Friday, September 30, 2011

Foodie Friday! #3: Favorites Feature!

How's that for alliteration, huh?

I was asked for examples of weekly menus, which inspired me to put together a list of my favorite food blogs and food sites, as well as a list of some of our favorite recipes.  Every once in a while I get really tired of putting together menu plans because I feel like I've been using the same recipes over and over again - there are only so many ways you can eat broccoli, you know?  I have some baking books, but most of our savory dishes are found online - there are so many food blogs!  Also, a lot of food bloggers are dedicated to practical, easy recipes (NOT necessarily à la Rachael Ray, who I can't stand - sorry to pepper my blog with my prejudices, haha) that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, with a minimal number of ingredients.  These are perfect for weeknights, and well, any night, really.  Who wants to spend all of their time cooking?
These are broccolini crêpes!  They were delicious, but they require a lot of work (and basically making a soufflé), so I'm not sure we'll ever have this on the menu again.  Maybe some other sort of savory crêpe, though!
S. does the cooking, as you know, but I plan the menus and I also clean up the kitchen.  Thus, it's also in my best interest not to choose recipes that require 4353924239 pots and pans and dishes and utensils.  In general, I like recipes that are relatively simple, don't require all-day attention, are prepared mostly from scratch (canned/jarred pasta sauces and stocks are okay, as are canned beans or vegetables but I'm not a fan of soup mixes, or too many prepared foods.  Which isn't to say that those aren't options for those extremely pressed for time, but it's not on my list of criteria), and don't include page-long lists of ingredients.  I also avoid recipes that call for extremely expensive and unnecessary ingredients, or things that I know we'll never be able to find or use on a regular basis.

I look through food blogs on my reader or on foodgawker, and bookmark the recipes that I find in separate folders, appropriately labeled "soups and stews," "casseroles," "seafood," etc.  When it comes time to plan for the week, I just search through my bookmarks.  In some cases I don't have appropriate bookmarks, so then I google for new recipes at the time of planning.  This works fairly well.  I also eliminate bookmarks once I link them to our meal plan page, so as to keep the amount of bookmarks under control (I still have far too many, though!).  A lot of them come from the same place, so I thought I'd share those with you.  I find savory recipes are easier to approximate measurements for, but I will mention that most of these are American authors, who use conventional (and annoying - when will the US get with the metric system?) American measurements like cups and teaspoons and what not.

Here are a list of some of my favorite recipe sources, in no particular order:

  • Week of Menus - A lot of quick, weeknight dishes, mostly Asian cuisine (the blog author is Korean); she weaves in stories about her children, being a mom, and just life in general.  Her recipes are simple and easy to follow, without excessive photo documentation (that really bugs me, personally) and succinct directions.
  • Let's Dish - She has a wide variety of recipes - both savory and sweet - which are conveniently labeled and categorized at the top of the page, in case you're looking for something in particular.  Each post is organized in the same manner (I love consistency!) and she always shares the original recipe source, which is helpful if you want to give that a try, too.
  • Smitten Kitchen - Deb is fabulous.  There's also a great mix of sweet and savory in this kitchen; her photos are beautiful and she always gives helpful tips on what does and doesn't work.  She is great at adapting recipes and eliminating needless or silly steps, and I don't think I've ever been unhappy with one of her recipes.
  • First Look, Then Cook - a fellow Pacific Northwesterner, who showcases seasonal foods and simple, satisfying recipes.
  • Korean American Mommy - A lot of Asian inspired cuisine and fusion cooking, a lot of sweets, a lot of everything!  Simple, streamlined recipes - I find that bloggers who are also busy, busy parents are great at that :)
  • Framed Cooks - More traditional American food, but they are all easy, filling meals.  The author is hilarious, and has a Southern husband, so there is a lot of Southern influence on her food.
  • Closet Cooking - A Canadian who manages to whip up the most amazing dishes in an extremely "closet-sized" kitchen.  He covers food from all over the globe, and posts quite frequently, with all kinds of unique recipes, every time.  He also has a Facebook page and seems extremely responsive to people with questions, which is always nice to see.
Other resources:
  • Foodgawker - You gawk at the photos, and then click through to arrive at the blogs they originate from.  Most have recipes, but not all do.  It's a great way to find new recipes, and they also have a search feature.  Be warned - don't look when you're hungry!
  • Allrecipes - A database for user submitted recipes, with a rating system and a place for comments; people who try these recipes often leave helpful tips (along with a slew of unhelpful ones, so be advised).  I find a lot of great recipes here.
  • Tastespotting - Just like foodgawker.  A lot of bloggers submit the same photos to both, though, so I usually just go through foodgawker.
  • Food Network - Recipes from the celebrity chefs on Food Network.  I don't go here as often, because I don't find a lot of their recipes to be as accessible or practical or interesting to me, but there are a few chefs who usually have easy, foolproof recipes (Tyler Florence is one example).
Okay, that's already pretty lengthy - I'll have a list of our favorite/most used recipes up next time!  Hopefully you can find some of these useful, or at least find a couple of new favorite food blogs!  I'm always looking for new ones, too - any suggestions for food blogs that I should be reading?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Thursday Post

David Bowie: Ashes to Ashes.  I'm a huge Bowie fan.  Huge.  The man has an enormous repertoire of music, and has shifted with the times, creating all manners of interesting and different pieces.  Plus, I like his voice.

I'm looking for a vampy lipstick.  Any recommendations?  Perhaps a rich, smoky berry, or a dark, delicious burgundy.  Wine colors, know, that sort of thing.  I do own MAC Musky Amethyst, but I'm looking for something richer and more opaque, as well.

I shared something like this before, but it never stops being super freaking awesome!  Even if I don't eat M&Ms.

This is so cool.  I'm not big on chocolate, but I want to make it because it's so pretty.  I think maybe even a strawberry version would be nice.  Someone, make this please!

I've always wanted to try sourdough - and S is a huge fan - but I've been terrified.  It sounds like such a long, arduous process.  This seems pretty straightforward, though, so maybe I'll give it a shot.

Sneak peek of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.  I'm so ready for this!

I am not a Glee fan; I gave it a fair try and watched most of Season 1 last summer when S. was out of town for three months and I had nothing. better. to. do.  But I do like Sesame Street.  This video is hilarious.  Perfect spoof of Glee!

