Quick update: Finished products, haul, products I’m loving, garden, books

Lately, it’s been difficult for me to blog regularly because of some major home issues (i.e. cracked sidewalk, plumbing, construction) I’m dealing with so here’s a cumulative, condensed look at what’s been going on in my life lately.

Olay body wash, Alba lip balm, RoC wrinkle cream, La Roche-Posay sunscreen

It takes forever for me to ever finish any products since I’m constantly trying new things and switching products up. I feel like if I use a strict regimen my skin gets “used to” certain skincare products after awhile and the products lose their effectiveness, so I like to rotate products every few weeks. But even though I’ve been changing up my skincare regimen, I’ve managed to make a little progress this month by finishing up four items.

Olay Spa Exfoliating Ribbons with micro beads and seaweed extract: I’ve never been a huge fan of body washes. The last one I tried was probably years ago and it was one from Herbal Essences. My complaint with that body was was it was too runny, didn’t lather well, and dried out my skin. No complaints with the Olay body wash, though. It lathers fantastically, has a rich and creamy texture, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry. The Olay changed my opinion on body washes so after finishing the bottle I went to the drugstore to try out other brands. I’m currently using an Aveeno body wash and I have to say the Olay is much better. Like the Herbal Essences, the Aveeno doesn’t lather well either.
Repurchase? Yes.

Alba Botanica Lip Balm in Coconut Cream: Looking back, I didn’t really enjoy this balm. I had pretty high hopes for it; after all, I love coconut! But the coconut scent smelled synthetic and the texture felt slightly gritty. Right now I’m still trying to finish up that Lip Smackers 100% Natural Pink Guava lip balm and a Neutrogena Naturals lip balm. One thing I’ve noticed from trying these three lip balms is that whenever a lip balm claims to be “natural” or “organic” and has a smooth/slick texture, it inevitably has a grainy texture. I think in the future I’ll be steering clear of all natural/organic lip balms.
Repurchase? No.

RoC Retinol Actif Pur Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizing Treatment (Night): I’ve had this tube forever but couldn’t make myself use it for the longest time. It’s very strongly scented and has a lotion, almost runny, texture. I don’t think this retinol cream’s as good or effective as the Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle night cream and the Eucerin Q10 cream.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk: This sunscreen was okay but I wouldn’t recommend it for oily/combination people. This would feel much too heavy on that skin type. I’m not sure why LRP calls this sunscreen a “milk” because it’s extremely thick, creamy, and leaves a sticky residue and oily/moisturized sheen on the skin. I have dry/very dry skin so I don’t mind the oily sheen; it actually makes my skin look more normal-dewy rather than oily. But compared to the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen or their Liquid sunscreen that both absorb really quickly into the skin and don’t leave any tackiness behind, the LRP was nearly unbearable for me. The LRP is also way more expensive.
Repurchase? No.

Olay bodyMissha bb creams, NYC lip stains, April Harvest Berry body splash, Suave body lotion & body wash wash, Alba lip balm, RoC wrinkle cream, La Roche-Posay sunscreen

These are all of the items I purchased and received this month.

I took advantage of Missha’s sale on their Cho Bo Yang bb cream earlier this month. The bb cream usually retails for $45 but for a limited time they marked down that bb cream to $9.99. Plus, if you were a new customer you also received a full-size tube of their Perfect Cover bb cream in shade #23. I already knew that #23 would be too dark for me so I got it with my mother in mind. I mainly wanted to try the Cho Bo Yang which a bunch of You Tubers have raved about. I haven’t tried the Cho Bo Yang long enough to give an in-depth review but one thing I can say is I like its scent better than the Perfect Cover.

There’s a 40% off sale on NYC products at Rite Aid so I decided to grab a bunch of the lip stains. I purchased Never Ending Nude, Persistent Pink, Endless Spice, Smooch Proof, and the limited edition shade Look Book Pink. I’ve only opened three of them so far.

I don’t usually buy bath products from the Dollar Tree but I couldn’t resist the body spray. April Bath & Shower, Dollar Tree’s house brand, came out with some new shower gels, body sprays, and lotions so I ended up sniffing a few of the bottles. I settled on the Harvest Berry Body Spray which to me smells like blueberries. Simple, fruity and sweet. For $1, I don’t expect the scent to have any lasting power. It was mostly an impulse buy.

I received two Suave samples in the mail: a travel size Sweet Pea & Violet lotion and a Men’s Body Wash. Both smell good to me which is quite surprising since I’m usually quite sensitive to scents. Maybe my nose is changing as I’m getting older.

Bonne Bell Blend n Glow (Natural Blush), Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie Lip Balm, NYC Lip Stain (Never Ending Nude)

These three products are the ones I’m loving at the moment: the Bonne Bell Blend n Glow (Natural Blush), NYC Lip Stain (Never Ending Nude), and Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip lip balm.

I finally got around to breaking open that Bonne Bell Blend n Glow highlighting powder that I bought ages ago. I initially bought it because of LisaLisaD1 who raved about it in one of her older You Tube videos, and I believe she got it after she saw macface2adore rave about it on You Tube.

Bonne Bell Blend n Glow (Natural Blush)

The powder’s quite nice. It’s very subtle and gives a pretty, natural looking sheen to the cheeks. In the photo below I actually had to really pack it on for it show up for the camera. Like I said, it’s a very subdued highlighter. I hope you can see that bit of sheen running down the center of my hand.

