Does the pandemic have a fun side?

Sometimes I am reminded of my age— when I think of those summers of my girlhood circa the 1980s, when Pennsylvania experienced temperatures that averaged in the high seventies/low eighties and for about 2 weeks every August a heat wave of around 85 degrees.

It also snowed a lot more, and I can’t say I miss that.

Now I won’t be naive enough to suggest this pandemic has been fun. Some people have gotten seriously ill, others have died. Luckily in my circle, those who contracted Covid-19 survived and none ended up in the hospital.

But as I said in the beginning of the pandemic, the Coronavirus has forced us to look at our health system, our purchasing habits, our supply chains, what we need and what we don’t. I have found a more relaxed pace of life, and while I have lost my job, I have found some inner truths that bring me hope. Perhaps that is where my naïveté lies.

Yesterday, I had a business meeting with my first client as a partner in Thrive Public Relations. Thrive is the brainchild of a friend— who has been searching for someone with media, print and editorial experience to complement his digital marketing, strategy and networking expertise. I have agreed to help him, and hopefully this will lead to some paying work that could help keep me afloat and allow me to rebuild my career portfolio.

I spent much of the last year as a grant writer, and would love to highlight some current public relations work to augment my grant writing potential.

So I was asked to attend a business lunch at Sogo Asian Fusion yesterday in one of my favorite environs, downtown Easton. I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the 95 degree heat, dining on the patio. It felt lovely to build an outfit, put on make up and head into the world.

Then later that evening, my propensity for stress-related binge-eating led to me eating most of a jar of “trail mix” — I put that in quotes because it had walnuts and almonds but was mostly butterscotch and white chocolate chips— that my blind friend Nancy gave me for Christmas. I had it on my desk at work and it was one of my possessions that Mr. Accordion drove to my house.

The teenager doesn’t like almonds. So she gave them all to me.

And then my daughter cornered me. She started reciting old bits from Brian Regan, one of my favorite comedians (from the golden age of the early 1990s, before I graduated high school and Nirvana changed the world).

Finally she got tired of her delivery falling flat and we spent an hour watching Brian Regan clips from YouTube on my phone. I grabbed a Diet Coke and finished the rest of the vanilla vodka from County Seat Spirits.

The teenager’s father, my husband of 20-years whom I separated from last summer, does not like stand-up comedy. But a good stand-up comic (like Regan, or Trevor Noah, or for those who have thicker skin and/or less sensitivities Denis Leary and George Carlin), can lift my darkest spirits. So I love the fact that our daughter inherited my taste in comedy.

And when I got up this morning, as mundane life started to overwhelm me with chores and commitments, Nan called.

The Mighty.com had published her piece on our summer picnic and shared it with Yahoo News. It features me, and the teenager, so I got to enjoy reading about my life.

You can read it here: Nan’s summer picnic article on Yahoo News

So maybe life doesn’t look the same as always, but the simple joys don’t really change.

Practicing on Lips: My Ipsy June 2020 Glam Bag

Well, if the pandemic’s been good for something it certainly has given me the opportunity to experiment with some of the samples I’ve received in my Ipsy Glam Bag.

Today I wore the Maëlle Clearly Brilliant Tinted Lips in “Nectar”— which I say looks orange and the teenager says “it’s lip tint, Mom, it will look pink when you put it on. It will look good on you.”

I liked it. Not as thick and sticky and messy as lipstick and leaves a nice color on the lips.

The essenHERB tea tree foam cleanser was an add-on item I bought for $3. After a lesson in how to contour from the teenager, I went to show her how to use bronzer. Except I grabbed the highlighter and plastered that all over my face.

So that cleanser came in handy. I washed my face and didn’t think anything of it until I realized that my skin was abnormally soft.

The teenager touched my face and agreed.

I bought Sugar eyeliner for the teenager and she really likes the dainty pen and the ease of control. Again, a $3 add on.

The other lip gloss I also purchased because it looked like a really pretty purple-glittery color.

The highlighter powder went right into our unopened container for future use as I still don’t “get” how to use highlighter and I have one with my bronzer.

I bought a set from Ipsy last month.

The nail polish I tossed in my nail polish container. The lotion I gave to the teenager.

Product review: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture CC Cream Correction Leave-In

The name of the product takes up most of this sample product I purchased from Ipsy.

As someone with curly hair, but not super tight curly hair, it’s a delicate balancing act between coaxing out natural curl and having frayed, frizzy hair by the end of the day.

I’m not a big fan of product, but with this hair something has to keep it together.

As one hair dresser once told me, natural curls are very dry and they get frizzy when they are thirsty and reaching out for moisture.

I didn’t realize I had curly hair until my late twenties because I had always brushed/combed my curls out without even realizing they were there.

So the name of this product intrigued me. It was part of a sample duo and I haven’t tried the other yet.

Now hair product can be expensive, and I’m sure I would cry if I saw the full price of the non-sample product. And hair can be picky. So this sample is a great way to test something I would otherwise not even try.

After my shower last night, I massaged some into my hair and I automatically felt a difference in how my hair air dried. It did seem to retain some shape.

