Monday, April 27, 2020

RESOURCES Teaching & Learning At Home During COVID (will update often)

I have done these types of posts before but a conversation I had last night reminds me that this is the perfect time for an update.

God bless the parents and child-carers out there trying to do be parent and teacher. Hang in there.

Whoever did this is genius-level funny!

Here are some educational resources for you or for your children. I gathered these from around the internet and from some of my older postings. This is a great time for all of us to "school up"!

Old Blog Posts (links for all ages and activities)

Resources Suggested by Others

  • This page from  Kids Activities Blog suggests 10 educational YouTube channels for kids. Notice that there are other articles on the site with a breakdown by each stage of childhood. I have not perused the site myself.
  • This particular Feedspot page does regular updates on a "learning, discovery, and educational" video roundup. This seems to be a site where YouTubers can submit their content so it should be a rich source for browsing.
  • Medium has this interesting list of videos. I like how they break the list down into categories of educational interest. 
  • This from CollegeInfoGeek is a long and random list of sites that I didn't peruse. Looks juicy full of rabbit holes though.
My YouTube List
For younger kids
For older kids and adults
For Christians/Bible believers

I'm really wiped out today, but I'll keep working on this list, adding things as I find them.


Friday, April 17, 2020

**REVIEW** Moosoo Cordless Vacuum 13kpa

When you have enough dust or debris, you'll pull out the big boy vac, right?

Big, bad Blue!

But if you have small amounts of debris, you don't want to wait for it to build up enough to pull out the big vac. At least, I hope you don't. 

What if you had a vacuum that was as light and easy to use as a broom? Would you spot-vac every day? Several times a week? If you had the Moosoo Cordless Vacuum, you could vacuum easier than you can sweep.

Neither the Vac nor its box are very
big (compared to box of Kleenex)

 This is what's inside.
Takes about 10 minutes for a smart person to put together.
It took me 30 minutes.

I love this vacuum. I think of it as an electric broom because it's so lightweight and easy to use. It's actually easier than using a broom because, well...

The hardest thing about this little vac is getting used to holding the handle so it doesn't twist loose. Once I mastered that, I fell in love. In LOVE.  Let highlight the Pros:

Lightweight/Easy to use

This thing is so freaking light that it feels like I am handling a broom handle minus the brush. That was the first thing I liked. My Bissel is a beauty but it's a pain to pull out of the closet for things like cleaning up the area around the writing desk where there might be some eraser shavings. Or whipping out to go over the sofa after I been eating bread there (like an animal). Because I have a lot of plants, I am always cleaning up tiny specks of potting soil. And I won't even bring up the shedding that my poor fern is doing since the weather can't be consistent.

Most days, I spend sitting either at the writing desk or on my bed. On my bed days, I tend to keep everything in reach - water, snacks, medicine, reading material, mail - and you can tell. The carpet next to my bed and the desk are the two places that get vacuumed the most. I know just keep the Moosoo next to wherever I am.

It comes with two types of cleaning heads - one for the floor and one for crevices and tight spots. I tend to use the floor head several times a day. I use the crevice tool when I am getting ready to mop the floors or when I need to get in between the couch cushions.

The tube is retractable so in the shortest position, the vac stands from the tip of the handle to the base for the attachment about 34 inches. It can be extended to stand about 43 inches.  I use it in the fully extended position to clean the carpet and then switch it to mid-length to deal with crevices. The machine maneuvers very smoothly and, as I mentioned, just don't twist the handle lock and you will be fine. Again, that is the only thing I had down as a negative until I trained myself!

Oh, and this is super easy to clean. You just pop the debris basket from the hand and dump it.

Suction power

I have no idea about "kpa" and all that  (and reading the page at that link gave me a brain shivering headache) but I know that this vacuum picks up the crumbs and loose grime from the kitchen floor and it easily gets up any loose hair from the bathroom tile. The Moosoo runs at 2 power levels - low and high - and the power button is right at the top of the handle so it's easy to find.

The biggest thing I deal with for the kitchen in spilled coffee grinds or crumbs from the toaster. The Moosoo has no problems with that. It even picks up the bigger crumbs from crackers and chips. Now that I have the vacuum, I pretty much just sweep crumbs from the countertops onto the floor!

