the (American?) issue of my biggest food expenses being fresh food, namely produce.  Not only do I consume a lot of it, but it's something that doesn't necessarily go very far (though of course, this varies, a pound of potatoes goes much further than a pound of spinach). 

Anyway, I decided to try to take note of the companies that produced the fruits/vegetables I bought and see if I could get coupons and samples from them.  This is rather difficult as coupons for any kind of fresh, non-processed food seem to be nearly impossible to find.  The most recent ones I saw (from Walmart, I think?) was to save some cents off of fruit when you bought a certain amount of cereal, which is...not so great. 

Of course I haven't been able to find all the producers who supplied to the stores I regularly shop at, but with the few famous ones I did (Dole and Chiquita) I had no luck.  They either didn't offer coupons at all or refused me any when I did write to them.  I did find their feedback to be pretty lacking; begging for coupons/free shit aside, I do like it when you can get a friendly little note back from a company, even if they refuse you anything (I got this with Carmex; no savings, but a nice thank you note for the comment I did leave). 

I should also say that I did (and do) feel a bit of residual guilt in asking certain produce companies (or farmers, at farmer's markets) for reduced prices; after all, it's a hard business to be in, and as we all know, the government doesn't subsidize the healthiest of produce, unfortunately.

Anyway, I did hit gold with Earthbound Farm Organics.  In signing up for their site I got a $.75 cent coupon for organic carrots (always great :3) and in requesting information/coupons I received a wonderful little letter, information/recipe pamphlet and several (six) excellent coupons. 

I have always wanted to eat more organic produce (and animal products) but it's one of those things that I only "indulged" in when I had extra money or if I found anything for sale (rare for produce).  That, combined with the fact that organic produce can be relatively difficult to find in many stores resulted in me rarely eating any (though more organic goods are popping up now, due to recent trends).

I have admired Earthbound Organics for some while, actually.  I have always been a regular buyer of their packaged salads, for example, because if I'm going to go organic with anything it will definitely be leafy greens (that I am not washing, because I hate washing salads and I only buy the packaged ones).  Not only were these very high quality and always fresh, but they are readily available at most big chains AND very reasonably priced for both packaged salad and an organic product (same can't be said for other big names that will not be mentioned, ahem).

Anyway, the coupons are excellent (free stuff, basically) the little pamphlet is great too.  It has some nice background information on the company itself (Including a great mission statement) and on organic farm practices, which is obviously better for health and the environment (they brought up enriching the soil as one that I wasn't aware of, which is great since we had studied food availability and practiced in regarding to soil depletion in one of the last biology classes I took).

I also think it's great that their cartons are from recycled materials :3

Information aside it also had several recipes (twelve total) for some excellent looking food.

And no, I wasn't paid for this. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to my echo chamber: Free stuff reviews

Abandoned this, but my recent interest in getting free samples of things is a recent interest of mine, due to both poverty and my love of receiving things in the mail (I adore it, it's like getting gifts every other day, and it's always nice to get things in mail, a favorite thing of mine though sorely lacking in brown paper packages tied up with string).

 Requesting free samples is also a good way for me to gauge which companies I like supporting. I should note I tend to leave reviews/comments in my shameless begging for stuff/coupons (and visits to free sites) so it's not all a loss for them, I guess.

The best result was from the Bimbo company (Bimbo/Sara Lee/others). After leaving a nice comment and shamelessly begging I got two coupons for free bread and two for a dollar off--awesome! The coupons themselves were lovely too. I really appreciated that (again, deep poverty here) and the company was very lovely to do it. As such I will buy bread from them and will probably do so in the future, I like supporting nice companies.

 Eucerin sent a sample of their "Smoothing Repair" lotion that was very nice.

 I got a bunch of little perfume samples (soaked pieces of cotton, sort of) from various companies (Hugo Boss, Lacoste, etc) that were lovely. I got a nicer one from Lancome--La Vie est Belle-- that was actually a little spray bottle and the perfume itself was lovely, though I'm not usually attracted to that kind of musky/floral type scent or Julia Roberts and her toothy grin. Huge Boss had one called "Orange" that was quite nice, I tend to be drawn to citrus scents myself.

I got quite a nice sample pack of Proctor and Gamble, and while I don't often like supporting them the stuff was pretty good (some floss, toothpaste) and a very awesome sample of feminine hygiene products, including some tampons, pads, and a cute little bag for them.

Airborne sent a very nice sample pack with four flavors/varieties, though I've never used this stuff (and I'm not altogether sure I believe in it), but I like the gesture and extra vitamins is always a good thing.

 Aveeno sent some nice samples of shampoo but I haven't tried them yet.

 Got a free sample from Tricalm, though I haven't used it yet (it was for irritated skin, haven't had an issue yet).

