Ipsy Glambag: August

Seeing as I just got my September bag today, I figured it was about time I tried to get the post about my August bag up! I’ve tested and tried all my goodies,  but getting the actual posts done when you have a little one is a bit more of a challenge.

August Glambag

I was pretty pleased with my haul this month, that the bag was cute as hell, too. They were going for a “back to school” vibe, and the pencil case shape of the bag definitely helped them to pull that off.

The only full sized product was the lip balm from Absolute New York. I got the grape flavour, and I must say that I love it. For those of you that have any food sensitivities, be warned: this stuff has aspartame in it for some reason. I try to apply as little as possible, and I don’t lick my lips when I have it on. I do find that it leaves my lips soft, and I’m a sucker for anything that comes in a tin. Because of a few less than stellar ingredients, I don’t know if I would go out of my way to repurchase this, but I will use what I have.

The rest of the samples were tiny. The Silk Kajal from Lord and Berry, while a great little liner, was about the length of my index finger. I didn’t really mind, though, seeing as I have an abundance of liners already. This stuff goes a rich, dark black. It’s great for getting a velvety, precise line, and even better for smudging. I also found it really easy to get off without  making a huge mess all over my face. I don’t own a huge number of kohl liners, but I would go back to this brand again.

Lord&Berry SwatchCoastal Scents is one of those companies that I’ve heard a lot about, but never taken the time to investigate further, so I was really looking forward to trying out the blush duo that I got in my bag. I was surprised at how much pigment got on my brush from one small wipe. When I applied it to my face, I have to admit that it didn’t take a lot of product to make me look like a prostitute from the ’80s. The colours are really nice, but you need a really light hand to apply them. The blush itself, in my opinion, is average, and there are other brands that I can get without having to mail order that I like more, so I probably won’t be repurchasing these in the future.

Coastal Scents Blush Swatch

The Dr. Brandt pores no more was another one I was hopeful about. It feels a little oily when you first apply it, at least it did on my skin, but it does do a great ob of making the large pores on my nose look reduced. The downside? It makes my long wearing foundation not so long wearing. I use Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage, and after a few hours I was noticing areas of shine that wouldn’t normally be there with my regular Smashbox primer. I’m probably going to try a few different modes of application to see if I can get it to perform the way I think it should, but for now, especially for the price of a full size product, this one won’t be a repeat for me either.

The mascara, on the other hand, is lovely. It’s not often that I’m disappointed in an Urban Decay product, and the Perversion Mascara lived up to expectations. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a waterproof, but it doesn’t flake or smudge, even them I sleep on it, yet it’s easy to remove when I want it to come off. It’s rich and black, adding both volume and length, but doesn’t clump. I’m looking forward to trying with with the matching Subversion primer.

The look I put together with this bag was:

photo 1I’m looking forward to getting to play with some of the new goodies I got in my September bag over the weekend, and I still have loads of sample reviews, and a Topbox review, to get to. For now, I hope you enjoyed this look (back) at the August ipsy!

 

 

 

Beauty on the Cheap: Joe Fresh

Let me start off by saying that I had no idea Joe Fresh did make up. I’ve purchased their clothes in the past, both for myself and my son, and I’ve been more than impressed. The combination of price point and quality is spot on, so naturally I was curious as to whether the make up line would be the same.

I grabbed two items: a palette from the clearance bin and a full priced long-wear lipstick. The palette included a trio of coordinating eye shadows, a matte lipstick, and an eye shadow brush.

Joe Fresh palette in Just Peachy

Joe Fresh palette in Just Peachy

The palette was on sale for $6, which was just over 50% off. For that price, I really couldn’t pass it up. The shadows look like they have a bit of a shimmer in the pan, but I found that they went on with more of a matte finish. The brush was a surprise. Most brushes that come in sets like this are abysmal, but this one is actually decent, and will be good for touch-ups on the go.

The lipstick is a great colour, but I wasn’t sure about the quality when I first applied it. It looked dry, and seemed to gravitate towards the creases in my lips. For me, the mark of a good matte lipstick is that it looks matte and feels cream. This wasn’t really giving me that, so I played around with application a little to make it work. By applying a lip balm first and lining with a MAC lip pencil in Subculture, I found the finish to be quite nice. It lasted fairly well, but I did need to reapply after eating if I wanted the best look.