And I bought some polishes...there will be some NOTDS and polish reviews coming up!  (I found Facets of Fuchsia - squee!).  Have you picked up any fun new polishes lately?  Got your eye on any?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flourish Part II: Scent Reviews

Here's Part II of my Flourish review; click here for Part I.  Now, let's try to describe the smells!  I'll give you the official description (from Flourish's Etsy site), as well as my own thoughts, and S.'s, if applicable (I decided to give the poor kid a break and not make him smell every single one of these!).  I also separated these into hits and misses, which is entirely subjective, so don't let that influence you too much.
Full size - a 9 mL roll-on bottle.  This one is Grapefruit Ginger; all of the oils that Flourish offers come with their own unique, brightly colored label.  I really want to collect them all!

I will note, though, that even though these seem to be the common packaging method amongst perfumeries, I hate the 1 mL vials with the fitted wand caps.  They're hard to pry off without getting perfune oil all over your fingers...or maybe that's just me.  But I have to pry the thing off and then the wand part flings out and perfume oil goes everywhere...sigh.

Packaging issue aside (which isn't an issue specific to this company, anyway, as wand vials are widely used for perfume samples), one other thing I noticed, is that these don't seem to last as long on me as some other perfume oils I've tried in the past.  I'm not sure what the reason might be, but while I can wear other perfume oils and smell them well into the evening, most of these become unnoticeable in the early afternoon.  They are in rollerballs (the full sizes) so this makes them easy to carry around and re-apply, but I'm not sure if I really want to do that.  I'm also interested to know why they don't last as long on me as some other brands - perhaps it has something to do with roller ball application?  Also, these scents seem to be rather shy, and stick close to the skin; I think I do prefer slightly more throw with my fragrances, but I do really enjoy some of Flourish's unique scents, so I'm torn.
The perfume sample labels have the company name on one side, and the perfume name on the other.  They come in 1 mL wand vials.

Grapefruit Ginger 
Official: Tart and fresh and full of bright citrusy sparkle and zing, this scent combines juicy grapefruit and zesty lime with the spicy kick of ginger. Grapefruit is used in aromatherapy as an energizer and mood-lifter... and I can pretty much guarantee this fragrance will do just that.

My thoughts:

Clearly, since I bought a full version of this, I like!  It's more of a foodie smell, though I like the fizzy aspect.  Who knew you could capture that in a scent?  On my skin, it retains the fizziness, but I also get a little more of the spicy ginger.  This one is also S. approved ;)

Lemon Blossom
Official: Tart lemon and bergamot join lush tropical floral notes over a base of vanilla and musk. Wildly feminine, sunny and bright.

My thoughts:
This is another one that seems to morph from the vial to my skin.  In the vial, it's very bright, light, citrusy - sunny and youthful.  On my skin, though, I get the lighter, sweeter end of the citrus spectrum, tempered with subtle flowers, sugar and spice.  It's not cavity-inducing, though, and there's no juiciness here.  Think more of creamsicles - the happy marriage of orange and creamy, sweet vanilla - versus the acid brightness of lemon cupcakes or lemon drops.  It's yummy, though it has a subtle spice that I associate with more masculine scents; I wouldn't call this "wildly" feminine, but I do really, really like it.  And, happy coincidence - this one lasts on my skin!  Woohoo!

S.'s thoughts:
He did gave a shrug when I first applied it and held it to his nose, but after I let it dry down and fade a bit, he gave it a thumbs up and his stamp of approval.  He agrees that he wouldn't necessarily classify this as an ultra feminine scent, though he did still think it's not quite masculine either - too sweet.

This one is more conceptual. Which is not to say it doesn't smell like it's name. There is something unmistakably oceanic about it- a watery, ozonic quality and a touch of something salty and almost a little spicy, that brings to mind sand and driftwood and sea air. But I wouldn't say it smells exactly like the ocean. (Would you even want it to? Dead fish, seaweed, and all?) It's more like... a memory of the ocean. You know how familiar places become distorted through memory- certain aspects take prevalence while others fade away...Perhaps I'm getting a little too "out there". To put it simply- a non-floral, non-tropical ocean scent consisting of marine notes, cedar and myrtle, that softens and mellows on the skin and becomes ethereal and almost haunting. Definitely unisex, definitely unusual- and worth a try, if the idea intrigues you.

My thoughts:
I was actually nervous about this one, as I haven't liked other "ocean" type scents before, but this has become a fast favorite.  It reminds me a lot of verbena scents, though it's softer, subtler, and less citrusy than pureDKNY Verbena, which is actually kind of harsh in comparison.  It has a faint hint of spice, enough to keep it interesting.

S.'s thoughts:
It's interesting and reminds him of something else (he agrees that it smells like my Verbena perfume).  It was a pretty noncommittal response though. 

Official: This fizzy and fresh blend of citrus and ginger smells EXACTLY like a glass of gingerale (you can even smell the bubbles!) Fresh, bright and perfect for summer.

My thoughts:

I was worried this would smell too much like the Grapefruit Ginger, but it lacks that gingery spicy note. The soda scent is spot-on, and I enjoy it. 

S.'s thoughts:
It's interesting that I want to smell like soda.  That's all he said.

Black Tea and Mint
Official: Crisp, iced black tea, steeped with fresh mint leaves and sweetened with a little sugar. Refreshing, cooling, the perfect antidote to a hot summers day. But unlike a straight mint scent this isn't icy and bracing. On the skin the tea notes lend a subtle warmth and a hint of citrus comes out, adding depth and complexity. If you like the idea of a mint perfume but don't want to go around smelling like a candy cane or a cough drop- this is for you.

My thoughts:
This was another surprise favorite!  I'm not keen on mint in tea as a beverage, but I really ended up liking this one.  In the vial it's fairly minty; on my skin, it starts off minty but sweet, not like peppermint (which I dislike), but almost kind of like toothpaste - but in a good way! (LOL how it can be good, I have no idea, but it's pleasant).  Then the tea scent evolves, which I really enjoy, and that's what lingers, more so than the mint.  Really lovely and summery, for me.

S.'s thoughts:
He thought a mint perfume was a bit weird, though he didn't dislike it.  He's the one who commented that he thought I had gotten toothpaste on my wrist somehow (I didn't shove this one purposely under his nose; I was sitting next to him and he sniffed me out, haha).


