Irreverent Reviews: Edoughable

Are you like me, are you obsessed with cookie dough? Does making cookies usually not result in a finished product? Do you buy the premade tubs of the stuff, eat the damn thing in one sitting, and then wonder why something that says “don’t eat this raw” has made you feel ill?

Our days of suffering may be over, friends- I have discovered Edoughable!

Edoughable is a ready-to-eat cookie dough company that was founded by people like me, people who just want to eat some damn dough. They have a variety of flavor offerings ranging from the tried-and-true favorites to inventive novelty flavors.

My Valentine’s present to myself was their “Just-a-Taste Box,” (16.95+ free shipping!) two 4-ounce containers with your choice of flavors. I picked “chocolate chip off the ol’ block” and “snickerdude.” They only ship their fresh-made products out twice a week, so I’ve been plotting my cookie dough buying for months, and finally I was going to be at home and with weather that felt safe to have a perishable food item delivered to my porch by the unreliable postal service in my city.

I ordered Friday and they arrived Wednesday which I think is a great turn around time. I was so excited to dig in and try my cookie dough!

You’ve probably already guessed that this is going to be a positive review, I didn’t really frame this post with a lot of mystery. But I will say that when I got my first taste of the chocolate chip version, it tasted a bit sour. Not in a “spoiled” way, but it wasn’t a totally awesome piece of cookie dough. And I was sad.

HOWEVER “snickerdude” is phenomenal!!! Which makes me think that perhaps I just got a slightly off batch of chocolate chip, or perhaps I don’t like the brand of chocolate they use. Because Snickerdude tastes like a perfect piece of cookie dough, I’m a-okay with endorsing this company and am right now, as we speak, ordering another taster box so that I can try their “lady in red velvet chip” and which one?? s’mores? birthday bash? It’s so hard to decide! Maybe I’ll even hold off on posting this review until afterwards!

UPDATE EDIT: I got “Lady in Red Velvet Chip” and “Birthday Bash.” Both are phenomenal, neither has the slightly sour taste “Chocolate Chip Off the Ol’ Block” had.

The sizes in the Just-a-Taste box are smaller than the “normal” sizes (4oz as opposed to 8oz for a standalone tub and the “I’m popular” box) but 4oz is still a decent amount of cookie dough, especially since it is a perishable item that won’t last forever. It’s not a cheap product, but it’s delicious and small batch and I feel better about supporting Edoughable than I do about buying those Tollhouse tubs that don’t even want me to eat them raw anyway.

So this is my endorsement of Edoughable, are there other edible cookie dough places out there? Let me know!

Cleaning Out My Closet

I hate Eminem but I get his stupid song stuck in my head every time I try to declutter. Tonight I am cleaning out my closet!

Every time I’ve moved in the past five years I’ve done a deep clean. Each clean gets deeper and deeper as I become ready to part with more items, and of course I accrue new stuff on the way. When we moved from Oregon to Massachusetts everything happened on a far more expedited schedule than anticipated, and I left two months before Manbeast. Our plans to carefully consider each item before packing where thrown out the window for the foolproof technique of Buy a Lot of Bins and Shove Everything in Them Hooray!

The problem was that then all those things had to be carried up three flights of stairs to our attic apartment, and when we move (hopefully) this year they will have to be carried down three flights of stairs and then who knows what awaits at the next destination?

So I’ve decided to do some serious downsizing, and if I can make a couple bucks before I crack and dump it all at Savers/H&M Conscious then that’s great. Security deposits are expensive.

THE FOLLOWING POST IS ALL AFFILIATE LINKS AND LINKS TO WHERE MY SHIT IS BEING SOLD, BUT MY REVIEWS OF THE SITES AND THEIR USABILITY IS MY OWN OPINION

Ok, disclaimer done, let’s look at our options for minimizing and getting cash:

Buffalo Exchange/ Plato’s Closet/ Local Consignment

Living in Eugene was a thrifter’s dream. Great cash-up-front consignment stores like The Clothes Horse and The Buffalo Exchange were everywhere, and anything they didn’t take you could bring to amazing local thrift stores that benefited the community like S.A.R.A’s Treasures. I haven’t had great luck finding things like that near me. There are two Buffalo Exchanges outside of Boston but both are terrible hassles to get to. I haven’t been to Plato’s Closet, but it is the same idea in equally inconvenient locations.  A local place did open near me but having been in it they don’t seem to do much contemporary dealings, and I don’t own much ugly 80s stuff.

