Blogtober

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection | Writing Between Pauses

I am not much of an impulse shopper these days. I usually plan all of my purchases to a degree that drives Danny a bit crazy (“do we really need a 15 minute discussion about our Costco trip?” he asks, every two weeks). However, as I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post, I kind of decided spur of the moment to treat myself to the Too Faced Gingerbread Palette and then, shockingly, this lipstick set in Ulta.

This is the Sweet Smell of Christmas: Christmas Treats Liquified Lipstick Set, a set of four Melted Matte lipsticks.

I would never, ever buy 4 lipsticks at once. That just feels like too many. But then I did, because I felt like it and it was there and $25 seemed like a good deal. So, let’s walk through the basics of this lipstick set.

Here’s what the set has to say for itself:

Melt your heart out with this stocking-sized collection of Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks in yummy Christmas scents: Pumpkin Spice, Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Bear and Hot Buttered Rum. Too Faced’s innovative formula glides over lips like a gloss but dries to an ultra-matte opaque finish.

They promise these benefits:

  • Each shade has a unique Christmas scent

  • Infused with Volulip for a no-sting plumping and smoothing effect

  • Features avocado oil, vitamin E, and hyaluronic filling spheres to moisturize and smooth lips

  • Lightweight, long-wearing formula wears comfortably

That all sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’ll be honest, I’ve never really used Too Faced Melt Mattes before. I’ve heard good things, but a full size is about $25 per lipstick—a bit too steep for me! However, this set is a $48 value and sells for $25. These lipsticks are deluxe sample size at 0.1 fl oz. The standard size Melted Matte is 0.23 fluid ounces (or 7 ml). That’s still quite a lot of product and for $25 for four, I really couldn’t pass it up!

From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

This set includes the following 4 shades: Pumpkin Spice, a spiced rose brown; Sugar Cookie, a sugared nude; Cinnamon Bear, a matte cinnamon red; and Hot Buttered Rum, a warm caramel brown. They are all gorgeous and scented like the dessert they’re named after. My favorite scent is Sugar Cookie and while I initially bought the set almost entire because I loved the Pumpkin Pie shade, my favorite shade has quickly become Cinnamon Bear. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of red hot cinnamon, but this color is absolutely gorgeous.

Having worn all four shades by now (including Cinnamon Bear to an event on Saturday where I ate and drank a lot), I can say that these are some of the most comfortable, long-wearing lipsticks I’ve ever worn. And I wear a lot of matte lipsticks!

The only shade I’m not 100% sold on is Sugar Cookie; I suspect it might just be a little light for me, but I’m going to be brave and wear it again and see what happens. It’s just a different shade than what I’m used it! I really like Hot Buttered Rum as well; it looks quite brown in the bottle, but it’s so pretty and caramel-y on. It’s one of those shades that I think looks a bit different on each person.

TooFaced Melted Matte Christmas Shades

This little set would be a great gift for the holidays—it’s relatively affordable for $25. You get a lot of product for $25! If you’re looking to fill out your lipstick collection, these are also 4 absolutely lovely shades. I think Cinnamon Bear would be an pretty close dupe of (or replacement for) Kat Von D’s Nahz Fur Atoo.

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser | Writing Between Pauses

As I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post this week, I bought one of the L’Oreal Pure-Clay Face Masks at TJ Maxx this weekend. Usually, these are around $10-12, depending on your drugstore; that’s a little steep for me, especially in a non-cruelty free mask. However, for $3.99, I’ll try it!

The one I chose in TJ Maxx came with a small sample of the Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser. I was really excited to try both of these, the mask and the cleanser, so I can know if they are worth the relatively hefty price tag at my local Wal-Mart. I’m always down for a new mask, as you all know, and $13 is slightly better than the $17 of my favorite Body Shop mask.