Moroccan Fig
Official: Honeyed figs, the spicy green scent of their leaves, soft florals and a faint wisp of smokiness in the background. The overall effect is a little sweet, a little fresh, and a little bit mysterious. Picture a fig tree in the middle of an exotic courtyard garden. The fruit is hanging low on the branches, ripe, permeating the air with scent. Flowers bloom all around, and the warm breeze carries a faint scent of smoke and exotic spices from the nearby market. 

My thoughts:
It's more citrusy than I expected - that freshness in the description is present.  But I don't know what a fig smells like.  I've had them on pizza before and wasn't a huge fan, but I don't think I...smelled them.  I'm actually kind of on the fence about this one, but I feel like I want to like it more than I actually do, for whatever reason.  I don't think I'd order a full size, though I might try to wear it around some more to see what I think.

Official: Golden honey, candied fruits, sweet pipe tobacco, baking spices. Smooth, rich, and warm. 
Sweet but not too sweet. Autumn in a bottle.

My thoughts:
This was an instant dislike for me.  I'm not sure that it smells like honey so much as fruits and spices, but it gave me a headache anyway, and I've learned to stay away from scents like this.  I didn't try it on my skin.

Green Tea
Official: Lounging in the shade of the porch in the humid heat, the hum of lawnmowers in the distance merging with the whirring drone of cicadas in the big magnolia tree, moisture beading up on the ice cold glass of green tea with lemon on the table next to you.... ahhh, summer. Fresh cut grass, green tea leaves, heady magnolia blossoms and a squeeze of lemon.

My thoughts: 
It smells like grass.  There is a strong, sharp citrus scent which I find unpleasant, followed by the smell of grass - fresh and green, as if I were in a large meadow, all the blades of grass still wet with early morning dew.  A pretty mental image, but this one's not for me.

Vanilla Amber 
Official: Warm vanilla bean and rich amber, with notes of coconut, cardamom, and sandalwood. Soft, feminine, sweet and warm. 

My thoughts:
I'm not sure what exactly it is that I object to in this scent, but it doesn't work for me.  It's a bit too heady, or something.  I don't object to vanilla, usually - it's such a comforting smell - and there are amber scents that I have liked, so I'm not sure what the issue is here.  Pass for me.

Peach Tea 
Official: Not a sugary, cloying peach nectar- this fragrance is more reminiscent of the subtle sweet perfume emanating from the fuzzy skin of a just-picked peach on the verge of being perfectly ripe. With a slightly bitter wisp of chilled black tea in the background, and the soft redolence of nearby honeysuckle blooms. Very feminine, very summery.

My thoughts:

I think I just have to come to terms with it - I don't really like the smell of peaches.  I like to eat them, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a smell I'd want to have lingering on my skin all day.

Pineapple Lemongrass
Official: sweet, juicy pineapple with supporting notes of lemongrass, coriander, and just a touch of coconut.

My thoughts: 

Wow, holy pineapple, batman.  This is ultra sweet pineapple - not citrusy in the least - though not singularly pineapple.  It does have a bit of mellow coconut at the edges when I sniff the vial - definitely reminds me of those pineapple ice creams.  I was a bit afraid to put it on my skin, since it seems *so* sweet.  I also have to give this one a fair chance, but I don't really even want to smell it for that long, so I'm giving this one a pass.


These are mostly foodie-esque type smells, though not all of them are intrinsically gourmandy (Brooke, the owner of Flourish, has a background working with food, which definitely shows through).  They don't last as long as I'd like, and stick close to my skin without generating much of a fragrance aura, if you will, but $9 for a 9 mL rollerball is a great price, and the rollerballs are convenient enough to carry around in a purse.  I find these scents a little simpler than some other brands I've tried, and not lofty in goal - they don't aspire to be intricate, intoxicating smells or fancy schmancy concoctions.  They're pleasant and familiar, comforting.  That doesn't mean they're boring or one-note; they're still interesting fragrances, and I think there's something for everyone.  I also enjoyed trying a wide variety - it's helping me find out what I do and don't like, in terms of fragrance notes.  It's a fun journey!  (With no foreseeable end, but let's ignore that for now, shall we?)

Try it if: You like foodie scents and adore the convenience of rollerball applicators.
Skip it if: You hate reapplying fragrance and want yours to last all day after the initial application, and prefer florals or woodsy scents; there aren't a lot of those in Flourish's lineup.

Refer to my first Flourish post for pricing; I've also written a brief comparison post on common indie perfume pricing here.

Flourish Part I: Overview

Ki from Les Pensées de Ki (formerly Ki and Makeup) included a sample of Flourish Grapefruit Ginger in the giveaway prize she sent to me, and I fell in love.  It's a fun scent - fizzy and soda-like, with just enough ginger to balance it out.  It reminds me of the Japanese soda candies I ate as a kid.  I really need to see if I can find those now!

Anyway, that sample sparked my interest in Flourish, a bath & body shop on Etsy.  They sell body scrubs (in cute cubes!), lotions, lip tints and balms, and of course, perfume oils!  I love the clean, bright aesthetic of the shop (which piqued my interest even more) and a lot of the scents appealed to me.

I only saw a 3-sample pack or an 18-sample pack (with the cutest tin ever), but I only wanted ten; I contacted Brooke (the owner), and she immediately set up a reserved custom listing for me, which was really nice.  Single perfume samples are $1.50 for 1 mL each; I ordered ten, which put me at $15.00.  I also ordered a full version of the Grapefruit Ginger.  When you buy something else, shipping for perfume samples is free!  The full Grapefruit Ginger was $9.00 for a 9 mL bottle, and the shipping cost was $2.00.  All together = $26.00.  The stated TAT was 3-5 business days; I ordered on Aug. 27th and received my package on Sept. 6th.  The status of my purchase changed to "shipped" on Sept. 2nd, I think (I didn't receive any other shipping notice), and then there was the long weekend.  The hurricane also hit the coast sometime in there (and the shop was affected, according to their Facebook page), so all in all, it was rather fast.

Everything arrived in a bubble mailer.  The roll-on of Grapefruit Ginger was wrapped separately; the perfume samples were grouped in little bags (five each), and packed in small black envelopes - very pretty!  There was also a business card with a "Thank you!" on it.

The labels for the full sized roll-ons are really lovely - I like how modern and colorful they are.  I also really like the brand logo - simple and elegant.

Each individual perfume sample has a label with "flourish" on one side, and the name of the oil on the other.