Still, if you have one of these less than a traffic-riddled hour away from you they are easily the best way to sell your stuff. Cash up front, no concerns about shipping, if you’re looking to rotate your wardrobe you can try on stuff while you wait. Selling at the types of consignment stores is my preferred method to unload clothing.

The cons are, at least with BE, that they can be incredibly picky and sometimes snobby about it. They are trying to maintain a certain hipster aesthetic and it can be difficult to sell even new items to them. A pro is that they accept menswear.

ThredUp

ThredUp is an online consignment store that handles all the photographing and shipping for you. Order a clean out bag, fill it up, and send it back with the prepaid label. Currently the order fee is waived, but usually it is $5 to order a clean out bag. I’ve done two cleanouts with ThredUp, one is currently in processing and one paid out a whopping 8.70. Considering that one, just one, of the 8 items I sent in sold for $13, it feels like they were stingy with their payout.

They also make you pay $12 to get anything they don’t accept back. Last time I let them keep what they didn’t want, this time I’ve requested “return assurance” and created a spreadsheet of the items I’ve sent in so I can track what has been accepted.

Not getting return assurance and sending while the bag is free though, you really are only making money while unloading items. And the parts that I hate about selling online (descriptions, photos, packaging) are all taken care of. So that is nice.

They don’t take any menswear or jewelry, but they do have a large selection of children’s clothing. A lot of items are returnable to ThredUp, so if something doesn’t fit you can send it back.

I don’t love ThredUp, but it’s better than nothing. Here’s my “store page.”

Poshmark

Poshmark is… truly born of the internet. Like ebay, you are in charge of creating your listings, but the lack of bidding makes the site feel more like an Amazon Seller Page. But it’s still not exactly that either.

In many ways, it’s an online yard sale for (women’s) attire and makeup. You create a “closet” using their app and display items for sale. You set the price but users can also make their own offers, which you can accept or reject. I tried selling on ebay in the days before I had a smartphone, which meant creating listings was a giant pain. The Poshmark app eliminates that giant painy-ness of creating listings upfront, but they cannot be edited from a computer which makes crafting thoughtful descriptions frustrating (for me at least).

I’m still not sure I understand Poshmark, if we’re being honest. It seems like it is 90% a social networking site and 10% an actual sales site. People leave comments, follow each other, share items, like items… but there doesn’t seem to be much actual buying going on! There are accounts and listings just dedicated to gaining more followers. Well the four items I’ve sold haven’t even been to followers. I don’t care about growing my follower count, I care about growing my customer count! I have 700 followers and have only sold 4 things!

Also there are items that are not “posh compliant” but you can’t tell that by reading their seller guidelines or searching items for sale, you have to hope someone who isn’t an asshole directs you to the year-old blog where they tell you what isn’t “compliant!” Three of the four items I’ve sold were apparently non-compliant, but I found that out after making the sale. Oops. Apparently I have one more non-complaint listing if you count the fact that I’m selling a bundle of ties because they aren’t “womenswear” but I’d fight someone on that. Ladies can be wearing neckties.

A lot of makeup is being sold for higher than retail value, and a lot of people seem to be in this not to clear out their closet while making some extra money, but to straight up Make Money. And there are a lot of silly memes about bundles and pricing and all that shit and it’s like a game but I don’t want to play.

Poshmark takes $2.95 off every order you sell, so if you sell anything for less than $3 you get nothing for it. At least they’re upfront about that fuckery. They charge all users $6 for priority shipping but it doesn’t cost you, the seller, anything. So that’s a plus.As a buyer thought that high shipping rate can make or break a sale. I’m coveting this (non-complaint) listing, but when I tack on what I’ll pay for shipping I’m not actually saving any money not buying directly from Urban Outfitters.

Someone commented “is this still available” next to a listing I posted yesterday that doesn’t have a sold banner. Why wouldn’t it still be available? Is this a frequent problem on Poshmark?

So I’ve sold four cosmetic items. That makeup bag did need a clearing out but I was hoping to move some clothes, they’d be heavier! And then I bought some stuff- good times. I could literally dedicate an entire post to be baffled by Poshmark

I guess Poshmark is easy enough to try but it gets overwhelming fast. Here’s my closet.

