My “Heirloom Extravaganza” dinner salad!
It was delicious and a good alternative meal, as my chicken still hasn’t defrosted yet. XD
Clearing Up - Coasts of Sicily (1847)
This is absolutely stunning! I’m not familiar with the German Romanticism movement (the English cousin is among my favorite movements), but this piece has me curious to see just what the German movement has to offer :D Guess I have a new subject to study next month :D
Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue Cologne Absolue: Top notes of Italian bergamot sourced from Calabria, Sicily work in sync with Italian green mandarin to create an amber halo. The fragrance opens to middle notes of fresh jasmine and exotic cinnamon Ceylon from Sri Lanka, while base notes of African myrrh and Indian sandalwood provide an earthy counterpoint. Full-size, $190
A little bit of this cologne goes a long way— the myrrh is subtle, the jasmine bright, and the sandalwood grounds it together. There’s a note I can’t place— warm and round, very intriguing, but unlike anything in the details above. This is also a long wearing fragrance - I spilled some of this on my fingers, and now my keyboard carries the scent.
theBalm® cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One: This illuminating powder is one of the most flattering blush, highlighter, and shadow combos we’ve ever come across. It combines subtle color with light-reflecting silica particles to give us the peachy keen complexions we’ve always wanted. Wear it on your cheeks, your lids, and wherever you want to add a dose of shimmery warmth. Full-size, $20
This has a subtle, rosy peach color that blends perfectly with my benefit foundation. I haven’t used it as an eye shadow— the shade wouldn’t work with my eye color— but I can see it working well on someone else. And as a blush, I have to say it photographs very well!
My™ Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer: This moisturizer has a lightweight, non-greasy feel and layers well under makeup. It gets its long-lasting hydrating power from patented anti-aging compounds, as well as pili and moringa oils, two potent natural ingredients. Full-size, $68
First of all, this is a GREAT moisturizer. Not only was it extremely hydrating, but it seemed to brighten my skin without adding any shine, always a concern with my aging skin. However smooth this left my skin, there isn’t SPF included, which is something I need in my day-to-day moisturizer. So the search continues, even if this satisfied 3/4 concerns.
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle: We tend to gravitate toward products that have as many functions as Imelda Marcos has pairs of shoes. (Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration.) Beauty Protector’s leave-in mist is about as versatile as they come. It conditions, shields from heat and sun damage, and–of course–detangles, among other things. Plus, it’s 100% vegan and suitable for all hair types. Full-size, $21.95
Alright this was one of the winners of this month’s box— I love how soft & smooth this left my hair, even after blowdrying! I’ve been using Bumble & bumble’s prep product, but this one looks like a much better replacement, especially since I just hacked off a good 6 inches & am trying to protect my strands against damage.
Votivo Candle: To temporarily satisfy our wanderlust and keep our wallets happy, we light Votivo’s tropical-inspired scented candle. The colorful wax reminds us of a prized piece of coral, while the bubbly scent keeps our daydreams of exotic destinations afloat—even when we’re drowning in expense reports. Full-size, $26.00
I received the pink mimosa candle, which is as fragrant as advertised! I tend towards softer scented candles myself, so the tea candle sized sample was the perfect size. Definitely going to keep the sample size around— it is strong enough to mask bacon
Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES: As Mary Kate and Ashley, Simon and Garfunkel, and Mickey and Minnie would probably attest, it takes two to make a thing go right. Enter our latest Birchbox find: Ghirardelli’s melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate squares filled with velvety caramel. The individually-wrapped squares are perfect for snacking, and each is just under 75 calories. If you can be convinced to share, they make thoughtful treats for fellow chocolate-lovers. Full-size, $4.25
Delicious! This didn’t last two minutes in my house, oops.
Late January Box review!
Caudalie | Vinexpert Radiance Day Cream SPF 15: A lightweight day moisturizer with a patented grape-derived compound to reverse skin damage, plus weightless SPF. Full-size, $75
I’m always looking for a new day moisturizer, and this one satisfied 2 out of 4 concerns: lightweight with enough hydration that it improved the appearance of my skin. The price and bare minimum of SPF, however, are considerable drawbacks. Alternative recommendation: Murad’s Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30, $60 @ Sephora
Eyeko | Skinny Liquid Eyeliner: This UK import features a user-friendly pen applicator and supersmooth formula. Full-size, $15
This sample was nearly full sized (.04 vs .07 oz) and came in a nice black color. My sample did not go on as smoothly as others reported— it might just have been an older applicator, but I was disappointed a liquid eyeliner would come out so clumpy. The liquid also irritated my sensitive eyes, which could have also been from an older sample. This was the product I was most excited to receive, and it was also the one I was the most disappointed it.
Juliette Has A Gun | Mad Madame: Turn heads with this provocative new scent. The green chypre blend fuses a metallic-tinged rose oxide with a hint of black currant. Full-size, $110-135
I have to admit, I wasn’t excited to receive yet another fragrance sample with musk. But Juliette Has A Gun was different— this was rock star sultry, provocative and heavy enough to last surprisingly long, but not so bold as to overpower your senses. The scent lingers well. And the packaging was darling— I loved the little envelope it came in, definitely made the scent seem special.
