The Worst Blogger Award Goes To….

ME!

I suck so hard. I meant to take my break from school to make ALL THE POSTS but classes start on Monday and whomp whomp. I have all my Christmas stuff to review (fortunately there are no blogger packs so I’m not truly bound by obligation!).

I’m off to NYC to ring in the new year, see some mourning clothes at the MET, and reconnect with a recently relocated friend from grad school round 1. This will be my first real trip to NYC. I’ve technically been two other times: The the Coney Island Aquarium and to Radio City Music Hall. Not much else. We WILL be avoiding the ball drop/Times Square though. It just doesn’t sound like as much fun.

The last new year’s I spent in a large city was Tokyo. I rang in midnight by falling asleep on the delightful heated train seats (I’d been awake for 24 hours by that point!). I plan to be more excited, though I am far more nervous about navigating the NYC subway than I was about soloing in Tokyo, Seoul, AND St. Petersburg. Don’t worry, I promise to live.

Have a safe and happy new year, I’ll catch you all when I return in 2015!

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Let’s Talk About Pets!

I am never sure what pieces of my personal history have been divulged here before and fear getting repetitive. That said: do we all know that I worked in a pet store for 7 years? It was (is) a great mom and pop place, specializing in fish and small animals. I was hired on personal recognizance (I practically grew up within the stores walls, they’ve been in business as long as we’ve been alive and weekend trips to the store with my dad were so frequent its not even a special memory, just a routine blip in my childhood). I show up to visit the mostly unchanging staff from time to time and am usually put to work helping customers, working the register and catching fish, all to the bewilderment of the customers. My very first guinea pig came from this store, and most of my treasured fish did as well.

And I know we’ve established that I have a bizarre co-dependent relationship with my cat.

I know animals. I love animals. I am a pain in the ass to go to pet stores with because I actually give people advice, recommend products, and try to use my charm on the salespeople who never let me catch fish because “company policy” and “liability” and hey I’ve never actually been banned from a pet store which is pretty impressive.

I’ve also been That Kid, asking incessantly for puppies, kittens, and ponies to appear with big bow collars, frolicking underneath the Christmas tree.

I get it, pets are such special things and parents usually (and wisely) do not give in the second a kid expresses interest in an animal. I think a lot more people would have tarantulas if that were the case (those fuckers are IMPOSSIBLE to box up, btdubs).

My bottom line here is that I do not discourage gifting pets at the holidays (and birthdays). I am 100% against the gifting of live animals at the holidays (and birthdays).

Well how does that work?

So here’s the thing, once your responsible adult ass has decided that your family is ready for a critter, done their research, and decided to take on responsibility if their child proves incompetent (as, honestly, most children are through no fault of their own) or looses interest.

If you’re one of those people who thinks letting an animal starve together to teach your kid a lesson is an ok thing to do, get the fuck of my blog and never come back, because you are a useless piece of shit and I don’t want to count you in my readership.

Holidays are stressful for people. The hustle, bustle, flurry, and often times transport of an animal who is just meeting you for the first time is also stressful and can have serious consequences for their health. Nevermind if you have to hide the animal somewhere like say, a basement (as a woman at petsmart with me  the other night was contemplating).

What you can (should) do is gift your kids the stuff: a book if it’s animal they’ve shown interest in but don’t know much about, the appropriate necessities to care for the animals, get the whole fancy set-up and no animal. Leave a note: from Santa, from Jesus, from your plush little Gestapo, from yourself- whoever it is doing the gifting in your household. Explain that you’ve got the stuff, and you can go together to pick out a new friend to use that stuff with. Pick a responsible time to go, like after the holidays if you’re traveling a lot, or when the weather warms up if you’re too poor to pay for heat cuz your electrict company is morally bankrupt. Maybe, as the lady wanting to stash a pair of guinea pigs in her in-laws basement, you want the “presentation” of some live and confused animals under the tree Christmas morning. It’s not worth making the animal sick (an upper respiratory infection is a big deal in a small animal!) and kids love getting to actually pick out there own pet so I doubt they’ll be too upset if that cage is empty as long as the promise is fulfilled.

Even “decorative” living things can require a lot of care (hellllo plants!), and animals can feel a lot of different emotions, emotions that can affect their health and ability to bond with your family. Err on the side of kindness, and make good choices if you decide to gift a pet!