Thrift stores all seem to be more interested in name branding than quality. I suppose I understand that online because it’s very easy to search for high end brands. In a traditional thrift shop I’m too focused on finding things that fit and that I like to care about what brand it is. I usually don’t think to check til I’m home. Maybe I’m an anomaly.

Honestly, Amazon is my favorite selling platform but it’s only really usable for books. I just appreciate the set up and the payout, and the ability to select different shipping methods as a seller and consumer. Here’s a link to my Amazon inventory… those books are heavy.

 

 

 

 

Sephora Play: First Impressions

I signed up for Sephora Play because the email made me feel special. Yup, that’s all it takes to get me. I’m also doing better than anticipated on the money thing because I got a sweet tax return. Thanks, Obama!

Actually, I should thank Drexel. The only thing grad school is good for is the tax break, and you know, the higher earning potential.

Enough about me, let’s talk about Sephora Play. This is Sephora’s new subscription box, which sends out monthly beauty products that can also be purchased at Sephora.

So basically you’re paying for their marketing.20160218_223150.jpg

The theme for February was “Now and Later,” described as “lip tips, hairstyle savers, purse essentials […] for looking your best day and night.” Aside from one product I didn’t see much now and later. The majority seemed more… reapply as necessary.

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I liked the box and packaging overall, but the white paper left an unattractive white residue on the darker colored packaging of the items and it was surprisingly hard to wipe off. Mostly for that reason I’m going to just use brand photos of the items as opposed to individual pictures.  All prices are the full-size retail cuz fuck me if I’m going to math out what a sample is worth.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $21

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Woooo mascara. Didn’t even open this.

Lancome Drama Liqui-pencil in Noir, $23

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This is a good, black eyeliner pencil. Unfortunately for good eyeliner pencils and people who like a lot of text in a review post, there’s a lot more to be said about a bad pencil than a good one. I’m not going to run out and become a liqui-pencil convert… in part because I have enough black eyeliner samples to last my lifetime.

They do give instructions on how to pump up the eyeliner drama from day to night by going for a more dramatic wing, so I guess I see how this is a now and later item.

MUFE Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N9 (Copper Pink), $20

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God, I love MUFE lipstick (doesn’t everyone?). They just make such solid, wearable colors. I haven’t ventured very far out of their “my lips but better” shades and don’t own a single full-sized product by them, but they make a damn good lipstick.

Bareminerals Pop of Passion Lip Oil Balm in Plumberry Pop, $16

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Ignoring that something about the name “Plumberry Pop” makes me irrationally angry, this isn’t a bad product. The color isn’t intense, but it’s there (unlike Benefit’s posie balm…) and the forumla does feel creamy and hydrating.

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So here we have the swatches: Lancome Eyeliner, Bareminerals oil balm, and MUFE lipstick

Tom Ford Black Orchid, $45-$165

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This smells great but WTF at the price? A beauty expert says it is a scent for  “the person who doesn’t want to smell like everyone else,” or the person with a lot of extra money. As much as I do like this scent I don’t wear perfumes often and have a huge collection of scents that are rarely worn. I’m giving the sample to a friend who loves this scent though. Maybe I’ll make her write a guest post about her scent-hunting quest.

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder, $12-$27

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Greasy hair by the end of the day? Throw in some dry shampoo! This is the item that seemed most “now and then” to me. I’m keeping it but haven’t used it yet… it had the misfortune of arriving mere days after my first dry shampoo purchase. I’ve stuck this one in my travel kit, but haven’t traveled yet. Hopefully it’s not too hard to apply a reasonable amount.

So overall I liked Play! and am looking forward to March’s box: The Perfection Collection. I’m hoping there’s some kind of conturing product in the box so I can give that a try, I’m too wimpy to commit to a full-size kit!

I would recommend trying play if you like getting a variety of different items, love getting things in sample size, and have someone who takes your cast-offs. At this time it looks like there is a waitlist for Play! There are also no referrals for the program, unfortunately.

 

2016 No Buy

I started a free trial with You Need a Budget today.

Hate the site, by the way. Hours and I still can’t figure out stuff that should be basic. I need a good budgeting tool and I want something with visuals. Recommend any if you have them.

To the point: After linking all accounts I did finally have a big picture. And that big picture is Not Good.

I don’t live paycheck to paycheck, I live entirely on credit. There are some underlying causes behind that, things that will be addressed entirely in my personal life. But there are things that I can do to help this situation, other than pray for a good tax return.

