Finding the perfect mascara: Operation Experimascara

finding the perfect mascara

Is it possible for a girl to have both length and volume? I’m talking mascara, folks.

I wasn’t so sure. I’ve tried my fair share of mascaras: the super dry, the super gloopy, the pricey tubes and the drug store varieties. Certainly somewhere out there a perfect mascara had to exist that actually fulfilled its magazine ad photoshopped promises, right? I took to Facebook and asked my friends to tell me what they loved, to give it to me straight, to tell me what I clearly did not know:

Best mascara? Like, big fat luscious thick black lashes. ‘Cause I still ain’t found the one.

59 very passionate comments later and a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I was like, yo’, we are going to figure this out – here we go, Operation Experimascara! And just like that, I set off to find The One.

Before you take any advice or recommendations from me, here’s my little disclaimer — My makeup expertise level is this: I’m a Burt’s Bees chapstick and tinted moisturizer kind of girl. And when I throw that out there all nonchalant, that means it takes me an hour to casually throw that shit on, only to look like I’m wearing nothing, yet if I was actually wearing ‘nothing’ GOD HELP US ALL. But I will never, ever* leave the house without mascara because swear-to-god, I look like death without it.

*So OK, there was this one time I did leave the house – by mistake – without mascara (HOW DO YOU FORGET MASCARA?), got to work and thought, something isn’t right! and had to go home sick because I physically looked unwell.

In my experimascariment (huh?) I tested 10 mascaras: 3 drug store varieties and 7 that I could obtain from Sephora (hello, gift card!) – all of which were recommended by my Facebook friends.

Here are my results:

Clinique

A favorite: Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara ($16) – This was pretty great for length, even in just one coat. However it did sting my eyes (told you I was no Mac Counter Girl) and was on the more gloopy side.

The in-betweens:

Bad Gal

Benefit’s Bad Gal Lash ($19) had a big ass brush – like, WHOA NELLY what do I do with all of this – sort of brush. Great length and volume but very messy. If you’ve got a handful of q-tips, a few minutes for clean-up and some courage, it’s not too bad – just messy.

Smashbox

Smashbox Full Exposure ($19.50) was named for the brush, I think. Because you’re like, hey now, cover that big thing up, this feels a little inappropriate. It’s a big brush and I feel like you need a few days of learning how to maneuver it before you’re good at it. It’s definitely a messier, wetter application but you do get good length at first coat. Take a minute or 10 between coats though or you’re asking for trouble.

Great Lash

That famous pink tube – Great Lash. I mean, it’s hard to hate on a classic but if you’re going to go drug store, L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly is just better. Great Lash gives you length, not volume and is messy.

Colossal

Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express is another drug store find. It has a softer brush than Great Lash and gives you decent volume (minus the ‘e’ I guess) but not much length. Again, L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly is just better.

The disappointments:

Benefit Theyre Real

Benefit’s They’re Real ($23) was a huge disappointment, mostly because it’s was the most recommended mascara on Facebook by friends. I had high hopes for this stuff. I tried it for three days, thinking it must be me, I must just not get it. And I know people say there’s a ‘learning curve’ to the brush and whatnot but you know what, after 3 days and not loving it at all, you know what I say? AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. It was a much drier formula with a pokey-ass brush and while it did give me length, there was no real volume.

Buxom

Man, there is nothing like a bad mascara day, amirite? Buxom’s Sculpted Lash ($19) was the mascara I could not wait to remove – absolutely did not like.

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The brush itself looks really promising when you pull it out – you’re like, now this bad boy is going to do amazing things. HATED IT. Now I don’t know if I got a crap tube of it or what, but the formula was so dry, it flaked onto my cheeks as I was applying it. There was neither length nor volume to be found. Whenever I caught a glance of myself in the mirror, it looked like I had put on eyeliner and forgotten mascara. RUINED MY DAY, GUYS.

Lashgasm

Too Faced Lashgasm ($21) was great for the first coat and Lump City on the second. Maybe if I had waited longer between coats? I don’t know. But I didn’t give it another shot. At this point, my poor lashes had been through hell and I was not about giving second chances. (Side-eyeing you, Buxom.)

