Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Budget: March and April


It's a bit early to go over what I've spent in April, I know, but for several personal reasons, I'm absolutely positive that I'm done spending money on beauty products this month. Also, we're finally at the point where my Excel spreadsheet pie chart is showing some different colors, and I'm a little too excited to show that off.

As a side note, please notice that I updated the categories for my spreadsheet. I decided to squeeze June and July in to one category and August and September in to another. Those are four months when my spending tends to be at an all-time low. Why? Well, my partner visits in the summer and takes up most of my time, plus the heat puts a damper on my desire to wear makeup. And while I start teaching in late August, backdated paychecks mean I don't start earning until roughly mid-September. Hence, they've been smooshed together for ease.

What happened in March and April?

During March, I was focused less on beauty and more on my day job. The middle of the semester is almost always the busiest time for me. In the interest of honesty, I'll note that I was also feeling very low for much of that month, which tampered any desire I had to shop. I'm happy to say that I'm feeling better now.

April was a bit more exciting: we had several big sales going on, I started some contract work, and my birthday came and went. As predicted, I received some gift cards for my birthday...but it was fewer than in previous years. For instance, my twin brother normally gets me a $25 Sephora gift cards. He's moved south to teach, however, so when he visited last week for his spring break, we decided to treat each other to Chinese food and cheese curds while we watched Harmonquest. Spending time together was so much more valuable than a gift card!

As for the Sephora VIB 15% off sale: I planned on buying roughly $100 worth of product (after the discount) using mostly store credit and gift cards. Then everything I wanted sold out during the first day of the sale (reserved for Rouge members), and I said, "Well, I'll just skip this sale." Then I checked my candles and realized I'm down to roughly one and a half that I can still burn, so I placed an order for a few things, including a gift for my friend's summer birthday. But did I feel the same burning desire to take advantage of that small discount and load my cart with products I don't need? Nope! Honestly, if I'd skipped the sale entirely, it wouldn't have bothered me. I still have several unused gift cards, and I'll be saving them for things I really want later in the year.

What did I buy?


I made a slew of purchases these past two months; interestingly, I seemed to make most of them at the beginning and ends of each month. Note, however, that most of my purchases in March were done with store credit. I really was feeling down that month.

I placed two orders with Glossier in March: I got more Boy Brow for my mother, repurchased the Coconut Balm Dot Com for myself, and snagged a few of the brand new Cloud Paints. I also used a gift card and some PayPal credit to give NEST candles a second chance (and I'm glad I did) and purchase a fragrance discovery set. I had some store credit from Dermstore from a return processed earlier this year; they were having a 20% off sale and recently stocked Besame products, so I took the opportunity to purchase my first full-sized Besame lipstick. That same day, I bought 4  of the Wet n' Wild Liquid Catsuit lipsticks with cash: 2 for me, 2 for my friend Dan, and we'll hopefully be able to complete a joint review. I went back and purchased 2 more (on sale) for myself in April.

The purchases really pick up in April, but don't get too excited: a lot of what I bought are staples. Notice, for instance, that I repurchased the Shiseido cottons, LRP Toleriane cleanser, and Avon Nurtura cream I've been using for years. Somebody on Reddit MakeupExchange was kind enough to make me a sample of MAC Face & Body in C1. I grabbed another NEST candle as well.

Yesterday was a big buying day for me, obviously, but again, it's a lot of staples. The one product I'd really like to make note of is the Deciem Ordinary Serum Foundation, for which I signed up for in-stock notifications. I'm a little bummed that they didn't release their Coverage Foundation at the same time to make life easy for me, but it's probably a good thing. I can hold off on more Deciem purchases until later this year.

As of today, I have $147.57 remaining in my budget. I plan on buying a number of things during the Sephora VIB 20% off sale this fall, so I want to keep that number as high as possible--but more on that later. I did not return any of the products listed here these past two months, but I did return a Makeup Forever foundation I'd purchased at the end of 2016.

How are my other goals going?


I've decided to do another "Just Don't Buy Shit" month this May. I don't expect too much trouble. I received my second box ever from Influenster, which will keep me occupied for the next few weeks. Also, thanks to my slew of purchases from Friday, I have even more products that will need reviews and a small assortment of non-review posts I'd like to complete. (Look for one on high end candles very soon!)