2016 is going to be my “no buy” year. No clothes, no makeup, no shoes, no books. No alcohol (*gulp*). I should put “prepared coffee” on this list but I am Only Human. There is only so much I can do!

Exceptions: I have a $30 credit at ModCloth I can put towards something, and if I run out of an essential item I’ll need to replace that (like if the washer eats all my black socks again), and I can buy whatever if I need it for a gift (I don’t do a ton of gifting). I only shop at H&M when I have a bag full of stuff to donate to their Conscious campaign for 15% off- I had one right before the new year so it will probably be awhile before I get another, but I think I’d allow that.

If people want to buy me drinks, I can certainly accept them. Oh god can I accept them (send me wine). If someone asks me to bring something to a dinner, I can count that as a gift. If we go to visit my parents I have to buy alcohol or else I end up drinking Franzia that’s been poured into a Sutter Home bottle and JFC I still want my life to be worth living.

So what can I blog about?

Well, Blogging for Books and the library are still viable options for acquiring books. I usually get at least one makeup product for my birthday that I can review but even if I don’t I have an incredible backlog!

I’ve been working on cleaning out, paring down, and getting out of debt- those are potential topics.

I have 3 cats now, who are full of shenanigans.

I hate writing about writing but if I make noteworthy progress it could be a post of two.

Pop culture continues to delight and confound, who knows what 2016 will bring there?

I’m graduating in May and hopefully rising up in the professional world- that should be an experience!

I can do some city reviews- nothing too exotic but I’m visiting for friends and traveling for conferences a couple times this year (another reason to save money) and should encounter some fun things.

Who knows! 2015 was all about gaining my footing, so 2016 is the year I begin the climb.

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I thought I’d let the cat title this one. And by “let” I mean “she walked across the keyboard and I didn’t have a better title in mind so hey, whatevs.”

This is the 2016 resolution/goal post no one asked for. But since I do better when I write things down and I’m generating content for this thing at an embarrassing pace, why not put it here?

  • Graduate in May: I’ll be getting my MLIS in 2016 if it kills me, but if I keep my grades up I can finish in May (technically the graduation date is in June, but classes end in May)
  • Apply for better jobs: I still love my job, but I’m overqualified now and will be extremely overqualified once I have the degree. I’ve already gotten a great start on this one: I did 4 applications over Christmas and have two completed cover letters that just need some reference confirmation before submitting. Hopefully I actually get a new job in 2016, but that’s not something I can control. I can control the application process.
  • Read 12 books: That’s one a month for 2016. Far from my lofty “read 100 books” goal of 2012, 12 books seems really reasonable given that it’s what I managed this past year (barely) as a year-round student.
  • Have at least one short story prepped and ready for submission: While I’ve started work on this one, I haven’t gotten it polished nearly enough. My goal this year is not to get published or even to have multiple submissions. It’s simply to finally put one piece out there. Expect more ambitious goals on this front in 2017!
  • Declutter: We’re moving this year. We don’t know where or exactly when, just that it’s going to be happening. We carried all this stuff up 3 flights of stairs and I don’t want to carry it down. Time to do a deep purge.
  • Eat better/exercise more: No fancy goals here. I don’t have to get it perfect I just have to do better than 2015. The bar is low, folks!
  • Finish a novel draft: Just a draft. No editing, no submitting, just putting enough words on paper to tell a long-form story with a beginning, middle, and end.

And that’s the long of it! Hope everyone has some great goals for this year. I’m ready to completely fuck mine up. Here’s to a glorious 2016

Song of the Sea and a Sibling’s Journey

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Have you seen Song of the Sea? It’s an exquisitely animated movie by Tomm Moore, and it was animated for best animated feature at the 2014 Oscars (it lost to Big Hero 6).  I’ll give a spoiler-free plot synopsis, and then warn you before I start to talk about spoilers. You’re OK to read the this first part, promise.

Ben is a young boy who lives in a lighthouse with his sheepdog Cu, his father Conor, and mother Bronagh. The family is preparing for a baby. That night, Bronagh disappears into the sea, leaving behind newborn Saoirse.