So did I find The One? Does this dramedy have a happy ending? I did and it does.

There was a very clear winner for me: Tarte - $23.

Tarte

If you want both length and volume and that HOLY SHIT THOSE LASHES LOOK AMAZING! factor, you want Tarte. The end. First coat is pretty great on its own. Second coat is like, DAMN GINA. You will look at your eyes every time you hit the commode throughout the day and bat those beauties. #selfie

However, maybe you’re side-eyeing me like I’M NOT PAYING NO $23 FOR MASCARA. OK, I hear you.

Butterfly

L’Oreal’s Voluminous Butterfly Mascara was actually a very close second. Whether or not I was using that brush correctly, I’ll never know. But you get length and volume that’s unlike any other drug store variety I’ve tried. And it’s $7-ish.

So what did we learn here? Probably not much. But I do hope my little experiment helps you find The One that’s right for you.

20% discount for PostalPix

PostalPix Discount

Hell yeah, it’s a discount code for PostalPix.

I mean, maybe I should do more of an intro about it. But TWENTY PERCENT OFF YOUR PURCHASE pretty much sums it up.*

Use the code: undomestic20 on a single order through Wednesday, July 3rd.

(If you haven’t used PostalPix – it’s an app for iPhone or Android that allows you to buy prints – and other photo products – right from your phone. I’ve been using them to print all the bajillion photos I take on my phone since I joined Instagram 1,911 photos ago and they’re pretty rad.)

I don’t do giveaways or ads or whatever normally so if this is one of those then here you go, I am fully disclaiming whatever it is I have to disclaim: PostalPix was like “do you want to give away a discount code on your blog?” And I was like “Uh, yeah!” and here we here. DISCLAIMED.

I hope you use it. Not just because it’s great deal, but because I’m a big proponent of making a habit of printing at least a portion of all those photos we keep imprisoned on our phones.

*I’m obviously pretty awesome at this review/giveaway stuff, maybe I should do more. Heh.

Annual (odd) holiday shopping guide

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had a bit-o-difficulty getting into the holiday spirit this year. But whether I’m ready for places like Target to look like Christmas threw-up all over their aisles, well, it doesn’t really matter because there it is – merry this or that, joy! peace to the motherfucking world! and other holiday obscenities all up in my scrunched up face.

Regardless of my bad, bah humbug attitude, some of you are already shopping or at least planning your shopping so I thought I’d post a couple of cool websites and gift ideas I’ve come across that might help you find the perfect something-something for someone(s) on your list.

Because let’s face it, even if they’re only $9, no one needs another chenille throw for their couch this year.

I was reading Real Simple magazine (which, come to find out, isn’t for simple minds like mine but for people who want to organize, simplify and find a bajillion rather bad ass solutions for every day life) when I came across Spoon Sisters. The gift ideas on this site are endless, people.

Just a few examples:

Arrrgh matties! It’s the Pirate Handbook! $18.95

*shakeshakeshake* It’s a Magic 8 Ball Pen! $7.00

Recipes for the Regularity Challenged? Yep. The Un-Constipated Gourmet Cookbook! $16.00

Fashionable knitting? Please! Vogue Knitting – Gloves and Mittens. $24.95

Robot Matryoshkas! (Also: Monsters, Chalkboard, Paint-your-own, etc.) $15.50

OUCH! *BAM* POW! Comic Strip Bandages! $6.25

and a ton of other cool stuff.

Then there’s one of my favorite websites I’ve shopped at for a long time: Uncommon Goods.

Bottoms up! It’s Beer Making Kits! $15.00 – $40.00

Just a liiittttlllee more… a litttlllleee more… The OCD Cutting Board! $25.00

A colorful way to pass the days. Pop the Dots Calendar! $13.00

Rock out in style! Crocheted Headphones! $38.00

Um, hey there! It’s Kim the Talking Clock! $39.50

On a more serious note, in all the list-making and catalog-perusing and store-shopping this time of year, it’s easy for my boys to start getting greedy with the “I want’s.” This is why every year we have them participate in a number of charities like Spark of Love and Toys for Tots – a way for them to remember that this is the season for giving – not receiving – and as a reminder that they are very lucky kids – even when they don’t think so.