For the other areas of the house, the only thing I had to roll over and over to get up was some hair that stuck to the carpet fibers after I trimmed my hair and dusted my shoulders in the bedroom. Still, the Moosoo didn't have to spend much time even on that. The section is dang decent. My brother told me he is going to borrow this to clean out his truck because it has so much more suction than his handheld.

For this video, I sprinkled down some small pieces of styrofoam and some kind of white debris from a small packing box I was throwing out.

The vacuum sounds loud because of the way I was holding the phone while recording but, to be honest, I have run it at night in the bedroom and I don't think it was that loud. I would never run the Bissell in the evening out of respect for the neighbor on the other side of the bedroom wall.

Space-saver & Recharges

A lot of people have very small apartments like I do. Even folks with plenty of room will like how little space this takes up. Like I said, I tend to keep mine near me during the day just because it's so small. It does come with simple installation so that it can be stored against a wall.

 I keep mine in the tiny, tiny entry-way closet with the big vac and other handy items.

This charges via a little wall adapter. It charges fairly quickly and then it lasts a long time. I didn't time it, but I was using this every day for 4 days after it first charged and it worked at full power. I haven't let it die all the way down so I can only say that it does last and last.

Now, I saved what I think of as the best for last. This uses a HEPA filter. A washable  HEPA filter. And you might get a goodie in the box that helps you score a spare filter.

Maybe by now you realize why I love this vac. It comes with a 1-year warranty and the people are really super helpful (I had questions).


**Quick Post** Duping It For Myself

I could have sworn that I posted this a few days back, but according to Blogger,
that's a big nope. So here it is.

Here we are, at the tail end of the saga of my makeup journey. I told you all that I was going to make use of all the foundations I've tried. I used one of my good brain days to practice making dupes. Thanks to the color pigments I picked up at Making Cosmetics, I was able to pretty much dupe the Nars Sheer Glow Khartoum shade that is discontinued (and too expensive).

My very own
"Fars Near Glow" LOL

I got some cheapo lip balm containers and I already had some cheapo empty cosmetic pots that I had been using to blend my own lip gloss colors. There were 50 of those things and I only have 1 pair of lips and about 7 glosses to work with. So.

I managed to dupe the heck out of that $47 Sheer Glow. 40 + 7 dollars, people. For some face paint. Listen, I was sitting there at the table, singing "Sisters are duping it for themselves" and  Aretha is probably going to haunt me for messing up her song.

Since I had been on that adventure of trying to find an OTC foundation that works for me, and since I already had some foundations lying around, I had a lot to work with. Most of my foundations are in the same shade ranges - with a few of them being either slightly too light or too dark. There were 2 that were WAY too light or dark.

For the ones that nearly matched my tone but was lacking some depth, I added the M.C. pigment for my daily use. For the lighter/darker shades, I added a little bit of my face cream and will be using them to contour/highlight. For the shade that was way too light for me, I added a different pigment and will use it on the rare occasions that I wear color on my eyelids. The shade that was way too dark is one that I am using to tone down the other slightly lighter shades.

The blending and mixing are pretty easy. It's messy as all get out but... My tools are simple: the makeup spatulas I told you all about, some toothpicks from the kitchen, and patience. To protect the bathroom floor from getting stained, I put down some of the many, many news flyers that are always lying on my mail pile. I cut up an old t-shirt to wipe off the spatulas and I kept small dishes of soapy water and some alcohol around to keep everything as sterile as I could. As I finish each tube, I am trying to label it with the date on a piece of tape.

It took only about 5 minutes to mix up the first tube's worth of makeup. The best thing of all is I have barely used up any of the teaspoons of the pigments.

Here is me wearing the first batch of what I am calling my Fars Near Glow B.T. (Fake Nars Sheer Glow by Trudy!)

I used the flash to
show every part of my face

Not too shabby, right? And the finish is more what I like because I had a mix of matte, sheer, and dewy textures to work with. The pigment has a little drying effect so everything really balanced out.

Here are the finished batches that I have ready to use in tubes with pump dispensing (also from Making Cosmetics).

So, I managed to do it. Now I just have to work on making more batches and getting them tubed up. I want to do some blush with the red pigment I got. By the way, I am getting most of my red tint in the foundation with the brown pigment, not the red. Weird, huh?

I will be making a little hobby of DIY cosmetics. I want to work on some lip gloss and body butter. I will, of course, keep you guys posted.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

**SIFO** USPS Informed Delivery

NOTE: I got wiped out halfway through writing this so it may read a little weird. Apologies. You can find any missing info by following the links I did manage to provide.

Even though I have complained about the Postal Service, I don't want the USPS gone. And I am not sure about privatizing the service... I didn't plan this post at the time that there is talk of getting rid of the USPS but, here it is.

Thanks to someone in the Reddit community, I learned something pretty useful about USPS mail and packages called Informed Delivery (ID). I will include here what I already knew and what I learned for those of you who might be interested in keeping track of anything coming to you via the U.S. Post Office.

I don't know about you, but I LOVE knowing what's in my mailbox before I go check it. Also, I like being able to flag something I was supposed to receive and didn't. That's handy, right? So, keep reading.

You can, of course, track items. With ID, you get more tracking features than with the standard tracking lookup. There is a Postal Store where you can buy stamps, supplies, get personalized stamps and envelopes, purchase collector items, and more.

Here is the link to the USPS site and I will post a bunch of photos showing toolbars. That way, you can see what's offered in each section. For now, here is how the ID service has been useful for me.

I get a lot of packages because I do almost all my household shopping online. I like knowing what is coming and when so that I know when a package is late or perhaps lost.

This is where you will start and then just select Quick Tools from the menu at the top. This is what you will see:

When you select Informed Delivery, you will have to set up a USPS account and then sign into the account in order to use the ID stuff. I have had a USPS account for a while so I don't remember what all you can use without an account other than the basic tracking.

Once you are in the USPS site, there are all sorts of things you can do. It's probably really handy for someone trying to work from home these days and there are sections of information and services for Business and International sections.

Of course, there are some people who might prefer buying stamps and other supplies online. You can even purchase personalized envelopes and collectors items and gifts. Just like you see in a USPS lobby in lots of places.

Now, I mainly use the basic services for tracking and keeping track of mail and packages. When you use the "plain" tracking service - you know, putting the tracking number into Google which takes you to the USPS page - you only get the information for as long as you are on the page. I used to do this and then, every time I wanted to go back and check on the same package with the tracking number, I had to start all over again.

With the plain tracking, you can at least sign up for notifications about the parcel using your cell number (for text updates) or your email. I would use the text and right now, I still have probably a thousand old texts on my phone about old tracking numbers. Informed Delivery lets you store tracking numbers to a dashboard. You can even nickname parcels (ex: from Amazon, or Target, etc.). That's handy for someone who does most of their shopping online and has things coming from various people or vendors.

Notice that my "dashboard" shows a section for mail and one for packages. When I select one of those packages, I got to more detailed tracking info.

I don't even have to track mail that doesn't have a tracking number (and most doesn't, right?); the post office scans mail and all items addressed to me will show up this way:

Notice that under the envelope, there is a box I can select if I didn't receive the letter.
Of course, I redacted my personal info but, basically, that is an actual scan of the letter that was in my mailbox. I can know what's there without checking the box. This is nice when you are away from home and maybe really anxious to receive a piece of mail. Or when you are away and have someone checking your mail. You can tell them when something important needs to be picked up right away. I like it because there are days when I don't feel well. I will sometimes only bother going to the mailbox when there is something from the bank, clinic, or some kind of bill.

(I was going to post even more screenshots but am getting a little tired this evening. You can see everything mentioned in this post by going to the USPS site and checking the menu and sub-menus. Sorry about the lazy lag here, folks.)

I know that there will be concerns about saving your signature for ID but, think about it, if you ever signed for a package on one of the USPS devices, they already have it somewhere.

Again, I am tired so I will stop here. At least now you know about all the online services available from the USPS. Let's keep those people working and show them some support.


Monday, April 13, 2020

**REVIEW** Bella Leave-In Conditioner

This is one of the products I ordered from Dollar General. It's the Bella Curls Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In Conditioner. And, dangit, that is a mouthful of words!

From Bella Curls Haircare

You can get on from Amazon ($12.77 but this is just one listing of many) but it is much cheaper from Dollar General - $4.50 as I type this though it was $5.50 when I ordered it. Drats.

I was glad to get it at a bargain price and I wish I could say that I loved it. I like it but I am not in love. Not yet. I will hit the highs and lows of my first time using it.


  • It smells great - very lightly tropical but clean at the same time. The smell does not overwhelm or linger though.
  • When I was applying it to my freshly washed hair, it felt good going on. It had what I would call medium-good "slip".
  • It was slightly detangling - or just added enough slip that I wasn't losing a lot of hair while combing it through.
  • The moisture retention was crazy good at first. More on that in a moment.
  • The moisture did not last. Once my hair was fully dry, it felt somewhat better than usual but was still dull and had that slight feeling of straw.
  • You're only supposed to apply this to wet hair it might not be something a "natural" and kinky-coily gal can use often. If I washed or even seriously wet my hair every day, it would just dry out more than ever.

The conditioner has a pretty standard lotion-like consistency and it's not sticky or tacky feeling.

I have to admit that I haven't completely made my mind up about this conditioner. As I was saying, the initial moisture retention was amazing. After sleeping on my twists all night, they were still too damp to take down after at least 7 hours. Usually, my hair is bone dry and sucking the moisture out of the atmosphere by the time I get up in the morning.

When my hair finally did finish airdrying, I thought for sure that it was going to be uber soft and lots more manageable. It was softer than it usually is, but not my as much as I expected. I took a photo before I added more products so that you can see how dry my hair looked.

Stay away from open flames!

Trust me when I say that my hair felt as dry as it looks in that photo. 

I have to admit that this provided a LOT more body and volume that I normally get after a wash, dry and twist. I had so much volume that I had to pin the front back so that I didn't look like a pufferfish.

If this doesn't work any better when applied to dry (or just semi-damp) hair, I will try adding a little bit of StaSofFro to it. I feel that with just a tiny touch more something, this would be a great product. Since it did help in detangling my hair and keeping it moisturized overnight, I give it some credit but it's supposed to be moisturizing! It talks about that on the front label.

The back label even has graphics to hammer in the point.

As far as ingredients, I was too lazy to type them all out, but their site makes this statement about the absence of certain ingredients:
"...eliminating our use of those unnecessarily harsh chemicals like Sulfates, Phthalates, and Parabens."
(By the way, I am not one of the curly naturals who will actively avoid 'cones and some other ingredients in hair products. My 4C hair needs some 'cone love sometimes or my comb would never get through it.)

Anyway, here is my photo of the ingredients on the label:

 I understand and appreciate wanting to keep toxic items out of hair care. What I noticed from the label how far down on the list are the coconut "juice" and oil. I just wish that there had been something in the product to actually moisturize this hair of mine.

So, that is my review. I have since received one other product that's supposed to be softening and moisturizing and I have bought a sale product that claims the same. I will get around to those reviews soon.


P.S.: It's been just about a month since I wrote this review and am just now getting around to scheduling it to post. In the meantime, I have since found a way to get some use out of the Bella. I added some purified water and a touch of glycerin (about a tablespoon to the 16-ounce bottle. That helps a little but I am still not in love with the product.

On the Plus side, I do think that this might work better for people with finer and straighter hair. It's probably good for sealing the ends and adding some flyaway control.

Friday, April 10, 2020

UPDATE **REVIEW** EC Blend (for vaping) & Liquid Barn

WARNING: This post has to do with vaping. If you are under age, please know that I do NOT encourage smoking or vaping for minors and this post is not intended for you.  I don't encourage nicotine use of any kind for anyone. This post has to do with my personal substitution of vaping for smoking cigarettes.

This update is to mention my experience with Liquid Barn. I learned about them via a Redditor when I asked about a cheaper way to DIY juice. 

Where I have gotten ebase from EC Blend in smaller amounts (because of the pricing), I found larger and cheaper bottles of it on Liquid Barn. I will be doing a full L.B. review soon. For now, though, the prices for a 500ml bottle of base was  $9.50  and EC Blend has the same amount for a sliver over $26.00 Big diff. Huge diff. I still love ECB for their flavor concentrates from the Flavor Artists line but, unless the taste is awful, it makes all the sense in the world to use the L.B. base.

As I said, a full review is coming soon/


I just had to take a break from the cosmetics posts for a minute. I have some more of those scheduled but... ugh! I am makeup'd out at the moment! I thought I would pop in and do this one for my vape buddies. Here we go...

Finding vape juice is not difficult. Finding affordable and good juice is. For myself, I have to like the prices, trust the vendor, and be in love with the juice.

EC Blend hits the trifecta and is my all-time favorite place to get vape juice. ECB juice is priced cheap but made well. No matter what kind of vape device you have, the juice is the key. And you tell right away when an ejuice is crap. Am I right, vapers? We know.


Let's get right down to the Pros and Cons of ordering from EC Blends.


1. Price. This is a HUGE pro. The base price for most (if not all) liquid is $2.50 at the moment. That's not the finished price but that's where you start. Keep reading...

2. Every bottle of juice is, at the least, customized to a point. You will soon see just how far you can go, but just say that for a 15ml bottle of a "Soda Fountain" creation, you can add up to 3 flavor shots, choose a soda flavor, add cream to make it a "float", add sweetener, make it a menthol, choose the nic strength 0 to 36mg), add extra flavor, then name your creation. For all that, the finished price is currently $4.75. I kid you not. And that is only if you choose all those customizations. If you just choose a soda (4 types available) and your nic strength, the price drops down to $3.95.

3. When I say that you can customize, I'm so serious. Depending on the type of base flavor that you start with, the customizations change. For instance, with the Soda Fountain (Soda/Malt Shop), you choose a type of soda, but there are so many other categories of flavors to start with: Coffee & Tea, Floral, Fruit, Holiday, Sweets & Desserts, etc. They even have a novelty section with weird and goofy stuff like licorice, popcorn and the like. These seem run for a while and eventually discontinue.

There are sooo many flavors, I think you should just check out their Flavor Menu (in PDF)

4. As if the basic flavors don't have enough room for customizing, EC Blend has a Create Your Own Wizard. Yeah, they do. And that CYO Wizard is so much fun to use that you might get carried away. I know I did.  ECB suggests that you should get only the smallest bottle of your Wizard creations until you know if you will like what you came up with. Thank goodness I paid heed or I would have ended up with a huge bottle of my Honey/Rose/Melon/Apple juice. I couldn't wait to scrub my tongue free of that insane nastiness.

5. You earn points for dollars spent. When you first sign up for an account, you can even earn up to 1520 points if you do all the initial super-short checkmark surveys on the points page. With points, you can get up to 35% off storewide or free shipping with no minimum. After that, you earn all your points from spending on the site and sharing your referral code ~hint hint~

6. The site features a ton of helpful articles about vaping, current laws, mixing/DIY, etc.

7. There is a Live Chat feature to contact customer service.

8. ECB has helpful and responsive customer service reps. They also have a Facebook page where you can chat with them. By the way, instead of just having a basic FAQ section, ECB features a "Knowledgebase" of information about ECB and vaping in general. (Later in this post, I will be sharing a handy vape hack I found there.)

9. Most vendor sites have a basic "About Us" page. EC Blend goes farther and is the most transparent vendor of all I've seen online so far. They provide info about their ingredients and their vendor certifications and operating standards (FDA, cGMP, OSHA, Environment, etc). They even have a page showing the current processing times (and that was important even before this COVID situation).  Also, they explain how and why they age-verify.

10. Samples are highly requested but it's luck-of-the-draw. However, I have always, always, always gotten a small sample of liquid thrown in with my orders. This is how I discovered that, although I normally avoid tobacco-flavored juice, I now love the Honey Dipped and RY4. (FYI There are various RY blends. The "RY" stands for Ruyan, the originator of the electronic cigarette, and the number - 4, 555, 7, etc - stands for a blend or version.)


1. The site can be a little overwhelming. For once thing, the pages are all densely packed and the banners and menus can be confusing. I've been using ECB since the beginning of last year and I still get lost. This is why I am providing direct links for most of the features I'm pointing out. If you really end up loving ECB (and I think that you will), instead of saving the main page of the site, use my hack of bookmarking every page you want to refer back to.

You can also request a paper flavor menu/catalog to be sent with your order. That's the best way to keep track of what you like, don't like, want to try, and so on.

2. They process vape juice from scratch when you order (remember that customization?) so you won't get your orders lickety-split. Even back before COVID slowed down the speed of the planet, I learned to order ahead of needing vape juice. Times vary, but usually when I order the status sits at "in production" or "processing" for at least 3-4 days before it ships. Lately, it's been maybe a day slower than that. Once it ships, it is all up to the USPS or whichever shipping method you choose.

3. Because they make the juice from scratch (all fresh!), you will need to steep it before it hits its best flavor. I can never vape mine right away. (Or can I??? Keep reading.)

4. Prices on vape devices - unless they're on sale or being discontinued/going vintage - aren't very price-competitive with other sites. ECB is mostly about the juices, and they don't really even carry many devices. I did buy my brother a pen device for a gift when it was dirt cheap, but ECB is not the first place I look for mods/pods, etc. On the other hand, you can find good deals on accessories (drip tips, tank bands, etc).

That's it. Just a few negatives that I can deal with because of all the positives. Now, about that last item on the negative side...


Here is the hack I mentioned about quick steeping or speed steeping your vape juice. It comes straight from ECB:
Seal the bottle tightly and air free in a zip lock bag, then seal it in another (tightly sealed and air free also).   
Place the bottle in hot tap water for 10-15 minutes. This will allow for better mixing when shaking.  This process can be repeated as much as needed to completely blend your e-liquid.
Listen. I tried this with the most recent order and, oh happy day! My juice was even better than it is when I slow steep it for a couple of weeks. My juice was already sealed in the ECB delivery bag so I left it in that. I wasn't sure if the tap water in the apartment would be hot enough so I ran some through the coffee pot and it worked perfectly. And I understand that you don't want to use boiling hot water.


I want to mention something that I just now remembered. ECB has brick and mortar stores in some U.S. states. (See what I mean about being able to get lost on the site? So much info!)

Now that I have been vaping for a while and have tried various sites, I really only patronize a few shops for vape items. There are so many shops that are not consistent with service and quality. For the past few months, ECB is where I go first for my juice.

(By the way, for vape devices, I go to Electronic Tobacconist - free shipping over $20; Breazy -when ET doesn't have what I want; or in a pinch, Element Vape. I've never had problems with products from those places.)

Here is my favorite ECB flavor. It's Dragon's Joy from a category of "creamy" flavors called the Dragon Series:

It's slightly sweet and very "creamy"/mellow.

I have only recently decided to try the Flavor Artists concentrates and got the Fruity Cereal and Dragon Fruit. Because of the COVID lockdown and wanting to be a little more frugal, I got the concentrates. These bottles will last forever since it only takes a couple of drops to add flavor. I have some cheap flavorless/base eliquid to use them with or I can add to existing flavors. The concentrates can be added to beverages and used in baking and cooking recipes as well.

DISCLAIMER: I am not being compensated in any way for this post, but... If you do go over to ECB, it would be great if you credited me by using my referral code (GR87HA6SWC) when you create an account. That way, I will earn some points.


Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Making Cosmetics for Fun or Profit?


I have blogged here before about a site I occasionally shop from or just use for info. I think this was my very first post about Making Cosmetics. I have only ordered from their site a few times - including for the most recent purchase but I got very my first M.C. product from their Amazon storefront. That was before I knew they had their own site.


That's the Nars looking reddish
Since I have been fussing and ranting these past few weeks about not being able to find a good drugstore foundation with a red undertone in it, I finally decided it was DIY time again. The first M.C. item I purchased was some Wrinkle Blur powder as a substitute for an expensive O.T.C. product that I loved. I can't believe I didn't think of the site from the start of my foundation troubles.

Other than the so-perfect-but-unaffordable Nars, I think I have 4 foundations that I can make work for my skin tone but that would be awesomely perfect if they had that tiny bit of red undertone that the Nars Khartoum does. Well, I am not throwing that stuff out like somebody with more money than sense. If I have to, I will keep wearing a little of my Butter blush underneath the foundation even though it's a real pain to get just right. Right now, foundations all leave me with a nice finish but are just a little bit... off from my natural coloring. One of the best quality foundations makes me look a whole other race. I priced some of those shade-adjusting drops and couldn't even find the colors I needed. That left me in a ditch. I have makeup for days but none of it is absolute perfection.

LOVE this blush for
 cheeks and lips

So... I could use up all my blush to tint my foundation or I could try something else. (My blush is Butter London Cheeky Cream Blush that is not even sold on their site anymore and which I got as a gift from my late sister some years back while visiting Arizona... Yeah. I don't want to use it all up. The blush is more than a product I just don't want to run out of; it represents memories and love and it is also as cute as heck.)

The "something else option" that I figured out is the best way to go. It's also the cheapest way. (Took me forever to get here, didn't it?)

So. I've ordered three items from Making Cosmetics that I can use to customize my foundations to my liking. (I hope.) In the MC category of Colors and Color Blends, this is what I'm going to use:
  • Iron Oxide Brown (Liquid) - Makeup Brown Pigment Blend Dispersed in Oil (to deepen the shades that are currently slightly too light).
  • Iron Oxide Red (Liquid) - Makeup Brown Pigment Blend Dispersed in Oil (to add to the red tones in some of the items).
  • Mica Blackstar Red - Fine Dark Red Lustre (For adding some red to the other products).
I know that I will have to experiment. I figure that I might even end up blending together some of the red colorants with the brown pigment to get a shade I can add to a couple of the foundations. To be as frugal as possible, I only got a teaspoon of each colorant. I love that I could order such a tiny amount. Apparently, from what I've researched (hi, Google), it won't take much for what I need. And if I have to go back for different colors/pigments later, I will stick to my teaspoon quantity. (Too bad brands won't sell foundation by the teaspoon so we could find a good shade without going broke.)


See my plan here? If I have to, I will start just getting the stuff to make my own foundation from scratch...

All told, I spent fourteen dollars to (again, hopefully) try fixing at least fifty dollars worth of makeup. Maybe one day I will try making my own line of foundation. It's totally possible.


Now, I mainly wrote this post to let other women know about the items available on Making Cosmetics. I have never had a problem with them (except when they discontinued some fragrances I loved) as far as quality or customer service. Also, they have a points reward type system based on dollars spent.

Making Cosmetics has been the only place I get items to DIY it with my makeup but they have potential competition. Here are some other places to check out for ingredients or just products that might be hard to find for some reason:

  • Inolex (a "specialty ingredients company") I really need to look this one over.
  • Althea (for "getting you K-beauty fix outside of Korea" they ship to the USA and elsewhere) I saw a Water Sleeping Mask in the skincare section and...
  • Lucas Meyer Cosmetics - They have a variety of natural products that look interesting.
  • PCA Skin's site is "under construction" but I found some PCA stuff here & here. They might be other places. I will check back on the brand site to see what's up.
  • Hermo appears to be Malaysian and they have a global store site here. For some of my many Asian sisters.
I am sure there are many more places to find and buy ingredients to make or rig your existing products. I like Making Cosmetics because of the detailed information they provide and their onsite resources. They have a large resource section, formulas for newbies, equipment and kits and, if you are timid or just want to go big and produce stuff for sale, they offer both formulating and consulting services.

If you do decide to play around with some DIY cosmetics, this is another good site for looking up info on ingredients - what they do and how they might react together, etcetera. The most important thing is to do your research, check for allergies and BE CAREFUL. DIY projects mean the work put in is all on you and you have to use your head. I am not a professional at anything other than running my mouth so, again, use your head.


UPDATE: The products arrived just after this was scheduled to post so I will be doing a show and tell post asap. (Anybody else bored to tears with this COVID lockdown????)

Saturday, April 04, 2020

**REVIEW** Hard Candy Smoothing Primer Balm

I've mentioned this product in a couple of recent reviews about foundation makeup. It deserves its own post.

That is the Hard Candy Smoothing Primer Balm that I got as a "sample" from Tryspree (I think, it was Tryspree!). I have rarely used anything before as a primer (if you don't count the Maybelline Baby Soft Pore Eraser). I love the Baby Soft but, compared to this, I can't count it as an actual priming product because it mainly blurs but doesn't provide a base for foundation. This Hard Candy is most definitely a primer and it is also slightly blurring and not as wet as the Maybelline.

I thought that the primer would look super paste-like and chalky if I used it on my bare face, but it's not so bad. Like I said, it has more of a blurring - or smoothing - effect just as the name promises.

Here are some photos at various stages of using this product:

face bare except moisturizer

primer and no foundation

This is what it looks like with my new Rimmel Stay Matte foundation on half my face

So, this primer is pretty awesome. The other day when I was out and my face got a little shiny, I quickly applied a little of the balm. I wasn't wearing my matte foundation which may be why I had the shines. The balm instantly and totally banished the Shiny face and I think it works best solo if my face is very oily/shiny and not already "set" or dry.

This is very affordable at around $8 (on the brand's site) and it might be cheaper or found on sale at drugstores. I've mentioned on other posts that I will be getting more of this when the jar runs out. This is something I can keep in my purse to use with or without makeup and I can use it on the go without it making a mess.


Thursday, April 02, 2020

**REVIEW** Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

I found this at Walmart the other day.

It's Rimmel's Stay Matte Flawless Finish Mattifying Foundation (in shade 605 Deep Chocolate).

I am hotter than a jalapeno that I even went through all the bother with Juvia's Place! This Rimmel foundation is perfect. Perfect shade, perfect finish, perfect price. Most of all, it's the perfect price. Let's talk about that.

Remember the Lancome Ultra foundation I loved so much? That was close to $50. Nars Sheer Glow? Around the same as the Lancome. This Rimmel? $4.97 at Walmart. 

Normally, with drugstore foundations - even if they are good - there is a little something that gives away the difference between them and the higher end brands. Either they feel different or wear different or they are just slightly off in some way from the pricier stuff. Not so with this Rimmel.

When I first tested this shade on the back of my hand (I should have tested it in the store and I would have gotten more than one tube!), I knew the shade was a dead-on match to my face color. 

I thought that even though the shade was great - actually so close you can't see it in that swatch photo - that the makeup itself might not look or wear as well as I want. 

Wrong again.

This makeup wears almost EXACTLY like the Lancome and lasts all day without needing to be touched up. The shade is very similar to the 555 Suede C I wore. It's extremely mattifying - just like the Lancome. I have to moisturize my face well before using it - just like with the Lanco- well, you know what I mean. I think the only difference I could point out is that the Lancome was more of a liquid and this Rimmel is has a creamy consistency. It's labeled as a "mousse" type foundation.

It took very little of this to cover my entire face - I think it was about 3 dabs of the amount shown in the above photo (if even that much). Most extremely matte products I've used haven't gone on as smooth. Once I had this on it was almost immediately "set". (By the way, when I first tried applying it without additional moisturizer and just using the Hard Candy primer, it did set instantly.)

For such a mattifying foundation, this is not drying. Yes, it sets very drily on the skin but it didn't cause any tightening or stiffening sensation. Still, as with any makeup, I will apply a good moisturizer in my dry zones before using it just as a precaution. 

Want to know what I love the most, most, most? There is no transfer. None. One thing every woman hates about makeup - especially those in any deep or very colorful shades - is having it transfer to clothing and paperwork. So embarrassing and inconvenient. This one is matte enough that I can palm my face and not have it transfer. Now, I am not going to be rubbing my face on collars or papers, but I like not having to worry about hugging someone or handling paperwork and leaving behind a tell-tell mess.

Where has this stuff been all my life? 

By the way, I have used Rimmel eyeliners before and I might have picked up a gloss or mascara from a makeup bin but I think that is the extent of my experience with the brand. At least, I have never purchased anything major because I don't remember it. Now, I am telling everyone about this foundation and I will look for other Rimmel products. Shoot, I'm going to write them a fan letter! Hahaha.

 I was so upset about the experience(s) with Juvia's Place and I had resigned myself to just making do with the foundations I have on hand. Mary Kay is out of my budget - even if I could get a rep to come around at this point... Now that I have this Rimmel, I feel better. This is a shade I really like. It lacks the red undertone of the Nars, but I don't care. I can wear some blush underneath or just go without - especially now that it is summertime.

I'm not sure if this is something that someone can be happy with if they have very dry skin. As I said, I wear a deep moisturizer underneath in my dry skin areas so it balances out. My t-zone - which can develop a shine quickly in warm weather - is completely matte with this foundation.

Listen, this is such a great product and the price is just too good. People ought to know about it while we're all rushing around trying to afford some of these other brands.