For my eyes, I used the peach-pink all over my lids, blending up towards my brow bone. I used the brown in the outer corners of my crease, and the vanilla as a highlighter under my brow. The colours work very well together, and I’ve also used them separately to great effect. They blended well and had a nice amount of pigment payoff, but keep in mind that I always use Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion when I apply any type of eye colour.

Here is the final look:

Just Peachy Face and Maven NailsI had already been outside for a large chunk of time that day, but sweating and being in the sun had no adverse effects on the products. When you have hot summers, this is always a plus. I don’t know if I would pay full price, but on clearance this palette was a  hell of a deal.

Now, for the long-wear lipstick. I’m a huge fan of long-wear lipsticks; the less I have to worry about what my lip are doing throughout the day, the better. This is especially true now that I have a little grabbing at my face all the time. If I can put something on and know that there’s less chance of him smudging it, all the better. I have several lipsticks already that do the trick; I needed to know how this one compared.

Joe Fresh Fuschia Long Wear

As you can see, the box claims that it will go for six hours. Most long-wear colours that I have claim eight or ten, so this made me curious right off the bat. What was different about this formula that took the time down to six hours? I figured that out right when I applied it the first time. It’s a much creamier formula that similar products I’ve tried, and love, like Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick and Sephora Collection Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Colour. It also does not dry to the touch. Even after having it on for several hours, it will come off if I, or Finn, touches my lips. If I eat or drink there will be colour transfer, but it still hold up well. I didn’t feel the need to reapply. The colour pay out is great, application was smooth, and it didn’t dry my lips. That was a huge bonus.

Here it is in action:

Excuse how crazy my super high prescription glasses make my face look. I am blind; it cant be helped.

Excuse how crazy my super high prescription glasses make my face look. I am blind; it cant be helped.

I really like the colour, and it feels great on my lips. If it didn’t get on my son’s hands so easily, I would definitely go back for more, especially at $8 a tube.

For an impromptu purchase, I’m happy with what I got, and I suggest giving the Joe Fresh line a look-see. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have any of the products up on the website anymore. I’m not sure if this is because they’re going to be discontinuing the collection or because they want the site to be more focused on the clothes. Either way, hit up a Superstore and check it out.

Products used in both looks:

~Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer

~Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original

~Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full Coverage Foundation in Fair Sand

~Make-up Forever Super Matter Loose Powder in Translucent Natural

Products used in top look:

~L’Oreal Miss Manga mascara in Blackest Black

~Nyx Blush in Pinched

~POP Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer in Secret Sunshine

Products used in bottom look:

~Tarte EmphasEYES Waterproof Clay Shadow/Liner in Black

~Diorshow Blackout mascara in Kohl Black

~Nyx Blush in Pinky

 

The Meh about Julep Maven

In my recent foray into the world of beauty subscription boxes, I managed to snag a Julep Maven box for free. This wasn’t a difficult feat, as they often have freebie codes on their website to entice newbies to give them a try. Click the link above, enter your e-mail address and Bam! Free box. This isn’t one of the boxes that initially attracted my attention for a few reasons:

The first would be that it’s mostly nail polish. While I love a good polish, I already have more than I need. It would have to be a truly spectacular polish to keep me coming back for more every month, and I’m talking super quality, not just pretty colours. I always have my toes painted, but I just don’t have the patience or the skills to keep my fingers done all the time. Plus, Finn sticks my fingers in his mouth on a regular basis, and I really don’t want him eating nail polish if it can be avoided.

Secondly, the price seemed a little high to me. At $24.95 USD per box, plus a small shipping fee, you get three items a month. Granted, you do have the ability to swap items in your box for stuff that you really want, and there are also add-on options (for an additional fee), but that’s still one of the priciest boxes I’ve seen. I know, I know… Julep polishes run $14 USD each if you’re not a Maven member, so the box price is quite a steal. But added up every month? I wasn’t sure it would be worth it.