L'Oreal Calming Pure-Clay Mask

The Pure-Clay mask I picked up is the Clear & Comfort mask; it is, as you can tell, bright, bright blue. Here’s what it promises:

3 Pure Clays and Seaweed. Clears & Comforts Stressed, Uncomfortable Skin. Visibly reduces imperfections. Indulgent. Transformative. Perfectly Clean. L’Oréal Paris created a new super-charged Pure-Clay face mask with seaweed to clear and comfort skin in just 10 minutes. Our indulgent and powerful formula with pure clays and seaweed provides a luxurious experience while helping comfort stressed skin. This creamy, indulgent formula gently yet effectively cleanses to leave skin clean and clear. Clear and Comfort Clay Face Mask addresses your skin’s imperfections to reveal purified and healthier looking skin.

The one thing that throws me really is the blue, blue color. It is very blue. It does wash off completely though, even though I was a little worry about staining my face blue. It is a really smooth texture, not sticky. It doesn’t remind me of other clay masks; there is something almost whipped about it (as opposed to muddy and heavy). It is very light, but, like I said, very bright blue. It feels lovely on and dries down really well. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling super tight.

Afterwards, my skin felt absolutely lovely and in the last few days. I did notice a distinct reduction in small blemishes and clogged pores along my jawline. The blemishes I had on my chin were looking much smaller the next day. I did really like it. I’m still a little bit hesitant about the $13 pricetag, but I do really want to try the other varieties (especially the yellow one and the white one) because I do really, really like this mask.

Are the L'Oreal Pure-Clay Masks Worth It?

Now, let’s talk about the Pure-Clay Cleanser. I was truly planning to hate this cleanser. I am a tried-and-true devotee to the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Facial Wash. However, I really loved this cleanser. Like a lot. So much that I plan to buy a full size version of it! Let’s look at what it promises:

Detoxes & Brightens Dull, Tired Skin. Removes everyday impurities.

L’Oréal Paris Skin Experts created our 1st range of clay-to-mousse daily cleansers that leave skin looking perfectly clear. Each cleanser is powered by 3 different clays in their pure form and enhanced with a nature-sourced ingredient.

This cleanser starts out as a clay-like mousse and then foams up to a pretty average cleanser. However, it removes makeup like nobodies business and left my skin feeling so soft! The cleanser is only $6.99 for a full size, which is absolutely worth it. I love that it has charcoal and clay in it to help with my oily skin.

If you’ve been wanting to try these Instagram-hyped masks, I think they are worth it if you’ve got $13 to splash around. And if you’re in the market for a new cleanser, then definitely try the Pure-Clay Cleanser. It’s amazing.

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Me last month: Next month’s Ipsy will be better.

Me this month: How is this bag somehow more underwhelming?

It’s not that this month’s bag is bad. It just hits somewhere between “so good I can’t shut up about it” and “so bad I have to laugh about it.” It’s just underwhelming, but hits right in the neutral zone of “I’m neither happy nor mad.” I don’t know if that’s worse than going either direction!

I’m keeping Ipsy until at least December—that’s when I take it off my editorial calendar and I’ll decide then if I want to keep going. It’s funny because I’ve been very happy with Ipsy until perhaps 2-3 months ago; my first almost year of bags were great! I wonder if the novelty of receiving items has just worn off, or what. Either way, though, I have thoughts about everything I received!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

IMG_7228.jpg

1. Take Home the Bronze in Oliver, $6

I said this in my Instagram story, but i don’t wear bronzer. I just don’t have a face that contours well or wears bronzer well. No matter how carefully I apply, I just end up looking muddy or dirty. It doesn’t suit my face shape or anything. This is a lovely, cool-toned bronzer, perfect for fair and cool-toned people, but it’s just not something I would wear. I might test it as an eyeshadow, but otherwise, I’m looking at regifting this. The full-size of this product costs $17.50 and this sample is about 1/3 the original size. Therefore, I estimated the cost at $6 for this little pan, which is about the size of an eyeshadow.

