beauty routine

6 Months Later: An Update on Quitting Dairy

6 Months Later: An Update on Quitting Dairy | Writing Between Pauses

It's been 6 months since I wrote my post about quitting dairy. It feels like a long time ago, but yep, only 6 months. 

Even though I wanted to be completely dairy free by now, I'm still not. My biggest struggle has been replacing butter; I don't like butter substitutes because while butter isn't the healthiest substance in the world, it's void of hydrogenated oils, which are actually worse for you than trans fat. As well, coconut oil, the preferred vegan cooking replacement, is hydrogenated and actually 82% saturated fat; one tablespoon is 11 grams of saturated fat, and the limit suggested by the American Heart Association is 12g of saturated fat per day. (To read more about how fitness blogs and fake health experts have mislead most of the public about coconut oil, click here.)

The other preferred substitute are basically margarine, most of which contain soy. One brand makes a soy-free version that I would describe as being like eating solid oil. It's not good. 

I've started using olive oil again in cooking (ugh, the most expensive mistress!) and most of the week I use avocado or peanut butter on my toast. But every Sunday, I treat myself to buttered toast (my favorite food in the entire world). 

I haven't had milk in my coffee, not even from Starbucks or Dutch Bros, since around October. That's been a big one for me; I love a creamy Starbucks frappucino and i really worried that the almond milk version wouldn't be as good. But gosh, I was wrong. (Also, Starbucks had a toasted toffee almond milk hot chocolate at Christmas that was truly heavenly.) 

The big question I get is, has quitting dairy helped my skin at all? As I wrote in my blog post on my acne journey, I saw a lot of good results with jojoba oil. (I have noticed a lot of texture on my face recently from my super simplified skin routine, so I've added an extra exfoliation during the week; just something to remember if you want to try jojoba oil!) I still get a little bit of acne related to my cycle, but nothing like I used to experience. 

I've also noticed that if I eat something with dairy (like cheese or a lot of sour cream), I tend to break out almost immediately. Like, within hours. Obviously, this is only anecdotal, but it has definitely scared me from "treating myself." (A few times, I've run out of almond milk and had to use Forrest's 2% milk in my coffee; I regretted it every time!) 

It gets easier to go without dairy as time goes on. I don't miss cheese and milk as much as I thought I would; finding replacements for things (like sour cream) has been pretty exciting. I do occasionally still have a yogurt, as I find it doesn't aggravate my skin as bad as other dairy products.

I'm really happy with my decision to quit dairy. I'm going to give it a full year before I decide if it's something I want to do for the rest of my life, or just try to limit for the time being. 

Why I Stopped Using Nail Polish

Why I Stopped Using Nail Polish | Writing Between Pauses

A few years ago I was obsessed with nail polish. It was my thing. I posted my nails constantly to Instagram, I followed nail artists, I bought nail polish by the bucket load...

I haven't painted my nails in probably 2 years. My nail stamping supplies, which I absolutely loved and hoarded, have gone unused. I will probably resell them soon. A few weeks ago, I went through my massive nail polish collection, which filled an entire drawer in my bathroom, and threw away or donated over 50% of it--closer to 75%. The rest I will probably donate to my husband's school soon, keeping just a few of my favorites. 

It took a long time, but finally, I realized: I just can't paint my nails. I love it; I love how nail polish looks; and I wish I could be one of those people who wears nail polish all the time. But I can't. 

For several years, I struggled to get my nails to look decent without polish. 

My nails are very thin (by nature); I have small nail beds and weak, thin nails that are prone to splitting and peeling. I kept them painted because they were really short and ragged without polish; polish gave them an extra layer of strength, I thought. 

While trying to figure out why my nails were such garbage (despite spending a lot of money on expensive topcoats and basecoats), I started finding articles that suggested that, alongside skin types, there are also nail types. My mind was blown. Aren't nails just... nails? Aren't they the same for everybody? 

No. Just like not everyone has the same hair type, not every has the same nail type. Our nails are as unique as we are. 

The Common Nail Types

I tried to find good sources for all this, but unfortunately, the biggest article I could find was the Daily Mail, which I won't be linking to. This is jammed together from my research (written down in my journal a few years ago). 