I couldn’t pass up the free box, though, so I forked over my shipping fee and eagerly awaited my package in the mail. I chose a box with two nail colours and a fancy top coat, and I was stoked to see what the brand could offer me.

Maven Box 1The dark, almost Barney-ish purple is called “Bette” and the coral, which has a lovely shimmer to it, is called “Laree”. This was my favourite of the two. I was stoked to learn that the formulas are formaldehyde free. The last free polish I tried, by wHet, had minimal odor and a nice long wear, so this gave me hope that the Julep polishes would perform the same way.

I was also really excited to try the top coat. It claimed to set like a gel, giving an ultra long lasting finish, drying in just five minutes, and lasting even longer if cured for two minutes under a 60 watt bulb. If I’m going to paint my fingers, I need something that’s going to stand up to hard use, so this was looking like a great at-home solution. My hopes were high and my fingers were crossed.

I started with the coral. The first coat applied smoothly and with a lot of pigment, but it seemed to take a long time to dry. This may have been why the second coat seemed to go on really… gloopy? Is that the word I’m looking for? Sure, the day I applied it was hot and humid, but I don’t think that should have made a difference. I did do the second coat outside, though, because this colour smelled terrible! For something that is supposed to be low on chemicals, it reeked. If I breathed the fumes too directly, I ended up coughing, and that is not a good thing.

In spite of these minor set backs, I was happy with the results. I used three coats of colour and one of the top coat:

Sorry about the crap picture; this is the only one I took with the finished nails in it. For shame.

Sorry about the crap picture; this is the only one I took with the finished nails in it. For shame.

The top coat dried quickly to the touch on most of my fingers. The middle finger on my right hand got a little damaged, but I probably hadn’t let the colour on that finger set all the way before applying the last layer. That was my own fault. The colour itself made me insanely happy. It’s gorgeous and bright. I just wish it had lasted longer.

I did my nails on a Sunday, and by the following Wednesday they were already starting to chip and peel. This is not what I was expecting from such a high end brand, particularly when I used their “gel” top coat. I wasn’t hard on my hands. I didn’t abuse them or so anything crazy like pull Lego apart. I just went about my every day stuff, and it didn’t hold up.

What a let down.

The other colour wasn’t much better. Where the coral applied really well, the purple went on runny and uneven on both my fingers and toes. I made sure to use a base coat, but I just couldn’t get a nail to come out evenly. This colour didn’t have such a harsh smell, but it took forever to dry. I only applied one coat every ten hours or so, and I was still getting nicks and dents in the finish. The fifth, and last, coat was left to dry for over two hours before I went to bed and it was nearly destroyed when I got up. I felt like I needed drying drops for this colour, and I really shouldn’t need them. Take a look at the result of base coat, five coats of colour, and a top coat:

Julep Bette (2)You can see how uneven it is. With five coats, I should have a glorious, lush colour. Instead, I got a watery, streaky, mess. I didn’t even bother to clean up any polish I got outside my nails, because at the first chip this colour is coming off. My toes look no better.

I don’t think I need to say it, but I will not be keeping my Maven subscription. In my opinion, the quality is just not there. I love some of their colours and tools; shipping was fast and efficient; it’s the product that’s not living up to my standards. If I feel like trying them again in the future, I’ll pick up a colour or two at Sephora.

 

Family Photos

When we were in Langley visiting Shawn’s family at the beginning of July, we got a “professional” photographer to do some family photos for us. Don’t worry, grammar nerds, I didn’t use those quotation marks for emphasis. I used them because I didn’t feel that the whole experience was all that professional. Granted, the photographer is just starting out, but if I was just entering my chosen field, I would want to put extra love and time into everything I did so my business would flourish. Shawn and I didn’t really feel that our experience was very pro.

The lady who did the session, owner of Louroo Photography, did the newborn photos for our niece, so Shawn’s mom thought she would be a good choice, and as she’s just starting out, the session fee wasn’t sky high. She was able to be flexible with two littles along for the ride, so that was nice, but for me, that’s where the good impressions ended.