Aside from the bread though my favorite samples were from Nescafe, their new "Memento" packets, which were very good. They sent both a mocha and a caramel, I preferred the former, probably because I don't care too much for caramel (and the corporate link).

 And a random picture, because I don't care to photograph any samples received, most are used up at this point anyway :/
From National Geographic

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random blah and why small cities suck sometimes

I've been away forever with illness, and I've neglected my poor blog ;___;

Needless to say, I'm also behind with school and I still feel quite tired, but it's the blog that made me feel guilty, haha!

Unfortunately, I also had to deal with the issue of putting down a pet of mine (my beloved rat, Alpha) and had to deal with the shit that comes with living in a small city. Of course, the vet overcharged by a hilarious amount ($70 to put down a RAT) because they could, and there was nothing I could do about it but pay since I didn't have the heart to kill the rat myself.

I sometimes wonder if it would be better if this sort of thing were regulated (especially in regards to animal welfare/health). It's unfair that in a larger, more...running city you can get far better prices and services than in small shit holes where I currently find myself.

A while back we had to put down my dog (a large rottweiler), and doing so only cost $50, last minute, after closing time, and they got rid of the body for us (for some reason I don't hold much sentimentality for that sort of thing, I just rather they deal with it. And here it cost far more without them even getting rid of her body for us...it pisses me off.

Like I said, if there is no competition to regulate how things "should" be running, in cases of health/welfare shouldn't there be something to do that, out of fairness to both the consumer and, in certain cases, animals that may need to be treated?

Anyway, in memory of my Alpha:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Sephora Jumbo Crayon 12 Hour Wear, Waterproof (as compared to Urban Decay 24/7 Liner)

First off, sorry for the badly written headline.

This review comes after quite a while of me searching for a good, long lasting black eyeliner that's strong enough to deal with my super oily skin.

For quite a while I used the Sephora brand kohl eyeliner (waterproof, which is always a must for me). It sucked, as it smeared badly throughout the day, but I never managed to smudge it to my liking fast enough since it dried really quickly, but badly. Anyway, no good, and I no longer really have it so no picture...although quite frankly, the packaging on this sort of stuff really isn't very interesting either way.

Anyway, I'd heard great stuff about the Urban Decay 24/7 liners, so I got the matte black one (Zero). I had tried it before at the store by putting it on my hand. After scrubbing with alcohol, some make up remover, and having it on my hand it still stood up well (and I wash my hands with the fervor of the mentally ill). Seeing how well it stood up to this barrage of chemicals and scrubbing, I decided to smear it along my delicate eye area.

Unfortunately, I was surprised by how horrible it was!

I'm not sure why I had such awful results as compared to all the good press this had! I'm usually very happy with Urban Decay products but this was worse than the Sephora brand eyeliner (and every other eyeliner I've ever used). It smeared like crazy and was gone within some hours (excluding the amount smeared under my eyes).

So that ended up being the first thing I've ever returned to Sephora.

The day I returned it I picked up the Jumbo Crayon from the Sephora brand after I'd heard a good review about it somewhere online, though I (unfortunately) don't recall where. I admittedly didn't have high hopes for it since I've had nothing but bad luck with Sephora brand stuff (I had always found it really overpriced and really under performing).

But I was really pleasantly surprised with this! It is actually really perfect. It goes on very smoothly, doesn't smudge after it dries, and stays on all day. And at $10 it's a pretty good price for such quality (the Urban Decay eyeliner was $18).

So the Sephora brand did redeem itself quite a bit in my eyes, this eyeliner is wonderful. I won't write off the rest of the Urban Decay 24/7 pencils, since a lot of them are really unique colors and hey, maybe they work better than Zero did.

But I'd definitely get all of the Sephora Jumbo Crayon ones first! They have other colors that look nice, like plum and navy.

Anyway, swatching a black eyeliner seems a bit...unnecessary but here we go, just to be fun:

**Note:It should be said that lately, despite my earlier praise, I have been getting some smudging. It isn't bad, nothing compared to the previous products, but still there.

However, this may be the result of my smearing myself with rich lotions to combat the winter induced dry skin I get. Perhaps the eyeliner performance varies for skin type, as many products do.

UPDATE: One problem (though, is it really a "problem"?) I've encountered is that I can't find a sharpener to use for this eyeliner. I have to hope/imagine Sephora sells one, but I don't quite want to buy one, admittedly, and I did a rather botched job of trying to sharpen it with a razor.

So, unless you have a larger than average sharpener, be warned?

I'm pretty damn late :/

But belated is better than never. Plus, a happy new year wish is always in good order, so happy new year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Rambles: Scientific enthusiasm, and the death of the Space Age

I haven't looked at statistics but I have to think that in this economic downturn more people have been changing majors or just going into scientific (and especially medical) fields, the last bastion of safety in what seems to be a withering, consumer based economy.