There are 4 major nail types: 

  1. Oily
  2. Combination
  3. Dry
  4. Sensitive

You can have oily and sensitive nails, dry and sensitive nails, or just one at a time. If you can wear nail polish for days and days and never have it peel, you've probably got dry nails. (Your nails are also prone to being hard and brittle, however.) If your nail polish peels up within a day or two, you've most likely got oily nails. If your nails seem relatively perfect and you have no idea what these problems like "rigid breaks" and "peeling" are, then you probably have combination nails.

And if your nails react to nail polish by splitting, peeling up in layers, resembling wet paper, and breaking constantly, you've got sensitive nails.

So, I'd like to reintroduce myself: my name is Michelle and I have oily, extremely sensitive nails. 

What Nail Polish Did to My Nails

My most common complaint in my nail polish days was that I couldn't get my nail polish to stay for longer than 3 days and if I took my nail polish off, my nails would peel in sheets, the layers of my nail separating from each other. My nails would get so weak from the peeling layers (which I would file to try and normalize, but it did nothing) that they would resemble wet paper; even if I wanted to use them to, say, peel a label off something or open something, they would just bend back or up. 

It finally got to the point that I was so fed up with my nails, I didn't see a point in painting them anymore. So I stopped. I ignored them. I unfollowed all the nail artists on Instagram because it made me irrationally jealous (why do they get such nice nails and mine can't grow past my fingertip without peeling?). I put my nail polish in a drawer and forgot about it. 

Then I got pregnant and had Forrest. I painted my nails occasionally through that time, but didn't do any fancy nail art, as I had been doing, and I definitely wasn't buying new polishes. I decided to just let my nails heal for a while and, in the flux of having a newborn, didn't have time to paint my nails anyway. 

As I got more into skincare and makeup again, I ignored my nails. They seemed to stop peeling so much. And then, in November, I looked down and noticed them. Because they were long. My nails, which had always been short, short, short... were long. They were so long I immediately thought, "I need to file them, this is ridiculous." I started looking for care tips and applying jojoba oil and vitamin E gel to my nails every morning and night. It made a huge difference.  

But the biggest difference, I've noticed is that it was only when I went over a year without nail polish, letting my poor, ragged nails heal, did they get healthy enough to actually grow. 

My husband can attest to the fact that for the first years of our relationship, I never clipped my nails. Never. I didn't need to. They stayed short naturally. I didn't file them either, except to file the tips to try and reseal the layers of my nail that peeled up constantly. 

When I painted my nails frequently, my nails were garbage. They were bad, weak, and honestly ugly to look at. When I stopped, my nails improved so much that now I actually wish I could paint them. (But I don't because I don't want to undo all that hard work!) 

Am I Sure It Was the Nail Polish? 

When I was explaining this story to someone recently (who had noticed my nails), they asked, "How can you be sure it was because of nail polish?" 

The truth is: I don't know. But knowing what I know about nail types, I have to assume it was the cause. Sensitive nails peel and weaken when they are exposed to harsh chemicals, like those in nail polish. (As a note, nail polish is absolutely safe; I do not believe it is absorbed or dangerous. But for some nail types, it's just not healthy for those nails.) That's what my nails did; they peeled so badly that people noticed and my nails got so weak that I couldn't do anything with them. 

It's possible it was something else environmental, but it's hard to be 100% sure. That being said, I'm pretty confident in my decision to drop nail polish for good from this point on in my life. While it's beautiful, and I love it and wish I could wear it, I also really love having nice nails now! 

Beauty Tips: Why I Decided to Quit Dairy

Why I Quit Dairy | Writing Between Pauses

For the past 6 years, I've had cystic acne. I've tried just about everything I could to get rid of it: expensive skincare, prescriptions from my dermatologist, rounds and rounds of antibiotics, going on a different birth control pill, quitting birth control entirely. The only thing that really made my cystic acne go away was being pregnant--but that only lasted about 20 weeks! 

After trying just about everything, I had resigned myself to my fate: I'm just someone who gets cystic acne. That's just the reality. I have extremely oily skin, some kind of slightly hormonal imbalance (trust me, I've always been down that road of tests), and that's it. It's just a perfect storm. 

(You can read about my other oily skin essentials here.)

However, after getting involved in skincare, I was talking about my chronic cystic acne in a beauty group I'm in. Another member asked a serious question: have you considered cutting dairy out of your diet? 