2. Oryza Beauty Lipstick in Opus, $21

This item doesn’t have a link because this is apparently an exclusive color. It is really gorgeous—a dark wine color. Despite being a traditional lipstick, the wear is amazing. It is very creamy going on, but it does dry down quite a bit and wears for a very long time. I wore it at work, including eating breakfast, and it was still on (if a little fainter) when I left around noon. Pretty amazing, I must say! The Oryza lipsticks are $21 a piece, based on my Google conversion (it’s a British website). The Opus color on the website is not this one; it is a light pink color, which is why I haven’t linked it! Not sure why they would give Ipsy an exclusive color with the same name as an existing lipstick, but what do I know?

The Balm's Take Home the Bronze

3. SOO AE Donkey Milk Sleep Mask, $2 for 2

I hate that I love these masks so much because… these masks are from Wal-Mart, guys. I was so excited to try these because I thought they were ~fancy, but then the next day, I was in Wal-Mart and saw them there for $1 a piece. Ipsy sent me a $1 filler mask. That is fine, but it’s not what I pay $10 a month for, to be quite honest. These masks made my skin feel ok; they clogged my pores quite badly on my chin, but around my eyes was lovely. I don’t know why it annoys me so much that I got sent a 2 $1 masks, but there we go.

4. Taste Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $13.50

I have a tube of Shape Tape that I bought perhaps… 6 months ago? I like it ok, but I’m almost out and wasn’t planning to repurchase (which meant I would have to try to find a concealer that did work). I was almost a little grateful to receive this tiny tube of Shape Tape to get me through! It’s quite small, but I actually like the smaller applicator; the large Shape Tape applicator is FAR too big and gives you too much product. This is perfect sized! It’s about half the size of a full tube, so I priced this at a value of $13.50.

Nebula Blue Highlighter

5. City Color Cosmetics Glow Pro Stellar Highlighter in Nebula, $2.25

This is my biggest “excuse me, but what the hell” item of my bag. Last month, I said, please, please, STOP sending me highlighters. So what do they do? Send me a BLUE highlighter. I will literally never put this on my body. It’s… so much. I am over highlight, to be quite honest; I think it looks really bad on me and in general, i’m tired of the same 3 colors of highlighter getting released and having to act excited. It’s sparkly white, it’s sparkly bronze, it’s sparkly champagne. How exciting. I don’t need more and I definitely don’t need a BLUE version!! The worst part, to me, is that this highlighter is valued at maybe $2.25. $2.25. I found it on City Color Cosmetics as part of a palette that costs $9!! Another $2 item, great.

Ipsy Bag Swatches

Final Thoughts

The total value of this bag is… $44.75. And that was estimating quite high on some items (I’m still a bit dubious that the tube of Shape Tape is even half of a full tube, but I didn’t feel like weighing them). I think this is the lowest value on a bag for a while. And while I don’t like to determine my enjoyment of a bag based on the value, but there is something a bit more satisfying of a bag worth $70-80 when I pay $10! Paying $10 to receive 2 $1 masks, a $2 highlight, a full size lipstick, and then two products that I will never, ever wear is not a good value to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so neutral on this bag; I like the lipstick, I’m happy with the Shape Tape, and the masks are ok, but it’s the value. I don’t pay $10 to get sent things that I can go buy at Wal-Mart and already have access to! I want to try new things or samples of things that are far out of my price range!

I always feel a bit whiny when I don’t like a bag. I am a natural critic, so I’m a bit critical of everything in my life (especially myself), so it’s something I really try to not indulge in when it comes to reviewing products. But good gracious, the more I write about this bag, the more annoyed I get!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy yourself, you can sign up using my code here.

Do you get Ipsy? How have your bags been lately?

What's in My Cup This Fall?

What's in My Cup This Fall? | Writing Between Pauses

I didn’t really drink coffee until I was 26. I had drank Starbucks drinks, of course—but I think we can all agree that those are mostly milk and flavors and much less about the coffee. (No shade, though; I love a latte!)