Always Stays the Same

Nothing ever changes. ( English Summer Rain, seems to last for ages)

As we should all know by now, when I’m not taking blurry phone pics of makeup swatches, I work with old stuff. A lot of the old stuff I end up working with is old newspapers, but I also deal with yearbooks, letters, photos, etc. If it’s old, I’ve touched it. My current job generally focuses on old stuff in a specific bubble. I’m at an academic archive so we’re dealing with things that relate directly to our host school. Recently, we received a new special collection from a politician who is also an alumnus. Included in his files are constituent letters, of which I’ve processed ones from the early 2000s. And wow.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Accusations lobbied at Bush are identical to the ones being thrown at Obama (well, save for that “birther” bullshit). Language used in regards to abortion, gun control, and immigration? Identical. Black out the dates and identify events (such as the DC sniper shootings) and I would not be able to tell you what year these letters were written!

The right to bear arms is frequently cited.

From Tee Jay Tiger’s Deviant Art page

I frequently feel the same way when reading the old newspaper articles. I think there was more honesty in journalism at the beginning of the 20th century, but in terms of topics and the way the issues are presented?

If I were to show you an eight page spread of the best holiday gifts, advertisements for extended store hours, and editorials bemoaning the commercialization of Christmas, what year would you think they belonged in? Would you guess WWI era? (each word is its own link)

Seasons Greetings? Why, that’s something only politically correct ninnies say! Or people in the 1920s, whichever.

Our “divisive” political system with no middle ground? 2001, 2014, and also 1900.

A friend once asked the question “Percentage wise, is there more evil in the world today than there was 200 years ago?” At the time the question was asked it was something I pondered and went back and forth on. Now when I think of it I just scoff. There is exactly the same amount of “evil” in the world because nothing. ever. changes. And that sounds like hyperbole, because of course things change. We have cars now, women can vote, we don’t have segregated water fountains, the computer I’m typing this on was once an absurd piece of unattainable science fiction. The world certainly hasn’t remained stagnant, but on some deeper level, I don’t think people realize at all how little we’ve progressed

A Very Irreverent Guest Post: Lancome’s Face Chinchillas

This is a very special guest post from my BFF, she says about herself: I am an imposter who may never again (or at least very irregularly) guest-post on Irreverent on the Internet. I am late to the makeup game, like several decades late. If this post IS somehow relevant to you, go bother Irreverent, and Irreverent can bother me about answering questions or writing more on other topics later.

She also posed with a snake for her wedding photos, because she is a BAMF and we’ve been friends for 8 fabulous years. Here is her guest post about Lancome’s Nude Miracle Foundation

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I got a sample of Lancome’s “Nude Miracle” (which is a stupid name, I think, as there are no literal transfigurations or virgin births happening, but then most makeup has stupid names). Lancome is an expensive (“luxury”) brand, so I was interested in trying out the product regardless of whether I was in the market to buy. This is the same for me and eye creams, by the way. I don’t use them and I don’t want samples, unless it’s made of gold and caviar, and then I’ll try it just to feel like the 1% for 75 seconds. Lancome would have you believe this is an “ultralightweight, liquid-to-powder formula foundation that provides light to medium coverage and a natural matte finish,” and that it uses “groundbreaking soft-focus technology [that] blurs imperfections, absorbs oil, and blends seamlessly for a second-skin, no-makeup look.” Then the Sephora summary gets into WACK-ASS MATH: “The revolutionary liquid-to-powder foundation formula is 25 times lighter than traditional powder and contains special raw materials to absorb oil. It is so comfortable that 100 percent of women tested forgot they were wearing it.”
So needless to say I was a little skeptical, but again, I don’t buy makeup very often, so I was going to try this fancy liar on anyway. Look, how did they measure “lighter than powder”? What kind of powder? Meth? How on earth did they get “100%” of women to agree? Was it just one woman? Probably. Did she really forget, or did they ask her to apply and then hand her a Great Pyr puppy so that there was nothing on her mind besides puppppppppy toooooooooes?
Anyway, none of the sample shades came anywhere close to my actual face shade, but the texture was cool. It looked very oily and slick in the foil sample, so I made a lot of “ew, but I will sacrifice myself FOR SCIENCE” faces before actually putting my finger in it and then touching it to my face. But the texture was like velvet, as a short-lived liquid! It didn’t feel oily on my face. And it dried to powder in mere seconds. My unscientific estimate (or guesstimate if you know that fakeword from your elementary school word problems math homework) was that it took about three seconds of gentle blending with fingertips to get it powderified.It also looked powder-matte on my face. (And odd, again, because it didn’t match my face shade. No pics.) But smooshing it around on my face was very satisfying as a texture, and the coverage was light-medium, which is about what I’d be looking for in a foundation. I think people with dry skin would definitely want a high-quality primer to keep in moisture and prevent fine lines. As a t-zone product for my normal-oily [or dewy, LOLLLLLL] t-zone it was a fun and easy thing to apply. It felt like my actual skin ten seconds after applying, instead of my usual sensation of AUGH THERE’S A SECOND FACE ON MY FACE, and it was a very nice thing to apply liquid and blend and have it powderify on its own, with no next-step-powdering for matte finish needed. It’s easy to over-powder after foundation and end up alarmingly matte or caked, and this product takes that risk away. I did not blend blush or highlighter on over it, nor did I play with concealer on top of it, because I had important (wine) priorities, but I think cream products would play nicely on top of it, and a gentle hand with powder products would work too.