And here's the thing: I love dairy. Milk in my coffee and tea, hot cocoa made with milk, cheese, mashed potatoes with butter and cream... I love dairy. It's probably up there on my list of favorite foods. I am also not anti-dairy: if you ethically source your dairy products (which I do!), you can effectively avoid any of the most negative aspects of dairy products. 

However, I also know about the connection between severe acne and dairy. For some people, dairy can make their skin worse because of the hormones in it. (And note: these hormones aren't bad for you, but for some people they are disruptive.) 

This was something I'd always wanted to avoid. Why? Because I love dairy. But I'd done everything for my cystic acne: I double cleanse with oil to help unclog my pores (I recently switched to pure jojoba), I use tea tree oil and black African soap religiously, I buy all the right expensive skincare, and I love a good clarifying skin mask. But I couldn't shake my worst cystic acne related to my cycle. 

It was time. I had to do it. I had to cut out dairy. 

Obviously, making such a huge dietary change doesn't come out of nowhere. When Forrest needed me to cut out dairy for 4 days, I cried.

So I decided to make changes small: I started with my coffee. My dairy creamer was out; I replaced it with an almond-based creamer from CoffeeMate. (Note: it's really hard to find low sugar almond milk creamers. If anyone has any suggestions that also don't have that horrid aftertaste from the almond, please let me know.) 

Next, it was the milk I use; I used Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk for several weeks, but Califia Farms is having some problems, so they aren't available in stores now. I switched to O Organics Almond milk and it's pretty good (except it has a minor aftertaste). 

Next up on my list of things to drop: butter. I love buttered toast and I'm allergic to soy, a major component in many vegan butter alternatives. Finding a butter alternative that is both dairy and soy free is taking more research than I had previously thought it would. 

The thing that's been easiest to drop, surprisingly, is cheese. I don't really miss cheese (although the sprinkle of parmesan cheese on pasta is rough) as much as I previously thought.... except when it comes to pizza. 

Here's to hoping that all this work finally (FINALLY) gets rid of 6 years worth of cystic acne. 

Have you dropped dairy to help your skin? Let me know how it went in the comments! 

5 Beauty Products I Love Right Now

5 beauty products.png

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but to be quite frank, I was waiting until I had five really good beauty products that I felt passionate about. I've been very so-so on beauty products lately: I think the more I learn about beauty, make up, skincare, everything, the pickier I get. It's like I used to think drugstore eye shadows were all about as good as it got; now I couldn't be pickier! 

These five products legitimately fill me with such excitement! It's hard to contain, truly. Let's jump right in. 

1. Soap & Glory's Peaches & Clean Deep Cleansing Milk 

I bought this face wash, originally, in a pinch: I needed something cheap, I needed something immediately, and I needed something that would just take my make up off. Soap & Glory is on a list of questionably cruelty-free companies, so I don't want to promote it as 100% CF. However, if you have sensitive skin and want to replace a micellar water that is totally absolutely not CF, it's a good option. This face wash isn't like other face washes: it's more like a thin lotion. I love using it first to remove my make up, then following up with a second face wash or exfoliant. It also smells amazing, just like peaches, and if I use it alone, it leaves my skin super hydrated. 

2. eSalon's Get Lifted Root Spray

eSalon has been such a hit-and-miss for me, but this root spray has been rocking my world lately. I have very flat hair, but also a lot of hair: so the longer my hair gets, the flatter it gets because of the sheer weight of it on my head. This root spray has been making the days I wear my hair down just a little bit more bearable; it lasts my entire day at work without touch ups and gives me just the right amount of volume, without making my hair feel like a sticky mess. 

3. The Body Shop's Tea Tree Face Wash

I love tea tree oil for break outs. It can be really harsh though, so I always worry about using it every day. However, the Body Shop's Tea Tree face wash has truly changed my mind on that front. I use this as a follow up to my Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean Cleansing Milk. Originally, this little bottle was an impulse buy at Ulta; however, I have since also purchased the full size bottle (I just haven't opened it yet). I am obsessed with this face wash. It's done a really good job of keeping smaller break outs under control for the last few months. If you're oily and acne prone, this is the perfect face wash and it's surprisingly affordable. 

4. Ulta Beauty's Rose Gold Palette

When I first bought this palette, I didn't have super high expectations. I just wanted the free gift Ulta was offering that week (it had a mascara and a bunch of other full size products; I can't help it, I love anything free). However, I've been using this palette almost every single day. The colors all follow along the lines of being muted, mauve-y pink and rose shades, with a deeper purple and a gray; the metallic row has a great selection of matching metallics. It's great for creating a monochromatic look. The metallic shades do need a little assistance (I use some of my Mario Badescu Aloe & Green Tea spray on my brush) to really pop, but for such a cheap palette ($16 after a coupon), it's totally worth it. 

