It’s the first of the month, so you know what that means!
Or maybe you don’t…I suppose I’ve only done one other of these so maybe it’s not that obvious. What it meeaannsss is it’s time to recap my standout products of the past month. Check ’em out below!
1. MILK Makeup Kush Mascara (here)
I plan to dive deeper into this in its own dedicated post, but I am currently in the process of transitioning to using solely cruelty free makeup and skincare products. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and in this year of “just going for it,” I am, in fact, just going for it. Despite being absolutely ob-sessed with makeup, because I work from home full time now, I rarely wear it on the day to day anymore. That is, with one exception…mascara. Mascara is hands down, without question, my desert island product, and I truly do not think there is a better way to instantly brighten up your face and enhance your natural beauty then a coating of it on your lashes. As I wear it pretty much every day, I’m sure you can guess, I was quite attached to what has been my holy grail for years, Loreal’s Voluminous Mascara in “Carbon Black.” I had been buggen about having to give this baby up, until one fateful day, while checking out at Sephora, I was presented with the option of using my Beauty Insider points on a freebie.
Side Note: Not to rag on Sephora or anything since obv I’m a fan…but who else agrees with me when I say its “reward” program is the biggest load of shit!? Like, I literally spend hundreds of dollars in your damn store and all you can give me is a measly, trial-size sample and 15% of twice a year?! I mean, just saying…
So I’m scanning the little glass display case of rewards, bitching internally (see italicized text above for reference), and my eyes land on this mascara. I remembered seeing the MILK Makeup brand on my cruelty-free reference list so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go. Well, call me Fickle Francine because I now thank all that is holy for Sephora and its shitty rewards program for introducing me to this gem. It has a wetter consistency that allows you to layer coat after coat without any clumps, and I find it separates my lashes while also giving me incredible volume. Now, I will say, if I’m going full glam with my eyes, I tend to gravitate toward mascaras that have a “dryer” formula, which (I find) produce a more dramatic, makeup-y look that prevents my lashes from getting lost in any smoked out shadow or liner. However, for an everyday look, this mascara is perfect! It creates the biggest, most beautiful, fluttery lashes that somehow manage to be both bold and natural-looking. Believe me when I say, it is magic in a tube. The full-size version of this is a bit on the pricier side, but they do sell the smaller “sample” size individually as well in case you want to try it without feeling like your throwing your money away!
OK, so just to reiterate…I am in the process of going cruelty free, and in the interest of not being wasteful, I am trying to use up all of my old products before/while I work on finding their replacements. I say all of this in order to preface the fact that I openly acknowledge that MAC cosmetics are not cruelty free…which honestly sucks ’cause I really, really love the brand, especially its lip liners.
Anywho, you should know, I have always struggled with a “nude” lip. You would think it would be easy to find your perfect color just by going off your skin tone, right? Wrong. At least personally, my attempts have led me down two different, yet equally disappointing roads: one, I go too light and end up looking grossly ghoulish, or two, I go too dark and end up bypassing the whole “nude” concept all together. But then it occurred to me…if I mix two colors together, maybe, just maybe, the two roads will meet and have me riding off into the mother-fucking nude-lip sunset! All of this is a long-winded explanation as to why there are two products listed. Alone, they are still both lovely, but together, they give me the perfect brownish-nude lip color that is perfect for when I have a bit of a tan. Basically all summer, if I haven’t been in a bold lip—or, just like Chapstick (LOL)—I’ve been rocking this combo. It’s nude enough that I don’t have to worry about it competing with the rest of my makeup if I’ve played up my eyes as well, but dark enough that I can wear it on its own and still give off the impression that I tried. The MAC lip liner is a wood pencil, meaning it has a dryer consistency than a gel or crème liner. I personally prefer the dryness of a wood pencil, as I feel like it lasts longer and gives me more control, but I mention it in case that isn’t your jam. The gloss—which is from a cruelty-free brand (yay!)—isn’t super long-lasting, but it’s shiny and hydrating, and for less than $5 a pop, I’m happy to re-apply as much as I need to.
3. Little Bee by Chris Cleave (here)
So you may or may not know this about me, but I am an AVID reader. I’m talking every night before bed I’m putting in at least 15 minutes. I’d say I probably average about two books per month, most of which I borrow from my local library or from friends/family. First things first, if you’re not utilizing your local library, stop reading this and go get yourself a damn library card. It will give you access to more books than you could read in your a lifetime…all for free. It is literally a book lover’s dream, minus one teeny-tiny little problem. Unless you go in on the hunt for a specific book, you never really know what you’re going to get from a quality standpoint. Now, I have gone into the library, picked blindly, and been pleasantly surprised. I have also completed this same ritual and ended up with absolute junk. It’s a “box of chocolates”–esque crapshoot straight out of Forest Gump, and unfortunately for me, I have been on a bit of a “good book” dry spell lately. Oh, everything’s been entertaining enough, but nothing has had that amazing prose that sucks you in and has you rereading sentences simply just to bask in them.
That is, until I picked up Little Bee. As taken from the back cover, “This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again—the story starts there…”
I don’t want to give away anything more than that, but guys, the story is incredible and particularly relevant given our current political climate. Captivating plot line aside, the book is beautifully written. Author Chris Cleave manages to transport us effortlessly between continents, characters, and human emotions, creating scenes that are at one moment humorous and the next heartbreaking. His characters are complex and well-rounded, and I find myself completely invested in not only the “what” of their stories, but of the “how” and the “why,” as I find Cleave’s narrative has challenged me to revisit what I define as “ethical” behavior. Moreover, he handles some extremely difficult subject matter in a way that is poignant and powerful but not obscene or voyeuristic, a delicate balance that I find most unable—or unwilling—to do these days. I’ll throw it back to my middle school book report days by saying, in conclusion, this is a high-quality read read that left me mulling over its pages long after I put it down every night.