For a long time, I drank coffee very, very weak with a scoop of hot cocoa powder, milk, and Truvia. That sounds so gross to me now because my love for coffee has only grown. People really aren’t kidding when they say that the taste of coffee will grow on you; I absolutely used to hate the smell and taste of coffee, but now it’s one of my favorite things in the world!

These days I have two favorite types of coffee: the 1850 Black Gold dark roast from Folgers and Starbucks French Roast. Both are dark roasts. I use almond milk, salted caramel non-dairy creamer, and Truvia in my coffee every single day. It’s the best part of my morning some days, to be honest.

I feel like coffee is one of those extremely personal drinks that everyone has. And everyone has their preference. Some people live by creamer. Or half-and-half. Or black coffee. Some people only use sugar. My grandma still only uses Sweet’n’Low, which tastes so awful to me I can barely stand it. Usually around mid-Spring, I go through a phase of not really drinking coffee—and then by Fall, I’m ready for hot beverages again!

How do you take your coffee? Does it change seasonally?

What's So Special About a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch?

What's So Special About a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch? | Writing Between Pauses

Every October, we do a traditional visit to the pumpkin patch with Danny’s parents. They only visit about twice a year, so this is a big occasion for us. Last year, Forrest could have easily spent about 2 or 3 hours in the pumpkin patch. This year, he wasn’t quite as obsessed with pumpkins, but he still had a lot of fun.

We went to Lone Pine Farms in Eugene, which is where we go every year. I suspect they did not have a great pumpkin harvest this year; a lot of the pumpkins were rotten, damaged, or just starting to turn already… and the patch has only been open 2 weeks! We still found quite a few great pumpkins, though, so we can’t complain.

Pumpkin Patch Visit
Say Pumpkins!
Batman and Pumpkins
Lone Pine Farms

It was one of those perfect Fall days that feels absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too hot (mid-60s, a little windy), but it was sunny. The patch was crowded, but not like last year, so crowded that it felt claustrophobic. There was room to take all the photos I wanted of Forrest. It was just a day that felt really perfect and special.

Some of my friends often ask why our trip to the pumpkin patch is such a big deal. Well, first of all, pumpkin patches are really only open for one month a year. October. That’s it! That’s all the pumpkin patch you get! As well, the farm stands attached to pumpkin patches really depend on the business, as they often close for the season on November 1, or shortly after. Visiting local farms during the summer to buy produce, and then buying pumpkins from them instead of from a grocery store, helps me to support a local business.

Second of all, pumpkin patches are fun. There is always a lot to do. Lone Pine even has a whole playground set up so kids can play for a little while as their parents pay or browse the farm stand. There are games. There are hayrides. A cow train. Horses and goats to pet and feed.

It’s a special trip we take every year and one we all look forward to. If you don’t regularly visit a local pumpkin patch, you’re really, really missing out on an opportunity to not just have fun, but support a local business.

Family Photo at Pumpkin Patch

What’s your October tradition?

Inspiration Sunday: October 14

Inspiration Sunday: October 14 | Writing Between Pauses

Welcome to Inspiration Sunday! I used to this posts year-round on my blog, almost 6 years ago, but gradually stopped when I started making my blog less of a diary and more of a, well, blog. However, I like to do them throughout Blogtober because they are a nice break from having to write content that requires a little more thought and research.

You can read all my Inspiration Sunday posts from last Blogtober here. Without further ado, let’s hope right back into Inspiration Sunday!

1. Making Fall Memories

One of my best Fall memories is attending a birthday party for one of my best friend’s at a local pumpkin patch. I remember it being dark when my mom came to get me and I got a goodie bag that was in one of those shiny, mylar bags that was shaped like a witch’s head. The whole ride home I babbled on and on and on to my mom about the pumpkin patch, the games we played. I don’t remember any of it, but I do remember how excited I was (and realistically, as a parent now, how overtired I was).