5. SMACK! Beauty's Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Serum 

This was a bargain buy at TJ Maxx and I have to admit, I'm sad that I'll have to repurchase it somewhere else now. It was only $6.99 at TJ Maxx, so if you see it at your local shop, grab it. I alternate this serum with my Ole Henriksen Transformation Gel, just to avoid drying out my skin too much. I consider this serum a major contributor to my reduced break outs in the last two months. Retinol is used for anti-aging, but it also is a great chemical exfoliant to help prevent break outs and cystic acne. This was a great addition to my skincare routine! 

My Top 5 Face Masks for Oily Skin

If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably aware that I'm kind of a face mask addict lately. I buy, and use, a lot of them. They're one method of self-care that I absolutely love doing: it's quick, it's easy, and it feels infinitely refreshing. 

My favorite face masks are ones that, realistically, are best for oily, acne-prone skin because that's what I have. In the future, I'll share some masks for moisturizing dry skin or for sensitive skin. But for now, these are my five favorite masks for my oily, acne-prone, dull skin. 

I luckily have skin that, while sensitive, I can try new things with relative ease. I do 2-3 masks per week (exfoliating the day after usually) and have yet to have a serious allergic reaction. That being said, always spot test if you're unsure about using something on your skin! 

1. Tony Moly, I'm Real for Clear Skin 

I love Tony Moly sheet masks; you can find them in surprisingly cheap packs on Amazon. But I usually buy them as a special treat at Ulta (because I get the most points for purchases there). The I'm Real for Clear Skin mask has rice water, as well as some other cool ingredients to help soothe skin that's broken out. I always save the packet after I use a mask and use the leftover serum the next morning; whenever I have one of these masks, I get so excited about the extra serum! 

2. YesTo Tomatoes for Clear Skin Paper Mask

YesTo is a great brand and here's why: they're relatively affordable and available in most drugstores; they're also cruelty free. I love the YesTo Tomatoes line, including the charcoal sheet and mud masks. However, my favorite mask is the standard Tomatoes for Clear Skin mask (the white pack); it feels amazing on my skin and I always feel like my redness is diminished the next day. As with Tony Moly masks, I save the extra serum for the next day.  

3. Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask 

Mud masks are really my favorite type of mask, but they are much more drying than paper masks. They tend to do more, typically. I started buying the Shea Moisture African Black Soap mask in packet form at Target and have quickly graduated to owning a tub of it. It's that good. It has African black soap (duh), as well as tea tree oil: tea tree oil is one of the best ways to treat break outs. I save this mask for when I'm most broken out and in need of some major skin TLC (this usually happens when I neglect my skincare for a few days). If you have dry skin, this is definitely not the one for you. But if you're oily, it's a miracle worker. 

4. Tony Moly, I'm Real for Pore Care 

Another Tony Moly mask, another day. This is the Red Wine mask for pore care. I love how it smells and feels on my skin; plus, the idea of using red wine to shrink my pores is truly magical. I found 10 of these masks at Marshals for only $5, so I have a ton of them to use. I also genuinely think regular use (one a week) is shrinking the size of my pores. Wishful thinking? Maybe. 

5. YesTo Grapefruit for Dull & Uneven Skin

Another YesTo mask! This is one of their mud masks; I find it so soothing and it smells so good (like grapefruit, obviously). I have very dull and uneven skin, with a lot of redness and melasma spots. This mask is specifically for that purpose because it has vitamin C in it. If you need a treat, this is one mask that I think could work for dry skinned people too; it's not too harsh and the ingredients are meant to sooth, smooth, and work as anti-aging tools. 

Beauty Tips: Summer Skincare Essentials

summer skincare essentials

Ever since I started listening to Natch Beaut (which I highly, highly recommend as a podcast!), I have gotten very into skincare. 

I used to be really... lazy about my skincare. But the more I listen to the experiences of others, the more I realize I need to get on top of a good skincare routine. I wanted to share a few of my essentials for summer skin. 

1. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum 

My skin texture pre-Ole Henriksen Truth Serum was... not great. I have really scarred skin thanks to years of cystic acne, plus I have rosacea and some melasma from my pregnancy. Overall, it's not really realistic for me to go bare-faced most days--or even use a lighter coverage foundation. However, Truth Serum really changed my world. My skin texture after 3 weeks of use is totally changed; my pores are smaller, my rosacea is really improved, and my dark spots have faded. I've gotten to the point where I dab on just a little concealer on weekends and go. This is huge. 

2. Source Vital Customized Facial Cocktail

I love Source Vital. I learned about them from Natch Beaut and immediately ordered my own custom cocktail. Here's what is in my cocktail: a base of neroli oil; infusions for acne & blemishes and oil control; and an extra shot of prickly pear oil (for dark spots and pore size). It is so soothing. I use it at night after my Ole Henriksen Transformation gel. I've only been using it about a week, but it has made my skin so moisturized and glowy. If you have drier skin, it's definitely a great way to go. 

3. Coola Suncare Classic Face SPF 30 

Listen, as I wrote on Monday, you need to wear a SPF moisturizer every single day. I recently started using this one from Coola because it's an unscented, cruelty free, available on Amazon option. I wear it mixed with my Transformation Cream moisturizer underneath my make up every single day. 

4. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist

"But Michelle," you say, "how can I reapply sunscreen on my face over my make up?" Because, remember, you have to reapply sunscreen ever 60-90 minutes. 

Well, stress no more! Supergoop! has a setting mist with SPF 50; so when you're out at the lake, on the go, at work outside, or whatever, just mist some extra on your face, neck, and shoulders to get a double dose of sunscreen. It's also super refreshing. Supergoop! is a little expensive at $28 a bottle, but for something to keep in your bag for out-and-about retouches, it's pretty affordable. There is also a travel size if you just want to test it out. 

Beauty Review: Ole Henriksen Balance Skincare Line

As I recently posted on Instagram, I meant to post my review of these products way earlier. I received my VoxBox over two weeks ago. In that time, I came down with the flu, went to the doctor twice, and have almost recovered from the flu (12 hours without a fever flare up is about as recovered as I can expect 10 days on). At least I'm not flat on my back anymore, right? 

So here it is, my review. My review of these products is definitely colored by the fact that I haven't worn make up since I got sick. The number of times I've stumbled out of my house, hair a mess, wearing sweatpants, visible acne all over my face, is pretty astonishing, but very freeing. (I originally planned to post different content this week, actually. But reviews are easier to write on a fatigued brain like mine.) 

Let's start with the cleanser. 

Find Your Balance Control Cleanser

I have a really hard time finding cleansers that I like. I've been using the Beautycounter Charcoal bar since October (when I received it as a gift from my sister, who is a consultant) and I liked it: it removed my make up, it didn't leave my skin feeling covered in residue, it didn't dry out my very sensitive skin. That being said, it didn't seem to give me any benefit, but considering how sensitive my skin is to cleansers, I'm willing to take the bare minimum. 

The Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Control Cleanser smells amazing, first off: it has eucalyptus and peppermint oils, which sounds really harsh, but is surprisingly gentle. It is a more gel-like cleanser that foams easily in water to later across your face. It gives my skin this super tingly, fresh feeling. And the smell. Did I mention the smell? It's amazing. For whatever, it reminds me of the scene in Mean Girls where Regina's face smells like peppermint. 

So how is in on the actual cleansing part? It removes my make up extremely well and I've noticed a significant reduction in the amount of oil my skin produces since I started using it. My skin is less red and I've noticed that a lot of my cystic acne scars are lightening. Those are two benefits that really work for me. 

Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

I have never really been able to keep up the whole "cleanser-toner-moisturizer" routine. It's just too many steps for me. But I was willing to take a chance with this toner. It is not as strongly scented as toners I've used in the past and definitely not as harsh. It has the same clean, eucalyptus scent as the cleanser, but very toned down. It's super gentle and doesn't burn my skin like a lot of toners. 

Ok, here's my important question: does not using the toner throw off the oil control aspect of this line? Here's the spoiler: yes. If I just use the cleanser and moisturizer, I definitely produce less oil than I would normally; however, without the toner, my skin definitely doesn't stay as matte. I tested out this theory a few times. So the toner is an important step and one I'm willing to take because I've literally never found anything that keeps my skin so matte during the day. 