Bonne Bell Blend n Glow (Natural Blush)

The most surprisingly good product that I’ve used recently is actually this jumbo Mrs. Field Chocolate Chip lip balm that I got from Dollar Tree. I didn’t expect much from it; I bought it mainly as a novelty item but as it turns out I really like it. I actually like it more than the Alba, Neutrogena and Lip Smackers 100% Natural lip balms that I mentioned earlier.

Heed Mrs. Fields' warning: Do not eat cosmetics!!!

The texture’s on the more slippery-creamy side, like the aforementioned lip balms but it doesn’t have any of that grittiness. Perhaps because it doesn’t claim to be “natural” or “organic”?

I’ve been using it at night before bed and I’m happy to report that it keeps my lips moisturized through the night and doesn’t irritate them. I don’t think it really smells like chocolate chips though. It smells more like a smoky, roasted blend of coffee to me. Luckily, the scent is pretty faint and there’s no taste although there’s a bit of sweetness.

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie lip balm

The lip balm contains some pretty moisturizing ingredients like squalane, jojoba oil, shea butter, and sweet almond oil.

Should you run out and get the jumbo lip balm? No, definitely not. I don’t think it’s the best lip balm I’ve ever used. But it’s not bad, and if you happen to spot it in stores know that it’s not just a gimmick.

NYC Lip Stains (swatched lightly): Never Ending Nude, Persistent Pink, Endless Spice

Here are swatches of the three NYC lip stains that I’ve opened so far. In the above photo, I used very light pressure to apply one sheer layer of each shade.

NYC Lip Stains (swatched more heavily): Never Ending Nude, Persistent Pink, Endless Spice

In this second photo, I’ve gone over the swatches a second time with a little more pressure to build the color up for added intensity.

My current favorite lip stain shade is Never Ending Nude. Based on the unappealing brown packaging alone, I would never have purchased this color because I expected it to be a coffee brown color on the lips. But it was the last lip stain left in the display so I got it. And I’m so glad I did! If you’ve been looking for a MLBB (my lips but better) lip stain color and most “nude” stains have been too bold or too red/pink, Never Ending Nude could be the stain for you. Don’t be turned off by the ugly brown packaging! The stain is a muted color with a touch of mauve and brown. At least that’s how it looks on my skin.

I’ve been using Never Ending Nude for the past week and so far so good. It doesn’t dry out lips or settle into my lip lines. Plus, it smells like my favorite Japanese peach gummies.

In the photo below, I’ve applied one light layer of Never Ending Nude on the left side of my mouth only, so you can see the pretty tint it gives in comparison to my natural lip color. Of course, you could also build it up for a darker lip as I did in the arm swatches above. The choice is yours. I keep it sheer because I prefer natural makeup looks.

NYC Never Ending Nude (left), bare (right)

Clockwise from top left: Missha Cho Bo Yang (#1), Missha Perfect Cover (#21), Missha Perfect Cover (#23), Skin79 Oriental Gold, VOV Castledew Whitening (#1), Skinfood Ginkgo Green (#1)

These are swatches of all the bb creams in my stash. Most of the bb creams I own have a pinkish grey tint which is pretty common for bb creams. I’ve heard the pink-grey tone is supposed to counteract the yellow sallowness in East Asian skin for a brightening effect. The only bb cream I have that doesn’t have an ashy tone is the Skinfood Gingko Green bb cream in the lower left which has more of a peachy yellow tone. I’ll try to do a more in-depth comparison soon.

Clockwise from top left: Missha Cho Bo Yang (#1), Missha Perfect Cover (#21), Missha Perfect Cover (#23), Skin79 Oriental Gold, VOV Castledew Whitening (#1), Skinfood Ginkgo Green (#1)

Aside from the Missha Perfect Cover #23, all of the bb creams here would be very suitable for NC20s in my opinion. The peachy yellow Skinfood Gingko Green bb cream has the sheerest coverage — almost like a tinted moisturizer — so it would suit even slightly lighter skin, too. My hands and arms are the darkest part of my body (NC20) — my face, neck, and chest area are lighter (more like NC15) — so many of these bb creams are slightly too dark for my face. I really want to try the Missha Perfect Cover #13 because I’ve heard it’s the lightest shade they carry and it has a yellowish undertone.

my little pepper harvest

This is a photo of my pepper plant harvest. I’m sure you’ve seen potted pepper plants being sold at your local grocery store or Lowe’s home centers. They’re pretty small so they’re perfect for sitting on your windowsill either indoors or outdoors.

I don’t have a green thumb. In fact, I’ve killed many a plant in my day and I actually killed my first pepper plant. Fortunately, the pepper pods dried up nicely and I was able to utilize all the seeds inside them to grow a second crop of pepper plants. Now I have a zillion growing in my yard! I started with the pepper plants in pots indoors but eventually so many sprang up that I had to transplant them outdoors. The peppers shown above are the first of the harvest. Aren’t they cute? I think they look like candy corn. (I’ve also been growing jalapenos.)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Last but not least I’m starting a new book. It’s been forever (i.e. months) since I’ve read anything. I’ve heard great things about this particular book series so I have high hopes for it.