So far, so good, right?  I'm going to split this up into two back-to-back posts: one for the purchasing experience, and one for the scents, or else this would be a forever-long post.  Stay tuned for the scent descriptions!   To hold you over until then, you can read more about Flourish here, in a featured Etsy seller interview.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clinique Black Honey Gradient Blush

I hedged on this one.  I swatched it twice at Sephora, but passed on it both times.  I searched around for a dupe (and Rae searched, too <3 ) but no dice.  I had a Dior Addict, unused, that I wanted to return, so I finally made the swap.  Isn't it pretty?  This is the limited edition blush from Clinique's Black Honey Fall 2011 release.

I love the gradient.  It runs all the way through, and all of the colors (the light, the dark, everything in between) are flattering and lovely.  It's a matte blush - no shimmer here! - and the spectrum of plummy brown it offers is beautiful.  Why did I pass it up twice, then?  Well, it's $29.50.  Seems rather high for a Clinique blush, doesn't it?  Sure, it's $29.50 for 0.31 oz, which is massive, but as some bloggers have mentioned before - I'll never use this up!  Sometimes I'd prefer a smaller product with an appropriately smaller price tag.
I don't like these boxes.  Am I the only one?  The green-peach-pink floral print is dated and hideous, in my opinion.  Sure, I'm just going to toss it out, but there is nothing immediately eye catching about this.  I guess this is a personal problem.

Here's the ingredient list.
I had to peel the Nordstrom sticker off and replace it, because it was originally stuck right on the ingredient panel.  I know sales associates are in a hurry, but really?  (Oh man, I'm just on fire today, aren't I?)
And here are the swatches!
Dark shade on the left, lighter shade on the right

Slightly different lighting; darkest shade on the left again, and lightest on the right.

The mauve color is really, really flattering and very lovely.  When swatched, it seems a bit powdery, but once brushed lightly on cheeks, the finish is not powdery at all.  It makes a great contouring color, as well, since it doesn't have any sort of shimmer.  I'm lazy and run a brush along the whole thing (from light to dark) and swirl that on my face, which gives me a natural, rosy brown color that I love.  You can take a brush to the separate parts, though, and use them individually, which adds some versatility to this product.  I was surprised by how pigmented it is - start with a light hand!  I was also surprised that this one lasted all day.  When I took my makeup off at 7 pm, it was still going strong, even though I put it on 12 hours ago.  This one is definitely a win, all-around.  And it's perfect for fall!

Like many others, I often give Clinique's color cosmetics a pass (even though I depend on their skincare!), but you know, all of the blushes and bronzers I've tried from the line have been really lovely, so maybe I need to get over the mental block.  It would help if they updated their packaging.  It all looks so blah and bland, it's easy to pass over!

Try it if: You want a natural-looking matte blush that is quite versatile - it has a dark and light shade, and both are readily accessible (it doesn't have any sort of crazy out-there pattern that makes it impossible to pick out the two different shades).
Skip it if: I can't really think of a good reason to skip this (it's limited edition!  Go go go!), although I have a suspicion that it may not show up as well against darker skin tones.  In that case, you may want to test it out first.

$29.50 for 0.31 oz, at Nordstrom and Sephora or other Clinique counters.  Limited edition.

Monday, September 26, 2011

EOTD: Sparkly Smoky Eye

I wanted to use Chanel Mirifique in a smoky look, and decided to pair it with the silver color in the Dior Five Golds palette, for a real sparklefest!
UDPP Greed
Dior Five Golds palette (silver color), Chanel Mirifique
Benefit Magic Ink, UD Gunmetal
It's probably more sparkly than is appropriate for a day look, but you know, I don't usually pay attention to those things.  I don't work in an office, and am still a graduate student in a lab, so there aren't really strict rules for me in terms of dress code.  I think it could be toned down by using a regular gray or taupe color instead of the glittery Dior shade, and that variation will probably come up sometime soon.  Mirifique is a lot of fun to play with.

I'm sure I could ramp up this look with mascara and more intense eyeliner, but I kind of liked it the way it was.  This is a daytime smoky look for me!  What about you?  Do you stay away from darker looks during the daytime hours?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cartoon EOTD: Zipper

image source:
Zipper is downright flipping adorable.  For a fly, I mean.  But c'mon.  Put big googly eyes on anything, and it'll probably be adorable.

Also, some of you are probably too young for this one.  If that's true, please don't tell me.  I'm almost a quarter of a century old and I'm cranky about it.  I feel there's probably some sort of sick irony in all of that, but I don't want to hear about that, either.

Let's talk Zipper!  He's from the Rescue Rangers, which starred Chip and Dale.  If you don't know who they are, I can't help you (my, I'm awfully cranky today, aren't I?).
image source:
They run a detective agency, all of them - Dale, Gadget, Chip, Zipper, and Monterey Jack.  This was seriously one of my favorite cartoon as a kid, and if it were still on, I'd be all over it.  The theme song was so catchy - I can still sing parts of it (trust me, you don't want to hear that).

Okay, enough waxing nostalgic.  Here's the look.  I was trying to go for a shimmery sheen, like a fly's wings.  And teal blue, because Zipper is blue (and because Laura requested it!  Never say I don't listen!).
Shiro Cosmetics Emanicipation Grid (gorgeous, sparkly, icy blue), Butterfree (shimmery lavender), Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics le Fontaine (silver with sparkles)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on liner in
Gunmetal (silver), Flipside (teal)

Erm, so yeah, those are supposed to be fly wings!  Except when you look at my eyes like this, it looks like a fish.  Or a whale.  Oops.  All in all, I'm not really pleased with this look, but Zipper is so cute, I had to feature him.

I was trying to give the wings that gauzy, gossamer effect, but that's um, hard.  
Emancipation Grid is a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous color.  I need to use this one more often.  That is one of the great things about doing this series; I need to pull out all kinds of colors, and I am forced to shop my stash, as they say.  I foiled the colors in this look with a wet brush - it really does bring out the strength of colors!  I was completely amazed.  And I thought, "Why don't I do this more often?"  

Oh right.  Because I'm lazy and I don't like to use more than one brush, and if my brush is wet, I'll need another one.  Plus dipping a wet brush into a pot of shadow just makes me feel kind of icky, and I don't always have time to tap some out on a paper towel or whatever.

