31 July 2017

Time for Some Product Reviews

Hiya - I wanted to be sure to get in another post before the end of July.  (I know, I'm getting in under the wire here!)  We are slowly but surely getting back to normal after having to say goodbye to our sweetheart Jetsam, but as all of you who have lost someone know, it never is easy, and there is always the loss.  Thanks for  your kind comments on the post on my other blog. You guys are the best.

How's about I tell you about a couple of things I've used/been trying and what I think of them?  Not that you have to feel the same way, or even give them a try, but I know that I often read what others have to say before I decide whether or not to plunk down cash for something.

So let me tell my thoughts on two products:  Almay Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara, and Innersense Beauty Inner Peace Whipped Cream Texturizer.   There's good news and bad news.

First up:

First let me say, I love mascara.  I am fortunate enough to have long eyelashes that are also quite full (even at my advanced age), and since I feel that my eyes may be my best feature, I like to accentuate them with mascara.  Also, since I wear glasses, I like my eyes to actually show up.  I am not overly fond of black mascara, since my eyes and skin are so pale, it can make me look ghoulish.  (Please note: I do not wear mascara all the time - only when I am getting dressed up or going to work.)

I used to use Almay mascara pretty regularly years ago.  Then they changed the formula and I moved on to other products.  I'm a person who is just as happy with something from the drugstore as I am if it's from a boutique or department store, as long as I like it and it is a good value.  So when I was at the end of a tube a month or so ago, I decided to try Almay again, since two people I know who are very picky had been singing its praises.  I bought the  Sapphire shade because I thought it would be pretty.

I am sorry to say that this product is a big fat NO for me.  First of all, a LOT comes out of the tube.  I tried the trick where you pull it out against the tip of the opening to get some of it off, and that just created a big blob on the opening, and left still too much on the wand.  I tried using a tissue to wipe the wand before I used it on my lashes, and all I got was a messy tissue.  I could probably have lived with that if I'd loved the product, but it was hard to get on evenly, and it almost immediately clumped and flaked.  Plus, after about five minutes, my eyes felt itchy and I noticecd a little burning.  It didn't look nice, and I didn't like it, no matter how reasonable the price point.  Needless to say, your experience may differ, but I was really glad bought this at CVS, where I could return it.  I tried it on five separate occasions, and not one time was I pleased with the result.

Fortunately, my next product experience was a positive one:

(old packaging, which shows up really well)
(new packaging, which barely shows up)

Years ago, I used to get my hair cut and colored at a salon that was uber-organic.  The stylist used this on my hair, and I really liked it so I purchased a jar (back when it looked like the first image).  I really liked it, as it was lightweight, barely/hardly/not really scented, and it WORKED!  Even better, you use a really tiny amount, so though it was not cheap (it was $16.00 a jar back then), it lasted a good long time.  

My hair is S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T.  It's fine and soft, but I have a lot of it.  It has no real body, and so it sits on my head, flat, and often sticking out in spots.  Again, if I'm sitting at home, who cares, but if I'm getting dressed up or going to work, I like to look a little bit more presentable.  I am not exaggerating when I say that over the past few years, I've tried hair products at every end of the price spectrum, and none have helped my hair look nice at all.  I had stopped going to the salon where I got this a few years back, since it is not really that convenient to where I live. And they were the only place in the city that carried this line of products.  

BUT - I realized that I could look online!!  And there it was - in a new container, and $4.00 more expensive, but with the same formulation.  So I placed an order, and it arrived, and to be honest, I almost hated to open the jar.  I was sure that in the intervening years, it had become strongly fragranced, or different in texture.   I needn't have worried - it was only the outside appearance that had changed - whew!

This stuff is great.  It's really lightweight, but allows even my soft hair to look better, and hold a style (OK, I am too lazy to actually "style" my hair, but work with  me here).  You still need just a small amount for maximum results.  And there is hardly any scent ... what is there dissipates almost immediately.  If your head is sweaty, or  has been under a sunhat, you only need to fluff with your fingers a bit, and things look good again.

So, yes it's somewhat pricey for the initial outlay, but I'll easily have this for a year or more.  It works.  Your hair doesn't smell, and people around you are not overwhelmed by some random scent (some of the others I've tried -WHOA!).  

So now you know. Whether or not you even care.  My opinions, for what they are worth.  Let me know if you have any other products you've tried, and if they did/did not work.

22 July 2017

Sad update

Please visit my other blog to see what the title means.  I can't write it twice.

10 July 2017

The Loveliness of Just Being

I have been trying really hard in recent years to be more mindful - especially with time.  Instead of always thinking of the next thing or place, I've been trying to make myself appreciate more the here and now.  It's not easy, as I generally have about 48 different things going on in my brain at any given time.  (Not necessarily big or important things, mind you.)  

But I have actually made a lot of progress, especially compared to when I started.  And yesterday was a perfect example of how nice it is when it works the way you would like it to work all of the time.

Here's the basic breakdown of my day:
  • Got up
  • Spent an hour or so just thinking, relaxing, reading, cuddling kitties
  • Fixed and ate some breakfast, with a cup of tea
  • Watched "CBS Sunday Morning," because I wanted to see the segment about Louise Penny
  • Check e-mail, read blogs
  • Cleaned up my breakfast stuff, and put on my sloppy clothes to do some garden work/sweeping up outside
  • Put some flowers into flowerpots
  • Put new topsoil on the planting areas in the front of the house and in the garden
  • Put decorative rocks in both places
  • Watered everything
  • Took a shower
  • Read a while
  • Knitted a while
  • Read some more
  • Walked to the market for a few things
  • Prepped a quiche for dinner and put it in the oven to cook
  • Read some more
  • Ate dinner
  • Cleaned up dishes so The Tim could wash them
  • Changed clothes to go to a concert
  • Went to concert
  • Came home, washed up, and put on my pjs
  • Went to bed
OK, so that is likely more detailed than you cared or needed to know.  But I did in fact do all of those things.  And the list is kind of long.   Even so, each thing was done with actual mindfulness.  I managed to do each thing on its own, not multitasking, not rushing through one thing because I knew others were coming up, or that I wanted to specifically accomplish x number of things in the day.  Granted, the things highlighted in blue were slightly more easily done since The Tim took a really long nap in the afternoon, so I was completely left to my own devices, but I could have done them as well if he'd been around (he's just a "let's do so-and-so RIGHT now" kind of person).  

I enjoyed my day.  The weather was really nice, so being outside in the garden was extra enjoyable.  But as I was reviewing the day in my head as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that I had been present during the whole day - the time when I was relaxing, reading, knitting, cooking, I was aware that not only was I doing it, but it was the only thing I was doing at the time.  And it felt nice, calming, and nothing felt like a chore.  

Maybe it's was the planets being properly aligned, because I have no delusions that this will be my life now.  But I have to tell you, it was really GOOD to experience just being.  And an even better feeling not to worry that I wasn't also doing ten other things, or planning all the things that should happen next.

In a word, it was lovely.  :-)

(Lake Gerar, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Photo by my niece Amanda)

*The concert, for those of you wondering (and I know I would be), was James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, and it was worth every single cent we'd paid for the tickets!