Monday, July 21, 2014

Ipsy July 2014: Here Comes the Sun

For those of you just tuning in, Ipsy is a beauty subscription service. For $10 a month, Ipsy sends 4 - 5 surprise beauty products to your door in a cute cosmetics bag. They even mail it all in a sparkly pink envelope! Seeing that envelope in my mailbox always makes me jump up and down like a little kid. If you like trying new things, Ipsy is for you.

How was your weekend? I was happy to take a break from painting to try my new stuff from Ipsy. Did you get a good bag this month? Mine was kind of a bummer at first glance, because I didn't get any full size products. And I was NOT thrilled to receive cheap tanning oil. The last time I laid out was, um, never! But I liked getting a Bare Minerals product and a rich, inky blue nail polish. I feel like Ipsy's choices for me haven't been on target lately. Ipsy Match, the system Ipsy uses to match products to each subscriber's preferences, seems confused. I wonder if they changed their algorithm? Anyway, here's the value breakdown for this bag:


Total Value: $47.22
Ipsy Price: $10.00

But I know what you're thinking: Is this stuff any good?

The Bare Minerals BB Cream Eyeshadow is supposed to be a primer and eyeshadow in one, with some woo-hoo fancy skin care properties. The color I received is too dark for me to use as an all-over primer, but it's a good neutral brown for everyday use on the lid and/or in the crease. I don't usually like cream eyeshadows, because I often make mistakes when smearing them on. And this formula is more matte than the eye colors I usually wear. But I'm very impressed by its staying power. This is a waterproof formula that holds up to rain and still looks good 10+ hours after application, even in gross Tennessee humidity. I give it an A+ for summer wear.

I'm not impressed by Pixi Beauty's lip balm, because it's really just a weakly tinted mood lipstick. Yeah, this is one of those "Magically changes to a unique color! Just for YOU!" products. It goes on clear, and it's supposed to change color based on your skin's pH. On me, it becomes a weak bubblegum color that I'd call "Adolescent Pink." On the plus side, it has a super smooth texture. But when I want a tinted balm, I generally want a more saturated (and sophisticated) color than I get from this.

The wHet nail polish is a huge hit with me. I love it. The color is a super-saturated lapis lazuli blue that gets richer and darker with each coat. The formula is thin and very easy to control during application. I found that three was the magic number; three coats gave me an opaque, rich blue that I loved. With a topcoat, it didn't chip for two days. I like to do projects that are hard on my nails, so a manicure that lasts two days is very good for me.

The BeFine moisturizer with SPF is nearly full size and worth more than $20. In fact, nearly half the bag's value comes from this one product. The moisturizer itself is not interesting. It's not too thin or too creamy. It doesn't have the odd smell or separation issues you often find with products that don't contain preservatives (nice). It smells like sunscreen... because it contains sunscreen. Yawn. Here's the part that is interesting: The brand is vegan and not tested on animals. They use no preservatives, fragrances, or parabens. They do use food ingredients in their products. I haven't seen any scientific studies proving that the topical application of pomegranates or almonds makes you look better. But as long as it doesn't hurt, I don't mind.

The Hang Ten tanning oil is probably going to sit in a drawer until 2017, and then it will get thrown away in the middle of a cleaning frenzy. I've told Ipsy that I don't use tanning products, ever, but the Ipsy Match system seems off lately. Have you noticed the same issue? There were other things in this month's bag that sounded fantastic to me: The Benefit mascara, Elizabeth Mott cheek and lip tint, and Big Sexy Hair Get Layered flash dry spray would've been welcome in my bag. Did you get them? Want to trade? *bats eyelashes* Please?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spanish Revival, and a New Plan for the Dining Room

Maybe I've been watching too much Game of Thrones. Maybe I'm just bored with the stark simplicity of Mid-Century Modern furniture. But right now, I'm so drawn to the Spanish Revival look. It's a little rustic, a little Medieval, and just so interesting. I wouldn't want to have an entire room done in this style, but I'd love to use just one or two Spanish Revival pieces. They would add something unexpected and special.