Okay, go check out Tracy's look!  Also, if you have any cartoon character ideas, let me know!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Foodie Friday! #2: Meal Planning

My mom's not much for writing things down, though she does keep her life (and therefore, my dad's) very organized - not sure how she does it.  I, however, am a list-maker, and a planner-outer, and an otherwise very visual person.  Since I now live in a two-person household (three-creature-household, if you count our fluffy), it's imperative to stay organized, and also to stay organized together.  It didn't really take much for S. and I to adapt to living together (we've now been doing it for over a year, woohoo!) and I'm sure our organizational methods helped tremendously.  Or, well, I established an organizational system, and S. agreed to participate (he's not much of a plan-all-of-the-details-out-in-advance-person, but he is grounded and practical).

S. and I use Google Docs to keep our lives organized.  Both of us can access the documents we store there at any time (so long as there is an Internet connection, of course), and both of us can edit/modify said documents; it keeps things really simple and convenient for us.  Our expenses sheet (an Excel file) is stored there, and is how we keep track of our joint checking account, as well as our credit card, savings account, and monthly budget planning.  The other frequently used document stored there is the weekly meal planner, and the catalog of previous recipes.  The meal plan for the week looks like this:
I know it doesn't seem symmetrical, but the whole odd-numbered days in a week thing really throws me off and makes it hard to create pretty, symmetrical documents.  This is what I went with, it works, and I'm too lazy to change it now!

All of the underlined bullets are links to the specific recipes posted on food blogs or Food Network's site, or various other resources.  I sometimes also leave comments (like with the Korean pork option on Thursday) if I have further instructions not present in the recipe.  S. is the chef here, but I plan the meals; I keep inventory of what's coming in our CSA box for the week, as well as what I know we have in the freezer and pantry, and plan accordingly.  It seems disjointed, but it actually works out really well; I enjoy reading food blogs and S. doesn't, so I don't mind doing this, while he would never want to plan things out this far in advance.  I try to choose simple recipes with a basic set of ingredients for the most part, since we don't have time for elaborate meals; most of these get the job done, and are still very delicious.
I believe these were fairly easy enchiladas (according to S.), along with a side of black beans from a can, heated up.  Still fairly healthy (healthier than going out for fast food, I hope!) and low-key.

Since we get a notification of the next week's box's contents a week prior, it's easy to plan things out a week in advance (how many times can you use the word "week" in one sentence?).  I also store all the previous weeks' menus in another file on Google Docs, so that I can sometimes rife through them and pick out favorites to repeat.  I'm also currently working on compiling another document with recipes that we've used and liked, just in case the original blogs disappear (this happens more frequently than you'd think).  I have kept all the original author information and links to the blogs, but I've tried to consolidate everything in one place, to preserve and to have ready access to.  Once this recipe codex is in a more presentable state, I'll show you that, too.

It's important for us to meal plan, so that we know what kind of pantry supplies and dry grocery items we might need (e.g. pasta, tomato sauce, spices, etc.) and knowing what dinner is going to be every night helps streamline days.  It also helps me remember to take out proteins the night before to thaw in the fridge, and S. can keep track of which dishes need to be marinated in advance.  We've been doing it this way for a little over a year now, and it seems to be working well.  Of course, we could always use any advice or helpful tips, so give it up if you have any!
A staple dinner in our household - homemade pizza!  S. has become a pro at it (he makes his own dough) and it always ends up really tasty.  He alternates between chewy crust and thin, crisp crust, depending on his mood - the dough recipe is always the same.  He makes big batches of it and freezes it in portions; this works really well, as you can just thaw out what you need the night before.  We never order take out pizza anymore, unless we want super gourmet pizza (there are a few great places in the city that do a really tasty, expensive pizza), and that's just a sometime treat.

I know not everyone is responsible for their own households (yet), and some of you have been doing it for years.  Some of you, like me, are new to the party.  What kinds of things do you do to stay organized?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Thursday Post

Nicki Minaj: Super Bass.  Okay, okay, yes, she's kind of insane.  And her voice is certainly, erm, distinct.  But this song is so damn catchy.

Did you know that they made things to remove sweater pills?  And they're only $3.99?  I need one!

This is pretty amazing.  I love looking at interesting hotels with unique themes or locations.

I made lemon strawberry muffins.  Once apples get to be in abundance, I'm making these.  And this, which is an old favorite.

Also, remember those frozen lemon bars I mentioned?  Haagen Dazs Five Lemon ice cream tastes exactly like it, without the graham cracker crust, of course.  I am a sucker for creamy lemon ice's divine.  I think I'd prefer something slightly custardier and richer, but it's still really good.

I finally got my hands on Revlon's Facets of Fuchsia - woohoo!  I picked up some other polishes, too...I needed a pick-me-up.

Here's some shoe eye candy for you - the best kind!

It's getting to be fall here - the weather turned cold rather abruptly, and the sunlight seems to have vanished.  I do love autumn weather, though, and it means I can break these out!  I bought them during Nordstrom's anniversary sale!
I needed a good pair of boots that could be worn under flared or boot cut jeans and pants; most of my other boots are at least calf-height.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zoya Freja: Everyone Needs A Good Gunmetal!

Gunmetal, not a gun.  I'll leave that up to you.

This is one of my favorite colors, so I'm not exactly sure why I haven't blogged about it before, or why I don't wear it that often.  Probably because I...have too many polishes (eep!  Don't tell S. I admitted to that!).  Anyhow.  It's a lovely gunmetal color and a smooth, reliable Zoya formula.  It has a slightly blueish cast, which I like, and it's not *too* dark.
In the sun!  Which is no longer visible, here in Seattle. 
You can see the blueish cast here.  Zoya base coat, 2 coats of Freja, and Zoya top coat.
Try it if: You like a medium shimmer polish with an easy to work with formula.
Skip it if: You like your metallics ultra metallic-y.  If you're going for the sheet metal look, I'd try something else.

$8 at Zoya.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

EOTD: Mellow Yellow

Do they still make that drink?  Or has Mountain Dew taken over the world?  Er, I mean, taken over the market for fizzy, neon yellow sodas with indescribable flavors?

Anyway.  This look is not neon.  It's mellow yellow!  Now that stupid song is stuck in my head.  "They call me Mellow Yellow..."
Shiro Cosmetics Yatta (pastel yellow), Pikachu (bright yellow with red glitter)
Benefit Magic Ink (black liquid liner), UD Mildew (olive green), El Dorado (gold)

So.  I actually find yellow to be surprisingly wearable.  What about you?  Do you like yellow eye shadow?  What about pastels?  Is there a color you never wear?