I'm still keeping track of the number of products I've completed. As of today, I have finished 18 full sized products, 14 deluxe samples, and 27 foils. I've slowed down on the foils because I've been focusing more on larger products and have been doing a ton of patch testing. Still, I'm happy with the progress I've made, especially with the deluxe samples!

My "be less wasteful" goal continues to go swimmingly. I'm still loving my reusable straws and containers, my mini Makeup Erasers are getting tons of love, and my closet and dresser are down to clothing I love and/or need. Actually, I've gotten offers to receive products and write reviews for a couple of clothing companies recently (weird as fuck, given my tacky taste), and I've politely turned them all down. I'm committed to creating less waste and supporting fewer factories with poor working conditions for their employees, which means new, cheap clothes are almost entirely off limits for me. And honestly? I don't miss them.

Last, but not least, contract work and less interest in beauty purchases these past two months has made it easier for me to save up for a trip with my partner. I still won't be able to finance, say, a weekend in NYC, but I should have enough for us to make a few hiking runs or enjoy a nice dinner and some art in the city.

How are your goals for 2017 going?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Return of the Lipstick Diaries #8: Lime Crime Prairie and Besame Red Velvet


This post is proof that I need to stop getting suckered in by flat matte, super pastel liquid lipsticks. Lime Crime Prairie looks great in the tube and in swatches, and I love the idea of a cool-toned, very soft purple-pink in theory. But on my lips, that white base is just way too stark. So far, I've only been able to wear this shade two or three times, and I always mixed it with another color. The formula is wonderful, especially for a pastel, but the shade is a no-go on me. I mean, do I look a bit dead on the left? I do, don't I?

Also, please appreciate the fact that there are no wings on my liner. It's a known fact that when your liquid eyeliner pen dies, it'll be when you've finished one eye and not the either. I managed to salvage it by using a very dark brown liner instead, but damn, Physician's Formula Long Name Liner, you did me dirty.

I feel very differently about Besame Red Velvet, though! I was trying to think of the best description for this color, and the word "velvety" popped in to my head; then I remembered, "Ahahahaha, that's part of the name! I'm an idiot." Red Velvet was made famous by the first Captain America film, where it was worn by the stunning Hayley Atwell (aka Agent Carter):


This is a deep, rich, neutral-leaning-slightly-cool red that would look amazing on almost any skintone. I don't know if I'll ever finish the mini I got in my Besame kit, but if I do, I might be tempted to buy a full size of this one. I'm starting to prefer it to NARS Charlotte, which has been a favorite of mine this past year...and hence, I'm considering purging Charlotte. Also, I'm starting to think this is as dark as I should go with reds. (Charlotte is about the same depth, but has stronger purple tones.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Selling These Four Lime Crime Velvetines


Hey, guys! Just quickly posting these four Lime Crime Velvetines for sale. The Velvetines actually have my favorite liquid lipstick formula, but I don't care for these shades on me. All of these are real and have been very lightly used. The shades are Prairie, Utopia, Red Velvet, and True Love; please look up swatches for more accurate color representations.

I'd like to sell these as a lot for $40 shipped, US only. (They retail for $20 each.) Please do not ask me to break up the lot or ship international. If you're interested, email me at badoutfitgreatlipstick at gmail dot com. First come, first serve. I usually ship within 2-3 days of finalizing a sale.

Thank you for your readership!

Friday, April 14, 2017

VIDEO: Lazy, No Foundation, 10 Minute Makeup


This is what I usually do when I decide to wear makeup, but skip the foundation. Let me know what you use for your every day makeup or lazy look! (NOTE: To watch this in a separate window, just start the video, then click the "YouTube" icon at the bottom right corner of the frame.)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Stupid Little Things: E.L.F Makeup Remover Pen

Stupid Little Things is all about the random cheapies, odd tricks, and miscellaneous things that make my day.

One of the bad shopping habits I've tried to break myself of is tossing random shit in to my cart to get free shipping. This was a regular occurrence for me when I browsed the E.L.F website: not only is everything seriously cheap (few products cost more than $5), they also insist that you hit a minimum before they'll waive their shipping fee. Yeah, you may only want a few $3 lipsticks, but do you want to pay $6 shipping for them? Ehhhh...

There are excellent write-ups on why free shipping is a scam, so I won't dwell on that. Instead, I'll just admit that, several years ago, I threw my first E.L.F Makeup Remover Pen in to my cart to fulfill the minimum for free shipping and called it good. Never in a million years did I think I would fall in love with it.