If there was a shade that matched me perfectly, I’d consider plunking down the [ludicrous, Lancome!] amount of dollars to get matte, even skin for days when I am doing presentations or facing photography at work. We’ll see if I’m motivated to test out other shades when I’m near a store over the holidays, because dog knows it’d be expensive to guesstimate a shade and order/return/order/return via the internet from my ruralish home.

This conversation took place before I badgered her into a guest post. Please note that while Irreverent on the Internet does endorse rubbing chinchillas on your face, we request that you stick to locally grown, fair trade, ALIVE (or vintage) chins for your face buffing needs. And always make sure you have your chinchillas consent… because if you don’t they will pee on you.

The Icing on the Nails (and the Sidewalks)

I hope you all are someplace warmer and drier than me! I thought I was going to die trying to get to me car this morning. It’s raining and then freezing. By the time I realized it wasn’t safe to go out, I also realized we couldn’t get back into the house. We might be sleeping in the car tonight. I regret not giving my cat more food this morning.

But this isn’t about the weather, this is about our nails. More specifically, Jamberry Nails. A friend recently hosted an online party for this direct-sales brand, and I actually had a lot of fun. I hadn’t intended to buy anything, as nails wraps had never really interested me previously (and “wrap” still feels like a misnomer…). The party itself ended up being a lot of fun (I am secretly a sucker for these kinds of parties) since it mostly focused on judging the different nail designs, and god knows I love judging!

I hadn’t intended to buy anything, but they had a couple of really cute reindeer patterns so I got those, then found a cute pair of art-deco reminiscent nails that I’m planning to wear to a speakeasy themed party in April, and at that point I get get my fourth pair for free so why not snowflakes?

They arrived quickly, and since I have the manual dexterity of an over-caffeinated toddler I was afraid that my application would not go so smoothly. There is a learning curve, my nails are a little bit bumpy from where I failed to get out air pockets and I didn’t do the greatest gob trimming the right hand. They recommend using a special nail heater or a blow dryer to get the nails to be pliable. I used the blow trying at first but then went to make tea and had the brilliant idea to use our (electric) stove burner, which was fabulous. While I’ve had to do some touch-up trims they are still on my nails and they overall look passable. Certainly better than when half my finger is covered in nail polish! I assume that I can only get better with practice. I did need to trim the sides some. I apparently have very small, narrow nails.

These will never completely replace nail polish for me (I like chipping it off, what can I say?), and they won’t replace the once-yearly manicure I get for pampering purposes, but they are great for the more intricate designs I can’t do on my own and can’t afford to have done regularly. I’ve also had problems with nail color transferring onto documents I’m working with (even with a top coat!) and I’m glad to eliminate that problem with these wraps.

If nail art is your jam (pun intended) or you need a gift for someone who is really into that kind of thing, I would recommend checking out there designs. The application kit in general looks like a great gift for someone who cares about their hands.