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Lips But Infinitely Better: Dior 215 Primrose Crystal

I was originally uninterested in a "my lips but better" shade; if I wanted something my natural lip color, I just left my lips bare.  They're often dry or otherwise unattractive, though, and sometimes I just want to look natural, but polished.  So off to the Dior counter I went.  Why Dior?  Well, I wanted a lightweight, subtly glossy lipstick with a soft finish, and I love the formula of Dior's Rouge Serums - they feel good.  They're not terribly opaque or pigmented or dramatic, but that's not what I'm going for with "natural," anyway, so these are perfect.
The pens are sealed.  Isn't that nice?  I love Dior packaging.  These pens fit perfectly in purses!

This is one of the fall releases - the Rouge Serum Crystals.  All of the press releases and the item page on Nordstrom say that these are SPF 20, but it doesn't say that on the box (the original Rouge Serums have "SPF 20" listed on the front of the box, near the bottom), and octinoxate, the active ingredient in the original Rouge Serums, is not on the Crystal ingredient list.  So it seems that these do not provide any sort of sun protection, unfortunately.
I absolutely love the packaging of these things.  Even though it's a clicky pen, I can always actively see product rising up when I twist it, even if I just give it one turn.  The instructions say to twist twice per use, which I find to be accurate.

The color is a soft peachy pink - not too orange and not too pink - that is really almost exactly my lip shade, if just a touch peachier.  On my lips, it looks healthy and gives me an overall polished glow.
Bare lips, for reference.  ...  I can't believe I put this up here.  You see why I need Primrose Crystal now, yes?  I think I may have been drinking red wine when I took this photo.  Hm.  That might explain the blotches.  Ah, well.
With Primrose Crystal.  Soft, shiny, and worlds better than that icky photo above.
So, do you really need to spend $34 on a MLBB shade?  Well, maybe not, but I was going for a very specific natural look, and this nails it, so I feel like it's worth it.  I didn't have to endure a long, fruitless search, going through numbers of products and feeling more disheartened with every failure...yeah.  It doesn't look exactly like my lip color - it's a touch warmer - and evens out my lips.  I can't achieve this look with clear balms (and I don't like the texture of most balms - too waxy) or more pigmented lipsticks.  I will probably go back for a more beige nude (there is both a "nude serum," and a "beige serum," haha) at some point, as well.  These are definitely one of my favorite lipstick formulas.

On the negative side, the lipstick doesn't last more than two hours on my lips, but since it  is such a fool-proof color, touch-ups are extremely easy; a mirror isn't necessary for application.  I do wish these weren't quite $34; you can get a Guerlain Rouge Automatique for $35, Armani for $30, YSL Rouge Volupté Pearl for $34...all with varying amounts of product, of course, though this Dior does tend to be on the lighter end of the distribution in terms of product weight.

Try it if: You're looking for a natural lip color in a comfortable, lightweight formula.
Skip it if: You'd rather just slick on clear balm for a natural look (though the Rouge Serum line does come in brighter colors - I have a bright red).

$34 for 0.07 oz at Dior counters.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cartoon EOTD: Funshine Bear

Yes, that's really his name.  I have to admit, I didn't remember most of the Care Bears' names.  It's been a long time, okay?
image source: Fanpop
Anyhow.  I was in the mood for something bright and cheery after last week, and what better than Funshine, right?  I *think* he was the jokester bear, and with a name like "Funshine," well, I think you just kind of have to embrace the, er, punny things in life.  Hah!  (Okay, sorry, I had to.)
UDPP Greed
Antoinette's Revolution Cosmetics Le Soleil (bright yellow), Shiro Cosmetics Charmander (orange)
Urban Decay El Dorado

Look!  It's the sun!  Whoohoo!  It looks much better when my eyes are closed, though.
Open eye shot.  One of the rays looks bent.  Oops.

I just couldn't do another complicated eye liner look this week, and sometimes I like nice, simple looks, with a small list of colors used.  Don't forget to check out Tracy's look!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foodie Friday! #1: A CSA Box

[People did comment on my survey long ago that they would like to see some non-beauty posts every once in a while, so I thought I'd start throwing some around.  Posts having to do with the home are cheekily tagged "domestic goddess," as I am far from one, and managing a household - even a two-person household - is a continuous learning process.  Let me know what you think!]

CSA (community-supported agriculture) boxes have been in our lives for a little over a year now, and we really enjoy them and their convenience.  We subscribe to a local organization, and we get a box delivered to our doorstep every Friday.  It's $35 a week for a box that contains enough fruits and veggies to feed two people in that week (appropriately supplemented with proteins and dairy and grains, of course).  All of the food is certified organic, and either comes directly from the farm, or is sourced from other organic farms (it's a good idea to try to eat locally, of course, but sometimes the weather and changing of the seasons just doesn't allow for that).  We originally had another CSA company, but some of the produce was arriving in a less-than-appetizing state, and they were bringing in items from all over the world, even during the heart of summer. Interesting, but not what I really intended - the idea is to support local food.  So we switched, and though this is still a fairly new company for us, I'm happy so far.
A typical box.  There are a bunch of potatoes under the lettuce, as well as a cucumber, and more fruit.

I've never been big on organic food and I wasn't raised that way, but the idea really appeals to me now, especially since purchasing from local farms helps support them in a big way.  We actually started subscribing to a farm service (with doorstep delivery) a year ago because we didn't have a car, and lugging items from the grocery store by bus was not a whole lot of fun, especially in the rain and freezing cold weather.  Besides that, I also had a hard time choosing produce at the grocery store - I felt like I always ended up with the same things, and that can get pretty old.  Plus, a lot of my favorite foods (like leafy greens and berries, for example), can really carry a lot of pesticide residue, which isn't the best thing.  And I was new at this shopping for two business - how much food can two people eat?

Signing up for a box really solved all of those problems.  We got lots of interesting, new produce that we've never tried before, like romanesco.  It's pretty awesome looking.
Looks like it should be an ocean something, right?  Tastes rather like broccoli, though.