I think about that every time I take Forrest somewhere to do something new. At 3, he’s starting to form more solid, long-lasting memories. He remembers when he hurt his arm in April, for example. And he remembers our trip to Idaho in July. But he doesn’t remember Christmas last year. It’s funny to think he’s building his lifelong memories of Fall right now and, honestly, as someone who loves Fall… I hope I’m building good ones for him.

2. Really, Really Good Tea

One of my first Blogtober posts was about tea and I actually found two teas I mentioned at the grocery store last week. For the past 3 years, I’ve been on, essentially, a coffee bender. I’m 100% about coffee 100% of the time when I used to be exclusively a tea drinker. However, in the past few weeks, I’ve been drinking more and more and more tea—and turning to it over coffee in the afternoon. Sometimes, you just need to be inspired and honestly, Salted Caramel Chai is a great way to be inspired.

3. Comfort

There is something about Fall that makes me just want to… be comfortable. To wear big sweaters. To wear my favorite wool socks. To drink a lot of warm beverages while watching my favorite, familiar movies. I don’t want to wear high heels or tight clothes. But I’ve realized lately that sometimes I behave in ways that avoid making me uncomfortable. I don’t stretch myself in my writing, because I’m comfortable where I am and I’m “good enough”—to try more makes me uncomfortable. But sometimes, being uncomfortable can be the best thing for us. Fall is a great season, because it reminds us that things change; we can’t live in Summer forever, the leaves have to turn so that we can have Summer again. So as much as Fall makes me want to be comfortable, I’ve been trying to find ways to actively move out of my comfort zone.

Things I Love: October 6

Things I Love: October 6 | Writing Between Pauses

Welcome back to another edition of Things I Love (or TiLT)! If you’d like to read past TiLTs, click here.

How is your October going so far? If you’re doing Blogtober, are you drowning yet? I swear, the past week has been the fastest of my life. I really thought I’d have more time with Forrest in preschool, but I feel like I somehow have even less time.

Thankfully, it’s the best time of the year! I love, love, love October. Danny and I are on a little vacation this weekend (oh la la) so he can attend a teacher’s union event; Forrest and I are therefore having a little mommy-son bonding time. You can follow me on Instagram for photos from our little trip. MAKE SURE TO LINK.

Without further ado, here’s everything I’ve loved from the first week of October.

1. Happy Birthday, Forrest

Sunday was Forrest’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that I’m the parent of a 3-year-old and not a baby anymore. And each day, I am consistently impressed with the wonderful, kind, caring, gentle boy he is. He loves nothing more than reading books, coloring, and playing with blocks. He loves school in the way that I loved school (which makes me so so proud). There are a million and one perfect, wonderful things I could write about Forrest, but I’ll keep this short: celebrating my boy is always going to be one of the best parts of my week.

2. Apple Picking & Assorted Apple Desserts

Technically, I went apple picking last week. However, I’ve been making apple everything because I have about 10 pounds of apples in my house right now! I’ve made apple strudel, apple pie, apple hand pies, applesauce, and, of course, caramel apples. It’s a nonstop apple party at our house and it’s so, so worth it. (And if you don’t go apple picking, I highly recommend it! Support your local orchards!)

3. October Traditions

Do you have a very specific October tradition? Mine is these cookies. In the first week of October, I have to buy and bake a box. It’s just the way I start the month! I got these ones mid-September to bake with Forrest before his birthday, but during the week, I definitely picked up a new box to make! They’re the perfect little cookie. Yes, I know they are processed as hell. Yes, I know they aren’t really that good as far as cookies go. But I love them. They are nostalgia in a box!

The Best Lipstick Shades for Autumn

The Best Lipstick Shades for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Sometimes, I think to myself: Michelle, is there any value in writing about lipstick so much?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, absolutely yes.

Here’s the truth: is writing about lipstick going to change the world as we know it? Probably not.

However, does lipstick make me happy? Could finding the perfect lipstick make you happier day-to-day? Does putting on that perfect brick red lipstick make you feel like Wonder Woman?