But oh, how I love it! Honestly, this pen is one of the best cheapies I've ever tried. Did you go outside the lip line with your new matte liquid lipstick? The E.L.F pen can handle it. Does it take you a dozen tries to get your winged eyeliner perfect? The E.L.F pen can handle it. Are you a slob like me who can't apply mascara without slopping it all over your eyelids? The E.L.F pen can handle it. Seriously, this $3 pen has saved me many times when a little mistake could have otherwise ruined a look I took over an hour to finish.

Obviously, it's not magic in a tube. You may need more than one pass to remove a more tenacious product. It doesn't dry down, either, so you'll want to dab the just-swiped area with a q-tip or a tissue. And of course, the makeup you removed has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is the tip of the pen, so you'll need to get in to the habit of dabbing the tip clean on the back of your hand or a makeup wipe. But honestly? None of that is a deal-breaker for me.

I have gone through, I think, a half dozen of these pens over the last several years. I am that faithful. Also, these are now stocked at my local Target, so I no longer have to stalk the E.L.F website for free shipping codes! Similar products cost way more--just try the $3 pen. It's worth it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My birthday is coming up. Here's what I'd like.

These two have both had babies now. Somebody just...just slap a sepia filter on this one.

Despite the fact that I'm a twin with an older sister, I was the first child to leave home. I was accepted to several graduate programs; because I had to pay my own way, I chose a school in the midwest that offered a tuition waiver and a generous teaching assistantship. My parents are the loveliest people on Earth, so they forked over the money for plane tickets and a hotel room, and they both took a week off work to journey across the country with me. Together, we checked out the school, found me an apartment, and enjoyed the temperate summer weather. Obviously, I was bit nervous about starting a new chapter in a strange place, but my parents helped me view it as an adventure.

On their last night there, they took me on a dinner-and-a-movie date. We made the awful decision to see Toy Story 3. These movies are all about toys that belong to a little boy named Andy; in the third installment, he's a teenager preparing to leave for college. The tear-jerking finale is Andy's beloved toys waving goodbye to him as he drives off to his new life.

Oops.

After the movie, my parents drove to the front door of my new lodgings and made no move to get out of the car. Worse still, they were eerily quiet. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Aren't you coming?"

My mom replied in the strangest, stiffest voice: "We're not getting out of the car."

This was it. They were flying back to Pennsylvania early the next morning, and I wouldn't see them until Christmas break. And they were trying to make the separation as quick and painless as possible.

I walked through the door of my apartment and started crying. I already missed them so much that, less than an hour later, I was calling my dad and sobbing in to the phone. It sounds stupid, considering I was going to Victorian literature classes and teaching writing to freshmen, not heading off to war. But you have to understand: I grew up in a very close-knit family, for better or worse, and we had never truly parted. Up to that point, the farthest any of us had gone was to a state school an hour or so away, and we usually ended up back home with our bags of dirty laundry on the weekends.

 Here's a picture from my Graduate Going Away Party featuring my fiance. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that I used to wear jewelry. (I guess he's cute, too.)

It was necessary, though, for me to grow up, and for them to adjust to the fact that their kids were getting older. I called several times a week, I flew home twice a year, and in the meantime, I finished my education and met some wonderful people. Eventually, I came back to Pennsylvania, and I've been here ever since. I figured my family had gotten the whole "leaving the nest" mess of emotions out of the way.

So imagine my surprise when, in the summer of 2016, my brother left home one morning for his new job down south and my mother and I broke down crying. I mean, we had the decency to wait until he'd driven out of sight--we're not monsters--but we were weeping. I think I even clung to her a bit, like a heroine from one of those Victorian novels I'd read in graduate school.

Again, we have adjusted. My brother calls and tells us about how different things are in his new home. He's particularly flummoxed by the accents--apparently, our last name has a completely different pronunciation in the south. And since we're both teachers, I always ask my brother about his students. What are they learning? How are they doing? Are they enjoying class? Did he come up with any cool new projects?

That's my brother's niche: coming up with fun projects and games that will engage students and help them grasp the material. My favorite might be the marshmallow-flinging trebuchets he had them design. ("That was...probably a bad idea. I'm still finding marshmallows all over my classroom.")

What's not my brother's niche, however, is remembering the mundane but necessary parts of adult life. This includes completing tax forms, and for a K-12 teacher like my brother, they can be a real headache. My brother's school district offers him a fund for buying classroom supplies; a few months ago, he'd told me that he'd used up that fund and was "buying this and that" with his own money. Out of curiosity, I asked him if he'd kept a receipt for every classroom material he'd bought out-of-pocket, since these purchases are supposed to be tax-deductible.