We get the two-person-sized box, which we go through in a week almost exactly.  Here's an example of the list of items for a week:

You are able to adjust items the week before you expect your delivery, so that your order is customized for you.  For example, you might get tired of having corn three weeks in a row, so you can substitute that out and put in something else (whatever might be available for substitutions is in the drop-down menu).  There's also a "permanent exemptions" list for items that you never want to receive - our list has beets on it, because neither of us are huge fans.  I appreciate having the list show up the week before, because it allows me to meal plan effectively.  I don't cook (S. is the cook around here - I clean dishes and such), but I plan the meals, because I enjoy looking at food blogs, and he doesn't.  We have a system on Google Docs so we can both access the meal plans at any time.

The box arrives at your door, whether you're home or not, which is so convenient.  They try to put it in an out of the way, cool spot, which I appreciate.  It comes with an invoice of all the produce items included, and there are usually a few relevant recipes and news tidbits on the reverse side of the sheet.  They're usually simple, tasty recipes that utilize the box items, and I've incorporated a number of them into our weekly meals.
A potato crust quiche S. made with items from the box!

Not all cities and locations may have viable options like this for a CSA box, but I think it's a really great resource, and definitely something to look into.  The price is reasonable (in this city, anyway) and on par with other organic food prices in the grocery store - some things are cheaper, some things less so.  Having the bulk of our weekly food come in a box also limits the number of grocery trips we make, as well as the time we spend in grocery stores, which in turn limits the number of random things we end up buying and helps us stick to a budget.  We do buy grains, proteins, dairy and dry goods (herbs, garlic, etc.) from Costco or grocery stores (though I make our bread), and will occasionally pick up fruit when it's on sale and I want it for baking or something.  Otherwise, all of our fruits and veggies come from the farms, which is a nice thought, right?

Except for the time there was a frog in our box.  Fresh from the farm, indeed.

Anyhow, I thought I'd just share about it, since I'm not sure how many people are familiar with it - I've converted a lot of friends, and even my mom wishes it was an option where my parents live (it's not, unfortunately).  They have bigger sizes, for families with children, for reasonable prices.  What do you think?  Is it something you would consider?  Also, what are your thoughts on occasional "Foodie Fridays?"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Thursday Post

Anne Marie Almedal: Paint it Black.  It's a haunting, gorgeous cover of the Rolling Stones song.  Not necessarily a fan of this particular video for it, but it's the only one I could find on Youtube.  Just, you know, listen.

I want to see if Dennison will do this.  I nearly fell over laughing when my brother posted this on my Facebook wall.

I made yummy frozen lemon cream bars.  You need to make these.  Seriously.  I know I always say that, but these were amazing.  There were four of us, and the entire pan got devoured in one night.

I rarely get excited about the huge palettes with gloss and eyeshadow and all kinds of random stuff shoved into it, but I love other aspects of holiday collections - so glam!  A Touch of Blusher has a great preview - that polish and the lipsticks definitely piqued my interest!

This brand has intrigued me for a while, and now they're available at Sephora!  I'm interested in the foundation, but have no idea what to pick.  Thoughts?

Love these shots of celebrities as fashion models.

Do you tightline your eyes (I didn't even know that's what this was called :P)?  This is a really cute tutorial from Bun Bun Makeup Tips and Beauty Product Reviews.  But I have to admit, I leave the gap between my lashes, because otherwise the liner is a pain to remove!

And another Dennison photo!  He likes to sleep.  He doesn't like to be woken up, so much.
Why you wake me up?  I see no treats.  :(

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scent By the Sea: Chocolate Lover's Set

Sounds like a strange thing for a self-professed chocolate-non-lover to own, right?  But Ki sent it to me (I won her giveaway, yay!) and you know what?  They smell good.
I love Scent by the Sea's little paper beautiful.

Well, most of them do, anyway.  I've never sniffed cacao beans before, but I do not like the smell of chocolate, in general.  These don't really smell like chocolate bars - or chocolate cake, ice cream, frosting, what have you - so I was relieved.  If that's what you're looking for, this set is not going to satisfy that particular sweet tooth.  They are still a bit foodie, though, which it appears I like.  I will say that I prefer two over the other two; Ganache and Candied Violet are both a little too heady and overripe for me.  Arancia Nero and Tropic of Chocolate are more my speed.

Scent by the Sea descriptions:

I was playing in my perfume workshop this summer and thinking about how much I love the smell of chocolate/cocoa/cacao. Most of my existing chocolate blends lean toward deep/dark/hypnotic/earthy, since that's where the scent seems to "go" as I blend it. But *this* time, I challenged myself to come up with a set of scents that would express the lighter, more high-spirited side of chocolate with an emphasis on fresh/non-traditional notes. These blends are ingenues, not divas---think Mary Ann, not Ginger---and I promise you won't smell like a cupcake shop!

Candied Violet – chocolate meets violets; mad romance ensues

Tropic of Chocolate – a island paradise, with coconut, tropical fruit and cacao
Arancia Nero
– a chocolate/orange liqueur/whipped cream Italian dessert tradition
Ganache – opposites attract: creamy chocolate meets an unexpected visitor for tea

And here we go, you get to see me try to describe scents again. I included S.'s input this time as well, because as he says, he grades scents on a "pass/fail" basis, versus trying to pick out individual notes, and it gives a good idea of what the overall effect is.  Every time I bring out new perfume vials though, he regards me with a wary's quite comical, really.  He still cooperates, though - isn't he a nice boy? 

Candied Violet

My thoughts: Fruity, heady, juicy, and sweet in a luscious, promiscuous way.  I don't think I like violets.

S.'s thoughts: *wrinkles nose* "Um...what is that?" (apparently he doesn't like violets, either).

Tropic of Chocolate

My thoughts: In the vial, it smells like coconut ice cream, like Haagen Dazs Pineapple Coconut, which is absolutely divine.  On me, it still smells like coconut, with an additional richness (like coconut cake!), a slightly floral note, and - this is the important part - it manages not to smell like sunscreen.  Fantastic.  If I sniff my wrist, I can get that bit of cacao (which I almost wish wasn't there, as chocolate really isn't my favorite scent), but it's barely noticeable in the general aura smell (is there a word for that?  Bah.  My perfume ignorance is on full display, here).  This is definitely a foodie smell.

S.'s thoughts: "Approved."