Then yeah, writing about lipstick matters. Not everything has to be so serious.

I feel the same way about loving Fall. Every year, when Autumn rolls around, people love to trot out both the “I love Autumn” hats and the “you’re basic if you love Autumn hats.” And here’s the thing: love what you love. Love Harry Potter? Honey, yes! Love lipstick? Baby WORK! Don’t love Harry Potter? That’s cool. What do you like?

We don’t all have to like the same things, but we shouldn’t tear down other people just because they like something we don’t. This is a lesson I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, for sure, and it’s in play here. For both Autumn and lipstick.

Whew. Now that I got that tangent out of the way, here are my top 5 lipsticks for Fall.

Best Autumn Lipsticks

1. Huda Beauty in “Flirt”

I received this liquid lip in my August Ipsy bag; at the time, I wasn’t sure I loved it. And here’s my big “I was wrong” flip flop moment: I kind of love it. By which I mean, I really love it. I started wearing it just to get used to it and then, I was wearing it everyday. It’s one of those lipsticks that people don’t really notice or comment on, but that I find myself spotting my own face in the mirror and thinking, “Wow, girl, you look good.”

Flirt is a cool mocha brown color. I hesitate to say it would work on all skin tones; there might be some tones it might be too cool for, or might appear ashy, but I’m not 100% postive on that. As well, brown isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, it gives that cool girl 90s vibe that reminds me of my sister in high school, it lasts all day, and it smells like vanilla. It looks great with a good blush, an understated eye, and a mustard yellow scarf.

2. Wet’n’Wild Liquid Catsuit in “Goth Topic”

Wet’n’Wild’s Liquid Catsuit is one of my favorite liquid lip formulas of all time. And Goth Topic is no exception. Goth Topic is a very, very good (and affordable) dupe for Kat Von D’s “Vampira”, a lipstick I own in both bullet (classic lipstick) and liquid lip. However, the formula of Goth Topic might actually be better than the Kat Von D version. Heresy? Perhaps. But Goth Topic is a dark, almost black-berry color that dries down perfectly, doesn’t get flaky, and is perfect for tromping through the pumpkin patch in your favorite witch attire. I mean, Fall outfit. Which might just be witch attire.

3. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick in “Nahz Fur Atoo”

Please accept my apologies for not including a Kat Von D lipstick on this list I try my hardest not to promote Kat Von D products, but there are some things that brand has just done right. And Nahz Fur Atoo is one of them. (And yes, before anyone starts, it is Nahz Fur Atoo. The name was changed from Nosferatu at the end of 2016 because the fair use license ran out on the word in Europe.) Nahz Fur Atoo is an almost perfect brick red (at least for me). It also does a pretty decent job staying set for several hours (at least if I’m not eating) and doesn’t smear all over my face. It’s perfect for a bold Fall look, because it is such a classic.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Catnip

4. Anastasia Beverly Hills in “Catnip”

When I originally started writing this post, I had two Kat von D shades on here. But I started looking for dupes for the second shade I’d chosen and, surprise, it turns out I own it. ABH’s Catnip is a dupe for Kat Von D’s Mother… sort of. I find that Catnip isn’t as bright, but it’s still a lovely “true” pink with a slightly mauve-y, purple undertone. Plus, the ABH formula is amazing and stays all day without being drying, smeary, or worse, disappearing into nothing.

5. Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink in “Visionary”

I debated about including this lipstick: Maybelline isn’t a CF brand, but if you’re looking for an affordable Fall lipstick that is a little more unique, Visionary is where it’s at. Visionary is a soft lavender color. And, warning, it can  make your teeth look dingy (so get on the tooth whitening train beforehand if you don’t want to shock yourself in selfies). The SuperStay matte formula is literally one of the best out there: it takes literal scrubbing to get off. This color is gorgeous and way out of my comfort zone, but it is great for an edgy, gothy Fall look.