"Yeah, I actually added them up," he told me over the phone last week. "Can you believe I spent, like, five hundred dollars of my own money for their project stuff?"

I swear to you, I nearly choked on the cookie I was eating. "Five hundred dollars?! Are you serious? How is that even possible?"

I could almost hear him shrugging. "Science projects are expensive."

I tell you this, my wonderful friends and readers, because my brother is not the only teacher who has done it. Via Facebook and blog posts, I've seen many of my incredible K-12 teaching friends request boxes of age-appropriate books, packages of art and drafting supplies, and donations for field trips or classroom materials. They've proudly shown off posters and activity charts they'd made for their students with supplies they purchased themselves. And while they've lamented ballooning class sizes, helicopter parents, and the weekly onslaught of paperwork, they're proud and honored to help young people learn.

Despite these troubles, most of my friends will tell you they are well off. At least their schools will pay for some supplies, will cap each class at 30 students, will give them access to a computer to update their lesson plans and gradebooks, etc. Others are not so lucky. They work in schools that are falling apart. They teach with outdated textbooks; their students sit at dilapidated desks. Gym class has been cut from the schedule, not because the district think it's worthless, but because they can't afford the necessary rec equipment. When Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (I won't lie, typing that made me die a little inside) arrived at work this past February and joked, "Now where do I find the pencils?", several American teachers were quick to point out that this is something they struggle with daily:


Awkward tweets aside, I want to help teachers across the world. I want to ease the financial burden many of them shoulder and help them provide the best education possible for their students. In my country, one of the best ways I know to do that--besides being politically aware and outright obnoxious--is by encouraging people to donate to Donors Choose. This charitable organization allows you to directly fund classrooms and school projects across the United States.

Some of you have offered to send me presents or products as a "thank you" for maintaining this blog, or to celebrate my upcoming 29th birthday. While I am grateful, I ask that you instead consider making a donation to a Donors Choose project. It doesn't have to be a large donation; even $10 helps. You may certainly make the donation to a school in my area (Pittsburgh), my field (Humanities/Language Arts), or in my name (Renee), but that's in no way, shape, or form necessary. Do you want to help a school near you buy calculators with a donation in your grandfather's name? Please do so!

If you can't make a monetary donation, I understand 100%. Instead, would you consider giving Donors Choose a boost on social media? You can send them a shout out on Twitter, add a link to your blog, post a link to a project you support on Facebook, whatever works for you. Don't worry about linking to this blog or this post; that's immaterial. Just get the word out about Donors Choose. Heck, if you find a project you'd love to see funded, leave a comment here and tell us why you support it. Supporting education in any way you can is the greatest gift you can give. (PS: You don't have to tell me about your donation or your shout out, either, if you'd prefer to be anonymous.)

There's another birthday I'd like to mention. In June, this blog will turn 5. I can't believe I'm still rambling about makeup and capitalism on this little scrap of the web, but here I am in 2017, as crotchety and be-lipsticked as ever. Thank you again for five wonderful years.

Friday, March 31, 2017

FOTD: Besame Victory Red


It's been a while since I've done a stand-alone "Face of the Day" post. There are two reasons for this. First, I don't wear very exciting or unique makeup on the regular. Second, if I'm trying a new product or technique, I'm usually doing it for a review or a specialized post, so there's no need to make a FOTD post outlining what I did for my base or my brows. In short, I'm boring.

But Besame lipsticks have quickly become my favorite traditional lipstick formula. And now that I've used a gift card to buy my first full size tube--a leaning-cool red called Victory Red--I feel like it's finally time for a new FOTD. This lipstick is worth it.

Please excuse the brows, though. I'm trying to use up a deluxe sample, and the shade is definitely too warm for me.


PREP: Youth to the People Kale & Spinach Face Cream; MAC Strobe Cream

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BASE: MAC Face & Body foundation in N1 + White; NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly; Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in 50 Ivory; Clinique Moisture Spurge Face Spray

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CHEEKS: Bare Minerals Pop of Passion Blush Balm in Posy Passion

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EYES: Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil in #3; Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel; Perfekt Beauty Lash Perfection Gel

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LIPS: MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in Basic Red; Besame Lipstick in Victory Red