So while this has been my honest and unsolicited review (I like them, they have some cute patterns, they would make a decent gift) I do want to point people to my consultant’s page if they’re something you’re interested in trying. If you do buy, you can select “Hannah’s Party” as your hostess, or pick an even more random stranger if that’s a thing that would tickle your fancy! They even offer subscription boxes, if that’s something that tickles your fancy (I resisted the urge to make two “jam” puns in one post). Here’s the link and when I get home I’ll upload a picture of my own nails.

Deers and more deers!

Treat Yo Self!

Now that the biggest stressor in my life is “which type of cookie to bake first” (I’ve made a pros and cons list…) I can return to feeling like a semi-normal human being (haaaaa). This means that Tuesday I attended my kickboxing class for the first time in two weeks. It felt so good on all my stiff muscles after being stuck sitting for pretty much the entire month of November.

Exercise day is also the one day I really go all in and treat myself. It’s the only time I ever shower in the evening and I love having the extra time to really just indulge.

The first product I love for this sort of thing is Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle. This post-workout shower is the one time a week I deep condition my hair (more frequently and it gets oily). This makes me hair soft and smooth and completely manageable til the weekend. It really is a miracle. This is the only hair product I use, I only shampoo once a day, and I add a little extra moisturizer in the morning but when I deep condition it’s all I use.

While I’m waiting those three minutes, I use my Satin Hands conditioner and smoothie scrub. I’ve talked about my general dislike of Mary Kay products before, but these two components of the (3 part) Satin Hands set I really like. I then just use whatever lotion on them, because the hand creme itself is interchangeable with a lot of hand creams. (My personal favorite is TokyoMilk Dark). This also only happens once a week, though my hands could use it more. I’m just lucky I no longer have a job that gives me hand eczema in the winter! If you’re interested and need a consultant, message me and I can recommend mine.

In addition to whatever body wash I got on sale, I use the exfoliating loofa soap from OHWTO, mine is still pink gingerale scented and especially now that winter is drying everything out, it feels extra wonderful to use! I really like it for my feet, thighs, and elbows.

I was my face using one of my favorite products ever, Neutrogena’s night time make-up removing face wash (even though I don’t bother with makeup on exercise days). I think the product has been discontinued though, which happens every time a large brand name makes a product I want to use repeatedly and exclusively.

Post shower my hair is so easy to brush out, which is just incredible. I spritz my face with some argan oil (which makes the perfect light night moisturizer for my skin). I don’t use lotion after my post-workout shower, instead I use a muscle rub from Naturulz. This was a fairly local company back when I was in Oregon and they sold the product at my old job, so I was able to nab an otherwise pricey tub when it went on sale. It really does help my sore muscles and joints, though I wonder if it’s not the rubbing involved in application increasing circulation as opposed to any particular ingredient. This is a fairly oily product, which is why I don’t pair it with a proper lotion. It does absorb quickly and fully though, which is much appreciated. It truly changes from solid to liquid depending on room temperature and skin contact!

 

I wanted to include the “Treat Yo Self!” clip from Parks and Recreation but none of them are set to embed!

After a long day, what are your favorite ways to unwind and pamper?

Whomp Whomp

I hit 34k and then the finals happened and my days got away from me. I lost NaNo. But, I finished my first term of grad school (round two!) so you know, that’s not such a bad thing. If only December were National Novel Writing Month! With the term over, I totally would have the time to dedicate to my creative pursuits. I do have to spend some time getting my Maid of Honor on, and we need to pick a date for Fishmas (and I need to buy Fishmas cards from Concertina Press!).

It warmed up enough here that we were able to scrap all the snow and ice off our driveway after we came back from visiting Manbeast’s parents in central NY (where they had more snow, but also more power than my parents a mere hour north).

Thanksgiving really drives home what a strange year it has been.

I love my job so much more than the one I had in Oregon, but moving back to New England feels like a failure of everything I worked for, and I miss the culture of the PNW.

I don’t like grad school, but I am grateful to me in a well-received, accredited program that will help me advance my career.

I lost two of the people who matter the very most to me, and have still not moved on from that.

I’ve got this full month off though, so I’m hoping to get back into tending this little topiary with a more consistent regularity  (I went HARD on the black Friday sales!) and otherwise enjoying things before the new year comes and things get hectic again.

I hope everyone is in some kind of holiday spirit, even if it’s just the spirit to eat cookies!