And while I believe a good scientific background is important for everyone, I notice that there is a very noticeable lack in enthusiasm for science, with emphasis only on the immediate application of whatever is being studied. While this makes perfect sense (hey, we all needs jobs and paychecks) I feel a bit disheartened that the passion for exploration and discovery, simply for its own sake, seems to be lost.

If anything this passion seems to have been slowly withering away since the death of the Space Age. Maybe it's because the Soviet Union collapsed and now we don't have anyone to compete with; after all, our enemies are depicted and considered to be insane religious radicals, therefore making science something of no concern. Anywhere where there are achievements in science (the Hadron Collider, for example) come from other countries that aren't seen as enemies or threats.

I find this kind of sad, and I sort of wonder sometimes if this speaks in any way to the "American character", wherein competition is used as a way to drive the search for knowledge and discovery. But then...that can't be true, can it?

In relation to my other post about the rise of religious extremism, I do think that that has a very important impact. After all, you can't really learn about science and really feel passion for it if you're raised to think that it's a liberal, athiest conspiracy to destroy God and push evolution on everyone (that said, they do pick and choose which theories they want to accept or deny, so...who knows). Because what this really seems to have caused is a push in learning "simple" applicable sciences while pushing ignorance and disbelief for anything that conflicts with religious politics.

I keep continually depressing myself with these rambling posts of mine :/
A picture that I find oddly relaxing and certainly beautiful:

Randomness: On fashion accessories, specifically pearl earrings

More random crap from me :D I'm on a roll...

I just wanted to ramble on how much I like pearl earrings as a simple fashion statement and way to draw attention.

Far more than any jewelry I think earrings make the rather important "impact" of drawing attention to the face, especially (depending on length), the rather lovely area of the cheekbones down to the jawline. They can really help define the face and draw attention up, which is always really good.

Also, I personally find them less intrusive than other jewelry, and far less likely to break/be lost from normal wear and tear.

My favorite sort are pearl earrings. Most people can't wear giant diamonds (and anyway, that seems a bit gaudy) but pearls have the right amount of subtlety while still maintaining a noticeable amount of shine. Also, they go with absolutely everything and depending on the earring style can easily be dressed up and down, while I wouldn't necessarily say the same of diamonds, gemstones, or beads.

I'll admit, a lot of this comes from the "Girl with a Pearl Earring" painting, book and movie (though this is one of those rare cases where the movie was better than the book, I think). The painting itself is so lovely and simple, with that aforementioned subtle shine and elegance to the pearl. The movie also brings up that it catches the light really well.

I did make an effort to find the largest (without being ridiculous) dangling white pearl earrings I could for relatively cheap. Luckily I found some in Chinatown! They are fake, but they look real, as they are big without being ridiculous. And white goes with everything of course, and all for the awesome low price of $10. Pretty good, if you ask me.
I think a nice pair of dangling white pearl is one of those "fashion necessities", much like the well known "little black dress".


Random, on politics and culture

Just blowing some steam:

I am a bit curious if there is, as some have noted, a substantial rise in the power and fervor of the conservative and religious right.

At some point I'm a bit curious as to how socially liberal Republicans and/or economically conservative people (often, but not always, something along the lines of Libertarianism) feel about this. Unfortunately America is a two party system but I wonder if these people feel underrepresented at all. I certainly don't hear about it, other than Ron Paul supporters. It just seems odd to me that those who are more socially liberal would still be willing to follow Republicans, giving that much of the platform (at least recently) is so incredibly heavy in religious and socially conservative rhetoric.

I know that a lot of people who follow Democrats will often bring up the differences and alienation they may feel from the party (and quite frankly, I think the Democrats are even more varied; with the Republicans it seems to divide on being socially liberal/fiscally conservative vs socially conservative/variance while Democrats are all over the damn place).

Perhaps this is all a result of these uncertain economic times? I definitely think a lot of this can be traced back to 9/11, and all this "extreme" conservative backlash is still a ripple effect of that.

But I also wonder if this is the last frantic attempt at conservative power before the "liberal storm." A lot of the conservatives out there seem to worship the idealized notion of the '50's, where all those damn women and minorities knew their place and the economy worked. However, all that led to the "explosive" events of liberalism and social change in the 60's, so maybe this is something similar? Like the 50's, there has been a slow and steady gain in right (especially for gays), but more importantly just awareness. So while we have taken some steps back perhaps this is just the opening act for more open social change and awareness?

I really, really fucking hope so. Or else I'm screwed. Honestly it seems like just bad luck that I got stuck growing up (or living, really) in one of the more troubled decades America has had to deal with.

Here's a picture to cheer me (and you?) up: