The Nothing

Photo by Kilian Schönberger

It’s a beautiful night, really. The temperature is too hot for late September, so the light doesn’t match the atmosphere. It’s dark at seven but still eighty degrees. Other than being cheated of earlier-onset socks and sweater weather, there’s not much about which to complain. It’s disorienting though, the beautiful fall light, which should accompany chilled and dark breezes, winter winds blowing in a warning— but the air is hot and still and saturated with mosquitoes.

It adds to the overall feeling of strangeness, of time lost, of a life off kilter. It reminds me that things are just as wrong as they seem. Why shouldn’t the light match a different season, and why shouldn’t I be scratching  my ankles deep into October? The world is changed, and these are the signs to keep me from forgetting.

Thing is, I don’t believe in signs. So I know my head and all its ideas are bullshit. I know my brain is seeking patterns to make sense of a flood of information it has yet to decide how to handle. On top of feeling angry at myself for this continued sadness, now I am also angry with myself for trying to fight a way out of it. There’s nothing my brain can do to please me, because I know my brain is doing what grieving people do and I don’t want to be one of them.

I keep telling people I am glad they don’t understand. The compassionate part of me probably is glad. The other part of me, the low, cruel part, hates them for not understanding. That part leaps up with vicious joy when someone reports bad news. Anything from a flat tire to a dying pet. GOOD I think. NOW YOU KNOW. YOU HAPPY PEOPLE. Serves you right for having a life that went on when mine ended.

I stamp that part of me down quickly, that’s the part of me I can’t afford to feed. But she’s down there, no matter if I try to starve her, she’s down there sucking sustenance from your pain. You need to know how it feels, she thinks, and she sneers at all your happiness and joy, all your apple-picking and days with family and last of the summer sunshine snapshots. Your birthdays and milestones and oh-so-adorable photos of children whom the world has yet to touch with rough hands.

You’re worthy of only her contempt, and she knows your comeuppance is near at hand. She lives in me, with the sad girl, and the strong girl, and the capable girl. She lives down there with the girl who wants to rest, and the one who wishes she could laugh, and the one who just wishes things could please go back to normal. All of them in there, jockeying for space – is it any wonder the me that houses them can’t sleep? It’s loud. And I prefer quiet.

Review of IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation/Updated Skin Routine


IT Cosmetics Celebration foundation $35

Last week I was having a “MY SKIN SUCKS” fit and went into Ulta to try to find a remedy. I had been seeing Bunny (Graveyard Girl) rave about the IT Cosmetics Celebration Illumination powder foundation, and the reviews online were generally good, so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t go for the Illumination kind, I have enough inner illumination (that’s face oil) to make that unnecessary. So I went for the regular one.

Wow, spectacular fail. The worst. The worst ever. Not only did this stuff make my nose pores look like Shelob’s cave, but it also clung to my cheeks and made them look all dry and crusty. Plus it was kind of orange-y on.

I tried it with their included sponge, I tried it with my Real Techniques buffing brush, I tried it with my Tarte mineral foundation brush. No joy. No matter what I did I had massive crater pores AND I was still shiny in an hour. I had to take it back.

Nothing can work for everyone, I guess.

By the way, I figured out my skin was sucking because I had been slacking on my Ole Henriksen stuff. I had been using a Murad lightening serum that I got as a sample, and it was making me red and strange looking, and once I got back to my routine my face got happy and clear again. Reminder – if products work for you, you have to use them. Doh.

After cleansing (I rotate cleansing products) my night routine is this:



Invigorating Night Treatment $45


Ultimate Lift Eye Gel $42

In the morning I cleanse with water and then use:


Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster $48

Before my


Perfect Truth CC Creme $36

Two notes – this combo is good for my oily and aging skin. It might be way too harsh in acids for other people. The CC creme is enough moisturizer for me at this time of year, if I feel particularly dry one day I will add some oil over my treatments at night before I go to bed. Also, I pretty much never pay full price for any of these products. They work, and they’re certainly worth full price, but if you pay attention to sales and holiday kits (or holiday kits that go on sale!) you can usually stock up on smaller, or even full, sizes for much less than buying the products individually.

Hope your day is going better than expected, and that your skin is very happy.

SpaRitual Polish – Super Meh


Got this SpaRitual nail polish in my latest Glossybox, and it is decidedly “meh” to the point of “ugh.”

Applied super sheer, almost didn’t cover enough with two coats, horrible shrinkage after top coat, terrible tip wear, and chipping on the sides of the nails. This is two days wear, BTW and I have filed my nails so the tip wear/shrinkage isn’t showing, because I refused to photograph my nails looking that gross.

Here’s my box overall, nothing to write home about. I am excited about the Kryolan highlight, but haven’t had a chance to really test it out yet. The polish is going in the bin.


Grief Sticks Around

The biggest problem I am having right now, in terms of mental health, is trying to deal with my mom and her extreme and debilitating grief. Since we come from such a fucked up family, my mom has no support system other than me, and that’s incredibly difficult to deal with. I want to be supportive and I want to help. But I am also grieving, and doing that in my own way.  My mom’s grief takes the expected forms (crying, lethargy, forgetfulness, inability to make decisions, obsessing over the dead person, repeating the same stories over and over, comparing everyone and every situation to the dead person/a thing the dead person did.) plus she’s also turned into someone who is not my mom. This lady sounds like my mom, looks like my mom, but she’s not my mom.

My mom doesn’t leave dirty dishes lying around, my mom doesn’t lie on the couch crying for hours and forget to let the dogs out. My mom isn’t this soggy mess of a person who doesn’t hear me when I talk, or ignores me when I am injured. This lady who stays with me periodically now (at least she’s not here all the time) is a hot sack of disaster. She breaks things, she loses things, she sticks the laundry in the wrong places, she leaves Kleenex and cough drop wrappers all over the house. She feeds the dogs the wrong food, she can’t find the thing she just set down, she loses her medications and her important papers multiple times per day. She calls me at work to ask me things that aren’t important (well, she always did that) but she doesn’t want to talk to her sisters (that’s new).

I was so comfortable in the role of the less-involved child, I let my brother deal with all my mom’s disaster moods and crazy antics. Now I have to deal with them full force, plus the fact that she just won’t stop crying, ever.

I am looking up how to support a grieving person, and all the sites say to not pressure the grieving person to feel better on your time schedule, to realize it takes much longer for that person to feel OK than you expect.

Let go of time expectations. The person grieving may struggle for longer than expected. If this happens, regardless of how frustrating or frightening it may be for you, let them grieve for however long they need, knowing you won’t judge them for it.

Which is fine, I understand that might be ideal— but how do I deal with my own being frustrated or frightened? How do I not judge? I guess now I need to find a site on how to support a person who’s supporting a grieving person, because you know what’s impossibly sad? Sitting around every night for hours on end watching your mother cry, and listening to her compare everything you do to what your dead brother would have done, and knowing that half the time you speak she won’t hear you, or care what you say. That is not an easy thing, and it’s not good for [my] mental health. Being afraid to laugh, or do any activity, or talk about something that’s not <<DEAD BROTHER>> is really hard.

Every thing I do that’s not focused on <<DEAD BROTHER>> is like a slap in the face to her, everything I do say or do related to him is a sad reminder, she has even made me stop sharing happy memories, since they make her think “he might come back.”

So I can’t talk, and I can’t not talk, and I can’t do things, and I can’t not do things, and basically it’s all impossible.

And that’s just on the days she stays with me. On the days she’s gone, that’s when I have to deal with my own sort of paralyzing sadness and pain, and try to reconcile the relationship I had with my brother to the one I wanted to have, the one I will never have now – when parts of me still don’t believe that he is gone.  I am still having to remind myself that he died.

I don’t know, it’s super fucked up is what I am saying. I am trying to find the right level of meds to keep me functional, keep me sane, keep me rational, keep me calm, and still let me be me without sleeping 18 hours a day. That’s not an easy task at all.

I feel like a bad daughter, but I really wish my mom had a support system that wasn’t just me. I don’t mind being part of the system, I just don’t want to be the whole system. She doesn’t like the online support groups that she has tried, she doesn’t like to talk to her sisters, they don’t understand, no one understands. She doesn’t want to go to a support group in person, she doesn’t think they will understand. No one gets the rawness of her grief, which is unlike the grief of any parent who has ever lost a child, apparently. She doesn’t want to up her meds, she doesn’t think her counselor helps. Nothing helps, no one helps and she will never-ever feel better. She says.

But she still has questions, and comes to me with them all. And I am not some wondrous combination of estate lawyer, car salesperson, divorce lawyer, tax attorney, financial adviser, medical doctor, malpractice lawyer and grief counselor that she needs. I am just her daughter, and I love her, but I am at my limit for how much I can do. And the high expectations combined with the lack of other support means that I am frustrated instead of supportive, and irritated rather than patient, and exhausted rather than able to help.

Last week without mentally preparing myself for it, I read over a detailed account of my brother’s last 12 minutes on earth as a living entity. Every single detail of how they fought to keep his body alive, and then all the mistakes and things they wrote down in the week leading up to his death, which I couldn’t go back in time to correct and tell them NO NO NO PAY ATTENTION! To read those dispassionate notes wrongly describing his condition and knowing those notes were leading inexorably to his death, without being able to take any action to stop it – that left me mentally comatose for at least two days. Walking wounded, walking dead, shell-shocked, whatever you want to call it, I was that for two whole days until I got drunk enough to shove the thoughts back out of my brain.

So obviously I am not able to do whatever that lady up there needs done, and yet there is no one else. There is no good answer. There is no solution. There is only writing it down, processing it, knowing that in time it will pass, surely in a month it will be somewhat better. That’s all I have for now.

Defunct Kat Von D Palette Review – (True Romance in True Love)

Kat Von D’s line is getting a re-vamp at Sephora, and it looks like for the moment they’re focusing on lip products for her (not the line’s best item) and putting less emphasis on palettes (the shining stars of her line) Now, this could be because they’re getting ready for an intense palette launch for the holidays, I don’t know. But it seems strange to focus so much on really badly performing lipsticks (see the Temptalia reviews for more details) and take away the shadow palettes, which are usually pretty strong.

Anyway, their loss is my gain, and I picked up the True Romance Palette in “True Love” when they clearanced it out two weeks ago. $14.50, normally $24.

Promo shot of the palette from Sephora
Promo shot of the palette from Sephora

The weird thing that I immediately noticed upon opening it (it was, as ever, a lovely palette design, and packaged like a gift – so lovely, they are package design masters) is that one of the shadows seemed weird and sunken in.

Pretty pretty package, with a nice matte hand feel.
Pretty pretty package, with a nice matte hand feel.
Strange sunken in pan
Strange sunken gold shadow in pan

So apparently there was one cream shadow packaged in here with the powder shadows, and I guess as these babies sat in the warehouse, all the moisture got sucked from that shadow, as it didn’t have a special plastic piece over it to keep the moisture in. In the photo above, observe the condensation on the glass. I don’t think this has affected the other powder shadows, but that golden creme shadow is a lost cause. I tried gently coating it with some MAC fix-plus to see if it would rehydrate, but so far no go.

The rest of the palette is so gorgeous though, and the price was so cheap I do not mind.

Purple swatches
Purple swatches

The purples are astonishing, even the color you think is just white is actually a really full purple duo-shift color. And that darkest purple is just drool worthy, a black burgundy shift. Ahhhhh. Love.

I tried to find dupes in my collection for some of these but didn’t have anything exact.


Kat von D colors on top, bottom is Makeup Geek Rockstar (warmer, more grey) Urban Decay Asphyxia (more shimmery, bluer,the closest dupe though) Urban Decay color I can’t remember as I de-potted it (sorry!) Random unnamed Tarte shadow (warmer, browner) and far left is Urban Decay Rockstar. I was pleased to see these weren’t exactly duped in my collection.

Warm colors. I had to dig into the cream shadow to get a chunk to spread here. Gross.
Warm colors. I had to dig into the cream shadow to get a chunk to spread here. Gross.

Here are the warm colors. I had to dig into that cream shadow to get some to swatch, pretty dry and chunky and gross. The lightest  color intrigued me and reminded me of Mary Lou-manizer. But swatched next to each other:


You can see Mary Lou-Manizer (left) is lighter, more warm gold, while the Kat Von D color is more intense, more shimmery, and cooler. Still going to be a great highlight.


Those same colors, blended into the skin.

Overall I am glad I have the palette at the price I paid, so if you see this getting clearanced out on any other site, I’d buy it for cheap, being aware that the creme shadow is most likely a bust.

Hope you enjoyed this review, let me know if you have any questions!

Here's where I weigh in.