So when you’re making your list and checking it twice and shopping online via computer mice, think about clicking on over to Feeding America where a $1 donation will feed eight hungry families in America. EIGHT. For one dollar. Can you imagine if eight of you donated just $1? And then eight of your readers or Twitter followers or Facebook friends did the same? And then theirs? Food for thought, literally.

Happy giving.

Your last minute shopping guide – UD Style

Yes, yes, I'm still alive and well (a relative term), just suffering from OHMYGAWDCHRISTMASISJUSTAWEEKAWAY syndrome, nevermind recovering from an awesome weekend at Bernie's in Vegas and then there's also the big Love for Anissa project.

Which, I must say, I am just BLOWN AWAY by the response. More than 120 photos were submitted (I'm still adding some stragglers) and trying to get them all compiled into the video slideshow set to heart-wrenching music from Glee. I can't wait to get it to her and to share it with all of you.

But if you're anything like me, you're also overwhelmed right now with copious amounts of To Do's, including last! minute! Christmas! shopping! So I've done you a solid and compiled a list the most GLORIOUS gift giving ideas you've ever seen.

(And you're welcome.)

From Urban Outfitters:

- Polaroid Notes $14.95

- Get the Hint Stickies: $6.00

Stickies 

- Astronaut Ice Cream $6.00

- Bacon Flavored Floss $6.00

- Road Rage Shticks $16.00:

Roadrage 
[As seen being used here.]
 
- The Where's Waldo Complete Collection $45.00

- If I'm Lost… Flask $18.00

- WTF Snowglobe $12.00:

Wtf_snowglobe 

- How to be Inappropriate (book) $14.95

- The Big Ass Book of Crafts $19.95

- How to Locate a Stud and Drill It (book) $12.95

 

From Think Geek:

- Horror Movie Shower Curtain and Bath Mat $14.99:

Horrorshower 

- Illuminated Jet Bib Feeding System $19.99 (lights up):

Jetbib

From Uncommon Goods:

- Nestling Bird Necklaces $70 – $79

- Baby Clothes Quilt Kit $28

- Ninja Umbrella $28

- His and Hers Key Holders $25:

Keyholders 

- Set of 6 Luggage Tags $10:

Luggagetags 

- Leaning Man Bookends $34

And you KNOW I couldn't resist adding one of my most prized possessions to the list:

- THE 'Fo Shizzle Welcome to our Hizzle Welcome Mat $19.95 from What On Earth

Happy shopping!

Steals & Deals – Edition 5

Every year on the 4th of July, I go with my mom to a local street fair where we peruse booth after booth of handmade creations – most of which are identical from the year before. But every once in a while, we across something new and different and cool.

This year, I fell in love with these journals which are made of old books that libraries decide to throw out. Doug of Recover Your Thoughts takes these dumpster bound books, removes the front and back covers and reuses them, adding a slab of recycled paper in-between to create nifty journals. In his words, what a novel idea.

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The hardest part about buying one of these "Recover Your Thoughts" journals is picking the cover you like best and I think I pretty much went through every journal in his booth before coming across the perfect one for me: Churchill’s The Crisis. Could there be a more appropriate title for my journal? I think not.

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Doug told me he hasn’t quite got the whole buying-online-thing down yet (and I immediately pointed him toward etsy), but if you’re interested in Recovering Your Thoughts in one of these journals, you can email him at info(at)recoveryourthoughts(dot)com. Journals are $12 each.

Steals & Deals – Edition 4

How about these melons? Huh?

Img_3392

In an economy of sky-rocketing grocery prices, I thought I’d let you in on this little secret: 99 Cent Store. These succulent cantaloupes? Yep! 99 cents each. And honest to god, they are a-ma-zing.

Also amazing? Loaves of bread for 99 cents each. I’m no cheap ass, but I’m not a brand whore either and I’m telling you, 99 cents for a loaf of What’s-Its-Butt Wheat versus the hoity-toity brand name wheat bread for $4 at your local grocery store? Mama ain’t that proud.

What’s your current big deal steal?