Arancia Nero

My thoughts: In the vial, it smells a bit like creamsicles and a bit like chocolate dipped oranges.  The citrus note is strong but not synthetic, and stops short of smelling like cleaner.  On my skin, it warms up into something a little warmer, though it's still creamy and faithfully orange.  It's slightly spicy, but in a foodie way, rather than in a dark, incense-y manner.  Brings to mind orange soaps, but in a good way.  I can see myself bringing this one out in the autumn, because of that subtle spicy note.

S.'s thoughts: (He sniffed my hand as instructed, and just stared blankly at me.)
me: "Well?"
S.: "Yes?"
me: What does it smell like?"
S. (looking slightly panicked): "I...I don't know!"
me (frowning): "Here, smell the vial." *opens the vial and puts it under his nose*
S. (moving his head away quickly): "Nope, nope nope."
me: "What?  No?  Really?"
S.: "Nope."
me: "Why not?  Smells like cleaner?"
S.: "Yep."

(Well.  That's that, I guess.)


My thoughts: In the vial it's initially very sweet, but not in the way of cream and sugar.  It's headier, fruitier, and reminds me of tea.  If I keep smelling it, I get the chocolate coming out later, on the bottom.  On my skin, though, it's completely different - upon application, it smells kind of like Lolita (another SbtS perfume), but with a subtle creaminess, and just a hint of cocoa.  When it completely dries down, it's also much fruitier; I prefer Lolita
.  This is the kind of smell that will eventually give me a headache - too fruity and overripe. 

S.'s thoughts: *sniffs my hand, then sniffs the vial* "It's very different than the vial...but I don't know about that one." (Translation: No.)

Try it if: You like sweeter smells that are still complex and interesting.
Skip it if: Foodie smells are not your thing; while these don't all smell like chocolate, they are quite gourmand-y.

The listing is here; it's $8.00 for four samples.  SbtS's samples are generous and last me quite some time, even with daily wear.  I did receive this from Ki, but I think it's a fair price.  I don't see a full bottle listing for any of these, so I'm not sure if those are options.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Revlon Super Lustrous Fire and Ice

[An appropriate post to follow the Lipstick Bandits' debut, no?  Haha!]

I needed to feed my recent red lipstick habit, and Makeup Morsels did this post on Revlon Fire and Ice, and Dani did this one, and my local drugstore was having a 40% off of Revlon products sale.  The stars aligned and all of that, so I came home with this (along with jars of pasta sauce, BOGO cotton balls and rounds, Brita filters, cans of beans...I was responsible, too!  Look at that!  Also, on that note, would anyone be interested in seeing my weekly meal plan documents?  Or hearing about that?).

I will freely admit that I have kind of a stigma against some drugstore lipsticks; it has nothing to do with any preconceived notions on lesser quality or cheapness or anything rational.  I think it's just because my mom used to have a ton of Revlon lipsticks when she was younger (she only "settles" for Chanel, Dior, Bobbi Brown, etc. now, partly due to my influence...haha), and while I liked playing with them, I was always aware of how freaking awful they smelled.  Awful.  Worse than my crayons.  Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but still very bad.  That is the only memory of Revlon lipsticks that I have (well, that, and some of the frosty pink horrors that I've seen in their collections), aside from the awful green packaging of their Moon Drops or whatever collection.
The packaging is simple; the tube is super light.  I prefer weightier packaging, but I don't think anyone buys this solely based on packaging appeal.

Another problem I have with drugstore makeup is the lack of testers.  Even if they do have testers, they're in such bad shape that I'm not really keen on picking any of them up and swatching them, even on my hand (I'm sorry, I don't like germs).  That, coupled with a lack of a cosmetics return policy, makes me reluctant to purchase things from drugstores.  You might say that okay, a bad lipstick would only set me back about $5 on sale, $9 if regular price, but um...I'm a poor graduate student, and I could use that money to eat.  Or, you know, buy more lipstick!

Last problem: I have an allergy to parabens.  A lot of drugstore brands do not post their ingredients on their websites, or in readily readable areas on their packaging (a lot of high-end brands don't have lists on their website, actually, but do print them on the packaging; I've also had great experiences calling Nordstrom and asking a SA to read the ingredients list for me).  My lipstick, for example, was sealed, with no ingredient information to be found on the outside of the seal - nor on the display or anywhere else.
How is this helpful?  I mean, the seal is good - I appreciate the attempt to keep my product from being opened before I purchase it.  But I want to read the ingredients.  I understand that keeping it sealed prevents it from falling off.  But I still want to read them before I buy it and unwrap it.  And that point, it's rather too late to return it!

I had to search Amazon for an ingredient list.  I would really, really appreciate it if more companies started to put their ingredient list right on the outside of the seal.  How else are we supposed to find out this information?  I mean, sure, I could call customer service, but my willingness to buy your product drops drastically with every additional step I have to take to find out what's in it.  Also, as a side note, I have called customer service for a company before (and it wasn't a drugstore brand).  The customer service representative did not have the ingredient information I required, but would I mind calling another number?  Actually, I would.  Product not purchased.

Here's the ingredient list, for you!

So, rambling confessions aside, I hedged a bit on this purchase.  What if it smelled funny?  What if it looked completely and utterly ridiculous?  What if it looked exactly like a red I already own?  Well, let's see.  Since Revlon Fire and Ice is a warmer red, I pulled out Dior Red Serum, because I thought they'd be the closest.
Fire and Ice is warmer, more orange; it's also creamier and far more opaque, with less slip than the Dior. The other reds I have are darker or more blue, so they wouldn't have been too close.  This red is intense; it seems to pull orange in these photos, but in person, it sometimes has a blue cast, as well, so it's hard to explain.  It's definitely in-your-face and intense and almost glows, so if you shy away from brights, this is not the one for you.
It looks tomato red here, but in person it does actually have a slight blue's hard to describe.  Everyone who says this is simply "true red" is probably spot-on, I feel.
The texture is almost too creamy for me - it feels like it would be really easy to just smoosh the bullet against my lips and create a huge mess.  I didn't find this to be particularly moisturizing, either, and I could always feel it on my lips.  But!  It didn't have a noticeable smell.  That strong, distinct smell is apparently a thing of the past.  Fantastic!

Try it if: You want a creamy, opaque, fiery red lipstick at budget prices.
Skip it if: You prefer lightweight lipsticks; I find this a bit heavy and almost too soft.

With 40% off, I got this for $4.79 + tax.  Not bad, right?  I will still probably wear it, every so often...I think it will be very nice under a coppery lipgloss.  Now I just need some lipgloss.  It never ends.