Counter Balance Oil Control Moisturizer

Technically, this is called a "hydrator" (but it's a moisturizer). Like the toner, it has a really clean scent, but definitely toned down from the cleanser. I appreciate this because it means you get that nice burst of scent when you wash your face, but it doesn't stick with you all day long. 

This moisturizer promises to be mattifying--and friends, it's not lying. I've used lots of mattifying moisturizers in the past (my favorite has been dermatologica, but it definitely didn't do wonders for my skin). Since I've used this line from Ole Henriksen, I've seen a significant reduction in my acne which is honestly incredible. This moisturizer also definitely doubles as a primer for me (except on my nose, which I need a separate primer for usually). It keeps my skin super matte, it's a great base for doing make up, and keeps me from getting too dry or too oily throughout the day. I'm obsessed with it. 

Also, unlike other moisturizers which I feel make my skin feel super, super grimy, this moisturizer feels so clean. It's perfect. 

Ok, so that's it. I love these Ole Henriksen products. I'm so glad that Influenster selected me for the Find Your Balance Voxbox. I did receive these products for free for review (you can read my disclosure policy here), but all thoughts on them are my own. If you'd like to follow me on Influenster, you can do so here. Also, if you love this review (and all the other content on my blog), I'd love if you'd sign up for my newsletter by clicking here

Beauty Review: Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette

too faced sweet peach palette

I know there have been literally hundreds of reviews about the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette. But what can I say? I have things to say about it too! 

My husband bought me the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette as a Valentine's Day present. When I say "my husband bought me" it, what I mean is, we went to Ulta together, I picked it out, I bought it. He just happened to be there with me and we pretended it was from him. This works out for everyone involved. 

I've had the palette for two weeks now. What do I think of it? Here are my thoughts. 

When it comes to eyeshadow, I typically use the same colors over and over again. I heavily favor my Naked (original) and Naked Smokey palettes, as well as the Too Faced x Nikkitutorials palette. I usually wear brown tones, with a little glitter or metallic thrown in. 

This palette is definitely a deviation for me. The addition of pink shades was... a little scary. I tend to look a little like I have the flu when I try to wear pink shadows. I find that if I'm not careful, even with these pretty peachy shades, I can look a little like I'm on the tail-end of a multiple day bender. However, I've found some ways around that: using eyeliner or keeping the pinks in the crease, as opposed to over the lid. 

So if that's a concern for you regarding this palette, there are ways around it. The prettiness of the colors definitely took away from that fear for me; these aren't the garish shades of pink I tried to wear in high school, that's for sure. 

Let's talk about the peach scent. I'll be totally honest: the peach scent is lovely, but sometimes in the morning as I'm getting ready, it's just a little.... much. It's so strong. It doesn't fade the longer you have the palette. And it's just so cloying. It reminds me of those scented markers I used when I was a kid. The peach scent is easy to ignore about 90% of the time; the other 10%, I have to set it aside and do something else until it clears. Whew! 

The shades I've used the most so far are: 

  • White peach (a sheer, white color that's perfect as a base color) 
  • Nectar (a shimmery, yellow color) 
  • Puree (a matte, orange-brown) 
  • Summer Yum (a matte, darker orange) 
  • Just Peachy (a shimmery, light, peach pink) 
  • Crushed Peach (a semi-matte, darker peach pink) 
  • Luscious (a shimmery, light brown) 
  • Cobbler (a shimmery, dark brown)

I typically use Nectar on my entire lid, then use a combination of shades in the crease, typically starting with a light shade like Georgia (a pale pink), then Puree, then either Crushed Peach or Summer Yum, depending on what look I'm going for. Then, I usually use Cobbler and Luscious on my bottom lid lash line. 

I haven't gotten a chance to experiment with the shade Bless Her Heart; it's a really pretty, shimmery, military green... definitely out of my comfort zone. I like the plum shades in the palette (Peach Pit and Delectable), but both are very dark and I find them hard to build on. That's a me-problem, though. I do like the shade Talk Derby to Me: it's a shimmery, super dark black. Would be great for an evening, smoky eye look. 

So what's my final verdict? 

I really love this palette, but it's definitely a more difficult palette to get used to. Pinks are difficult. But the combination of plums, oranges, and browns in this palette make it easy to find looks that work and are still peachy and summery. 

If you are sensitive to smells, this also may not be the palette for you. I'm usually not, but the peach scent does get to me sometimes.