Steals & Deals – Edition 3

Removing the link… a number of people have said this company… yeah, not so great… in their experience. Well this surely blew up in my face.

If you like make-up, wear make-up or know of someone who might have heard of make-up before then pay close attention: I know of a website where you can get high quality (and I’m talking featured-in-major-magazines-quality) mineral-based make-up for $1.

Oh yes, you heard read me correctly. ONE DOLLAH.

The challenge is to shop while simultaneously showing restraint. I don’t think it’s humanly possible.

For those of you who do submit to the evils of this little internet shopping gone wild adventure, I want to know. So I don’t feel so… alone. That’s right, I’m talking to YOU – who not only has her credit card number memorized, but the 3-digit security number on the back also.

[UPDATE: While I'm at it, I'm going to wire $50 to a Nigerian bank and wait for my $5,000 return. ALLEGEDLY, this ONE DOLLAH special isn't a special, the make-up is always this price. Someone emailed me and was like, HEY DUMBASS, IT'S ALWAYS ONE DOLLAR. Ohhhhhhh. Well, whatever. As long as it doesn't make my skin burn or fall off, $1 is still a steal and a deal.]

Steals & Deals – Edition 2

Img_1147

I don’t normally buy shoes from Old Navy, but when I saw these bad boys, I wanted them. And then I realized that at that same time, they were doing their "Stuff and Save" promotion that gives you an additional 20 percent off and free shipping. Well then. I stand by my decision. It was a no-brainer, really.

However, because I have no life, the shiny vinyl black wedges are still sittin’ pretty in my closet, without having been used yet, the little elastic band still connecting the left and the right. But I still covet them and therefore Windex them every day. [OK, so now you know I'm lying. I don't own Windex.]

But the giraffe ballet flats*? LOVE them. I’ve worn them several times already and I just can’t stop looking at my feet when they’re immersed in the sexiness that is this shoe. And at the current bargain price of $9.49, you just can’t say no. At least I couldn’t. Obviously.

I’ve only found one slight problem with this purchase. They’re stylish, lightweight and comfortable – but maybe too comfortable. Because when I went searching for them yesterday, I discovered I wasn’t the only one enjoying the giraffe print…

Dsc02446

It’s like every mama’s fantasy to see her little boy… in her? shoes?

Oh lord.

—————————————————————

*Giraffe print may or may not still be available… However there are a ton of other prints. All of them cute and necessary!

Steals & Deals – Edition 1

I’m starting a little something-something new… Every once in a while I come across a good deal or a complete steal and I feel like telling the WHOLE WORLD about it. That’s where the "Steals & Deals" comes into play. If you have any great deals or steals you’ve come across, send your ideas my way.

For this first edition, I present to you these vintage-looking notebooks:

Img_0818_2 

Now here’s the thing. I love paper. I love books. I love notebooks. In a something-you-never-cared-to-know-about-me sort of way, I absolutely love the smell of paper – its thickness and texture – and I just want to inhale it’s amazingness and feel its weight in my fingertips.

OK… And I’m… BACK.

Anyway. These notebooks? Just another reason to love Target: The dollar section.

I bought one of these bad boys for – get this – $2.50 in the dollar section (go figure) of Target a week or two ago. But then, because I’m a natural hoarder, I went back and got two more, not having a single freaking clue what to do with them, but just knowing I coveted them so much that I should definitely have three.

Then I realized, hey! three! I’ve got three boys! So I wrote their names on the notebooks, dedicating one to each kid. I’ve decided to fill them with the funny things my guys say on a regular basis. Recording quotes as well as the time and place where they’ve said them. There have been so many times I’ve just about died laughing at something my kids have said…

Example (in E-man’s notebook):

HCLJPLP, Age 5 – When the teacher asked what his middle initial – "R" – stood for in his name, E-man replied (dead serious) "Race Car."

Now my kids will have these books to look back on and laugh at when they’ve got kids of their own. [I know! This almost makes me look sorta put together as a mom. SEE! Clearly the notebooks perform small miracles too! At $2.50 each!!!]

Or, I can use them as blackmail to steer away potential girlfriends. Whichever.