Six years later, on Saoirse’s birthday, Conor’s mother comes to the lighthouse to see her grandchildren. When Saoirse tries to walk into the sea herself Granny decides that the lighthouse is no place for the children and she convinces her son the children need to live with her in the city. When Saoirse gets sick, Ben realizes that he has to get her back to the lighthouse, and to the white coat she left behind. But the Owl Witch Macha is also looking for Saoirse and Ben begins to realize that the Irish folk stories his mother told him may be more than just fairytales.

Want a better synopsis? Watch the trailer (which can truly convey how visually beautiful this story is, the animation is no joke):

I cried when I watched the trailer, I cried when I watched the movie. I am a sappy person. I knew I would cry! But something else about the movie really spoke to me, something that I’m not sure was intended, and that’s what I want to talk about.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

For most of the movie, Ben hates Saoirse. He resents her as the cause of their mother leaving, resents the special treatment Saoirse gets, resents that she cannot talk, and thinks of her as the reason Granny takes them away from the lighthouse. He is mean to her, he yells at her, when Saoirse wants Ben to share one of their Mother’s folk stories he tells her the scariest one- the story of Macha the Owl Witch who steals your feelings and turns you to stone.

The relationship between Ben and Saoirse reminds me of the relationship I had with my brother when he was first born, and even though Ben and Saoirse’s journey is magical and full of selkies and sidhe to me it feels like the story of coming to terms with a sibling who has disabilities.

I’ve touched on the fact that my brother has Down Syndrome. We’ve been extremely close for most of our lives, I truly love him dearly. But when he was born I did not have much love for him. I had resentment and I misplaced my anger at an unfair situation onto him. When my brother required extensive hospitalization, I felt like he had managed to take both my parents from. When I was tasked with taking on more responsibility because of him, I was resentful. I saw this interloper enter my family and take what I loved away from me. In a sense I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. It wasn’t my brother’s fault he was born with time consuming and frightening health complications, but 4 yr-old me couldn’t figure out who else to blame.

And being the sibling of a special needs kid you hear just as much “Welcome to Holland!” bullshit as the parents do. And your friends with siblings will certainly have rivalries, but they will talk about how fun and special it is to have a new baby that they get to help care for. They are elevated to Big Brother/Sister. And as a child, you just don’t know how to mourn and understand your losses. You can only see what has been taken from you.

When Ben interacts with Saoirse he can only see what has been taken. His mother, his father’s happiness, his home. Saoirse can see Ben for who he truly is- a little boy with a big heart. Ben can only see the “disability” (which in terms of plot I’m arguing is NOT Saoirse’s muteness but the fact that she is a selkie). But as they journey together Ben begins to see Saoirse’s value as a person. She’s the only one who can save those who have been turned to stone! And Ben is the one who knows the songs and the stories, so he must help her reach her potential- he’s the one who teaches her the songs that defeat Macha and free the trapped sidhe. And when Ben realizes that Conor threw away Saoirse’s selkie skin in a misguided attempt to protect his family it is Ben who puts himself at risk and overcomes his fears (he is always shown wearing a life jacket and hates going in the water) to save Saoirse. When it is time for Saoirse to chose between joining the sidhe and staying with the family, Ben wants her to stay.

There are as many messages and takeaways in Song of the Sea as there are hairs in Seanchai’s beard. It’s a story of family, and forgiveness. A story that tells you a life without sadness is not a full life (better than Inside Out) and to me, it’s a story about the journey of learning to love someone with special needs for their whole self as you move past your anger.

 

Blogging for Books: Owls

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell

This review is basically one big gift recommendation, so sucks to me for not having it done before Christmas so y’all could absorb my wisdom.

In my defense this book arrived after we had left on our trek to visit Manbeast’s family and even though I used it as a gift for him he didn’t get it until tonight.

So this is a first: first book I’ve ever given as a gift, first book I’ve ever reviewed the night I received it!

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Manbeast loves owls. He would agree with the subtitle of this book, they are Our Most Charming Bird. I generally think they are terrifying. But author/illustrator Matt Sewell has charmed even my hardened heart. Each owl is given a short blurb and a beautiful illustration. I usually cannot stand to look at a barn owl because I find them so upsetting, but Sewell makes them look majestic and -dare I say- cuddly.

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The illustrations are seriously gorgeous, and the owl descriptions are factual with a dash of irreverence.

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Manbeast has already ooohed and aaahed over ever impeccable illustration in the book and loved the few descriptions he actually read. This book is a must have for any owl lover.

Owls by Matt Sewell: Our Most Charming Bird Book.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.