Spanish Revival Chairs at 1st Dibs
1920s Spanish Revival Sideboard from 1st Dibs
My aunt Judy gave me an old Spanish Revival cabinet about seven years ago, and I used it in the living room at our old condo (You can see it here). Now it's in our dining room. I like it there so much that it's inspiring me to go with a more rustic, masculine look than my original (colorful and girly) plan for the dining room. As we spend more time in our house, I'm realizing that the original plan wouldn't work so well, anyway. The neutral living room opens into the dining room, so the dining room should be more neutral, too. Preserving the neutral scheme will make the rooms flow together much better.

When we moved into the house, my mother gave us a long, rectangular dining table that she no longer wanted. It has a dark wood finish, tapered legs, and a wonderful geometric motif carved into the table top. Keith and I both like it, so I'm planning the room around the table, cabinet, and rug (You can see them all together here). I'm imagining the room finished off with a round wrought iron chandelier*, bench seating on the long sides of our dining table, and chairs with chunky nailhead trim. You know... pieces that wouldn't be entirely out of place on the set of Game of Thrones. What do you think? Too simple? Too masculine? Or just right?
Rustic Masculine Gothic Dining Room

* At first I wanted to put the crystal chandelier from our old place over the table, but now I realize the chandelier would look much better in the guest bedroom.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Craigslist Fail. Or, On Being an Indiscriminate People-Pleaser.

I've been using Craigslist to buy and sell furniture for nearly ten years now, and I feel pretty Craigslist savvy. But last night, we experienced the biggest Craigslist disappointment I've ever had. Have you ever felt the need to apologize for something that wasn't really your fault? It's a weird thing. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Someday I'll find you, my pretty!
First, we borrowed a van and drove nearly an hour to Lebanon to purchase a blurrily-photographed bed that the seller said was in good condition. So far, so good. We drove up to their house and saw the disassembled bed on the front porch, shining like a beacon of Craigslist goodness. But my heart began to sink as I walked toward it. Even from 10 feet away, it was obvious that it was in rough shape. There were deep gouges and scratches all over the footboard. And when the seller began to explain that we'd need to drill new holes in the supports and buy new hardware to "make it work," I was  NOT having it. We have enough projects going on right now!

I hemmed and hawed and chewed  my lip. I ran my fingers over the damage, trying to assess how I could make it look like something other than a scratched mess. I know about stain markers. But dark cherry is very difficult to match. I didn't want to amass a stain marker collection to rival my box of Crayolas. And the messed up supports made warning bells go off in my head. That had not been mentioned in the listing. I wondered if they disassembled the bed before we arrived because it sat unevenly. I knew that if we bought the bed, I would regret it. So I sucked my cheeks in and tried to think of a polite way to tell the seller that I didn't want to buy their bed.

And then her husband snapped, "It's not for sale. Get outta here.

He sounded mad, but I was so relieved. We hightailed it out of there, and Keith was like, "Outlet mall. Outlet mall? Outlet mall!" Somehow, I managed to marry a man who likes shopping even more than I do. So we went to the Lebanon outlet mall, and Keith replaced his broken sunglasses. It was no longer a wasted trip.

But I felt guilty and upset that I hadn't bought the bed. I kept randomly trying to explain myself. Out of nowhere, I was saying things to Keith like, "I just didn't want to have another project, ya know?" and "If I had known it was so damaged, I wouldn't have come out here and wasted their time," and "Do you think he was really mad? Or just trying to use reverse psychology?" I was so upset by the whole exchange. Objectively, I understand that I shouldn't apologize for not buying something that had been misrepresented. But I want everyone to be happy. I feel guilty when I say, "No." It's an interesting thing to realize that I am such a people pleaser. I suppose I learned something about myself last night.

But enough about that. I want to hear some good Craigslist stories. Have you found anything amazing on Craigslist recently? I'll go first: I recently discovered Curating Craigslist, a blog that features the best furniture and home decor items from Nashville's Craigslist. This woman has an amazing eye. Check it out!