I bathe in the evening in an attempt to keep allergens out of my bed, so by morning my hair is usually frizzy and thirsty.

This morning I had some wavy and shapely curls, especially surprising since my daughter gave me a very short haircut earlier in the Pandemic.

I usually wet my hair in the morning. Today proved no exception.

And I added more of the cream. Overkill indeed, but might as well.

I have high hopes.

No make-up, but have bird

May 2020 Ipsy Glam Bag

So today my May 2020 Ipsy Glam Bag arrived— and I have to say that the special add-on I purchased for the teenager was more exciting than my goodies.

Huda Beauty Sapphire Obessions

This eye shadow palette came with a full set of make-brushes. The colors are fairly true to what you see on the cover. The teenager’s school colors are blue and gold, plus who doesn’t love a good splash of glitter.

But the glam bag… I’m not impressed with the color scheme of the actual bag. The brush from FARAH is a blending brush and has a lovely soft texture.

The Benefit Roller Lash mascara I’m not going to open right now because I recently ordered black mascara that came with my last bag.

Same story with the AutoBalm Day2Night eye shadow — the color is fairly identical to not just one but two of the recent colors sent. So I will also save this until I use the earlier product. Good news is, it’s one of my favorite eye shadow colors, a neutral bright beige with some shimmer. Hides my tired eyes.

The Moroccan Magic Maruka Honey Lip Balm will also remain sealed as I’ve gotten lip product in every Ipsy bag and don’t leave the house enough to need an extra in my purse. I’m not even sure where my purse is.

So that leaves the Soroci Spot-Light Eye Cream. Which I am actually excited about trying. I’m old— my under eyes could use some firming.

I put some on and it feels good. Only time will tell if it makes me any younger.

Here’s the video the teenager took of me unboxing my treasures: Unboxing May 2020 Glam Bag

And I decided to use this month’s bag to store unopened cosmetics and store it in our cupboard so that if the teenager and I need something we have it in reserve.

Review of my Ipsy April 2020 Glam Bag

My April 2020 Glam Bag came yesterday and the teenager and I did an unboxing video (that features more kittens than make up) here:

April 2020 Glam Bag by Ipsy unboxing

For those of you who don’t know, Ipsy offers a mail order cosmetic subscription “box” that, in the small “Glam bag” size offers a custom make up bag and five items, one of which is usually full size and the others are samples. It costs about $12/month. And they offer add-ons.

I treated myself to a mascara this month.

This service is perfect for me as I have a bit of fear and inexperience around make up. I want to try more, but don’t have money to invest in products I will probably not be ballsy enough to use.

So this allows me a chance to explore.

This is literally all the make up I own before Ipsy. (I love blue mascara. Would love forest and/or emerald green but haven’t found it.)

My go-to eyeshadow is gold, with a touch of red on the outside. I call it my “Monet sunrise” look.

This was last month’s Ipsy bag.

See related posts here: Lighthearted Ipsy Review of the March 2020 Glam Bag

My first Ipsy Glam Bag—pre-unboxing

So now to check out the April products:

  • Buxom mascara, black, $3 add-on, 3 ml
  • Seraphine botanicals 100% vegan lip gel, berry + juice, 6 ml
  • Aromatica Calendula Juicy Cream, vegan formula, sample size, maybe 15 ml
  • Oryza Beauty Nude Shimmer & Contour eye shadow palette, vegan
  • Estate Dew Me Lit baked highlight powder
  • Araceli Grande Blending Brush

Let’s start with the Aromatica lotion. Now, if you saw my video, you’ll know I tried it as soon as I got it. I didn’t notice anything remarkable about it at the time, but today I’m going to try again.

Smell appears neutral. That is good for me as my skin and my senses can’t handle heavy scents.

Applied quickly and smoothly.

But let’s compare to last month’s Hey Honey lotion.

The honey smell is intoxicating. The lotion this month by Aromatica is thicker and offers more coverage. So I think I like them both. But would use the Aromatica for hands and maybe Hey Honey on the face as it claims to be a calming lotion.

I put a layer of the Hey Honey lotion on my face, and I might have rubbed it in roughly as now my cheekbones hurt. I’m going to put on some of last month’s Tarte Quench hydrating primer. I love this hydrating primer but it’s my first experience with any primer so don’t take my word as gospel.

Now, the Seraphine lip gel smells amazing. (Why do I keep commenting on smells?) It’s smells like berry in that candy-that-is-berry-flavored way.

Here I am wearing the lip gel, with my old glasses, badly in need of a haircut and my Goth troll t-shirt.

Estate Highlighter Powder. No idea how to use this product. Watched some videos on YouTube. Applied some to my right cheekbone. Not seeing it. Okay, well, let’s keep going and see if I can notice it in different light. Maybe I’m too pale. I bet the teenager would look good in this.

Now the eye shadow palette. So excited as these are glittery neutral shades like the ones I favor.

I love every one of these colors on my face. And the Buxom mascara is a very long brush with shorter bristles that goes on very even. And looks natural (but in an enhanced way).

Very pleased.

I think these are some very practical products with some fun and sass thrown in.