Number 4 | Clarifying Shampoo: Gentle enough for everyday use, this cleanser has a low-suds formula that removes buildup without stripping hair of essential oils. Full-size, $32
FINALLY Birchbox sent me a shampoo sample! I found Number 4 a great match for blow-out prep… provided you follow the directions and get the product into a VERY generous lather. However, after a few days of use, I noticed a dull buildup at my roots, so I can’t really recommend the product for everyday use.
Deborah Lippmann | the Stripper to go: These sweetly scented nail polish remover mitts make changing lacquer a breeze. Set of 6, $12
Yeah this was pretty much a case of “already have a million to-go nail polish remover pads, still haven’t used one outside my house.” While the mitt was a novel approach to removing nail polish and the package was just large enough to remove the polish neatly from my nails… I can’t see myself spending $12 on a product that isn’t that different from a Walgreen’s product. Definitely not the target customer for this product.
Hoping for a lip product in my February box— still haven’t gotten one yet :/.
13 Must See Stargazing Events for 2013
— Listed In Chronological Order
1) January 21 — Very Close Moon/Jupiter Conjunction
A waxing gibbous moon (78% illuminated) will pass within less than a degree to the south of Jupiter high in the evening sky. Your closed fist held out at arms length covers 10 degrees. These two wont get that close again until 2026.
2) February 2-23 — Best Evening View of Mercury
The planet Mercury will be far enough away from the glare of the Sun to be visible in the Western sky after sunset. It will be at its brightest on the 16th and dim quickly afterwards. On the 8th it will skim by the much dimmer planet Mars by about 0.4 degrees.
3) March 10-24 — Comet PANSTARRS at its best
First discovered in 2011, this comet should be coming back around for about 2 weeks. It will be visible low in the northwest sky after sunset. Here are some sources predicting what the comets may look like in the sky; 1, 2
4) April 25 — Partial Lunar Eclipse
A very minor, partial lunar eclipse (not visible in North America) where only about 2 percent of the moon’s diameter will be inside the dark shadow of the Earth.
5) May 9 — Annular Eclipse of the Sun (“Ring of Fire” Eclipse)
It will be visible in Northern Australia and parts of Papua New Guinea but mostly within the Pacific Ocean. See all the solar eclipse paths for 2001-2020 here.
6) May 24-30 — Dance of the Planets
Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will seemingly dance between each other in the twilight sky just after sunset as they will change their positions from one evening to the next. Venus will be the brightest of all, six times brighter than Jupiter.
7) June 23 — Biggest Full Moon of 2013
It will be the biggest full moon because the moon will be the closest to the Earth at this time making it a ‘supermoon’ and the tides will be affected as well creating exceptionally high and low tides for the next few days.
8) August 12 — Perseid Meteor Shower
One of the best and most reliable meteor showers of the year producing upwards of 90 meteors per hour provided the sky is dark. This year the moon won’t be in the way as much as it will set during the evening leaving the rest of the night dark. Here is a useful dark-sky finder tool.
9) October 18 — Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon
Visible mostly in Asia, Europe and Africa, at this time the 76% of the moon will be covered by the penumbral shadow of the Earth.
10) November 3 — Hybrid Eclipse of the Sun
A Hybrid Eclipse meaning, along its path, the eclipse will turn from Annular to Total and in this case most of the path will appear to be Total as there will be a slight ring of sunlight visible near the beginning of the track. This one will begin in the Atlantic (near the East Coast of the U.S.) and travel through Africa. See the path here. The greatest eclipse (with 100 seconds of totality) will appear in Liberia, near the West Coast of Africa.
11) Mid-November through December — Comet ISON
The second comet this year, ISON, could potentially be visible in broad daylight as it reaches its closest point to the Sun. It will reach that point on November 28 and it is close enough to the Sun to be categorized as a ‘Sungrazer’. Afterwards it will travel towards Earth (passing by within 40 million miles) a month later.
12) All of December — Dazzling Venus
The brightest planet of them all will shine a few hours after sundown in the Southwestern sky and for about 1.5 hours approaching New Years Eve. Around December 5th, a crescent moon will pass above the planet and the next night Venus will be at its brightest and wont be again until 2021.
13) December 13-14 — Geminid Meteor Shower
This is another great (if not the best) annual meteor shower. This year put on a show at about 120 meteors per hour and in 2013 it won’t be much different so expect another fantastic show. However, the moon - as it is a few days before full phase - will be in the way for most of the night obscuring some of the fainter meteors. You might have to stay up in the early morning hours (4am) to catch the all the meteors it has to offer. If you missed 2012’s Geminid Meteor Shower, here are some great photo-sets; 1, 2, 3
*The gif is of a total solar eclipse, from this video