The whole thing felt extremely rushed; I don’t think we were out for much more than an hour, if that, to photograph six adults and two babies. The time distribution between the three couples was also a little skewed, with us getting the short end of the stick. This was especially noticeable when we got the pictures back; not a single shot of just the two of us made it through. Apparently, they just weren’t good enough.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m getting pictures done and the photographer says something like, “Got it!” I assume they got a usable shot. If they say they got it and I find out later that they’re not happy with anything they took, that’s not likely to make me happy. When my mother in law asked what happened, she did say there was one that she felt okay about sending on, but so far we’ve seen nothing. That’s also not encouraging.

I could just be extremely spoiled when it comes to photographers and their work. Our wedding photographer, Kelly Redinger, was absolutely amazing. For example:

472-Bethany-Shawn-3752

This is not even one of the best shots. It’s not even one of the retouched shots. It’s just one of the many fabulous things that happened with a little bit of direction and his finger on the trigger. That’s one of the things I loved about him. He took pictures until he was sure he got exactly what he was looking for, no matter how long it took, and he gave us all of them, even the ones where we were blinking or making a funny face. That way, we had so much choice it was insane.

Then, there was the newborn photographer that we used, Kristen J Photography. She had the same kind of philosophy: it takes as long as it takes, and I’ll take as many shots as I need to get the best ones. (I mean, why not? It’s digital. Taking more photos doesn’t cost you any more. Sure, editing them does, but only edit the best ones.) For example:

2E3A57151

 

She was so patient with all of us, and was amazing at making us feel comfortable. For our session being the first meeting, this was a great skill to have. Also, trusting someone with your brand new baby isn’t easy, but I had no problems putting Finn in her capable hands.

The actual pictures we got from our family photo session were lacklustre. She has the general idea, but she needs to take way more shots to make sure she gets something that’s really great. That’s the joy of digital. More pictures does not equal more money required on the part of the photographer, unless they choose to edit them all, like I stated above. She also need to work a little on composition, but that could be my lack of love for overly staged shots coming through.

So, without further ado, these are the photos I didn’t hate:

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

071014_4699

071014_4731

071014_4815

Edited

There were also some where the babies were on their tummies, but I guess Natalya ended up in focus and Finn was blurry. I don’t know how that happened or how she didn’t notice. Oh well. Adorable photo op wasted.

There are a few things I should probably make clear: I didn’t dislike these most of these photos because I didn’t get my hair and makeup done, or because they weren’t retouched. I had one photo with pro hair/makeup above, and one where I did everything myself, and neither of them were retouched. I just think this particular photographer has some work to do. Some of the shots were okay, like the ones posted above, but this is not someone I would consider going back to in the future without evidence of some serious improvement.

Ipsy Glambag Reveal: July

I’m new to the whole makeup subscription thing. Yes, I’m late to the party, and I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to get it started. Let’s just say I’m doing it now, and so far, things have been good. My fist subscription is Ipsy. I had a Facebook friend post a referral link, so I went to check it out. Premium makeup samples for $10 a month (plus shipping)? Sign me up!

There are two ways you can get a subscription: one is to stick in out on the waiting list for a few weeks/months/who knows how long, and then you get an invitation to join up. The other is a little gimmicky, but for me it was well worth it in order to skip the wait. I had to share a referral link on Facebook, like their Facebook page, and subscribe to a YouTube channel. It was simple, and easy to unsubscribe if I found the updates to be too onerous.

Billing happens on the first of the month for each new bag you get, and that’s also when previews of what might show up in your bag start going out. Shipping starts in the middle of the month, but I didn’t get my July bag until it was almost August. Apparently, according to some long time subscribers that I talked to, this isn’t a common thing, but I was really frustrated. I had my tracking number, but my bag got stuck in North Carolina for weeks. E-mailing ipsyCare didn’t really do anything to help me out, either. I did get my bag, and that all the products arrived intact, so that’s the important thing. I will have an issue if shipping is still all over the place this month.

I would call the bags semi-custom; you take a little quiz when you first sign up, and that’s supposed to be used, in combination with feedback that you give on subsequent products, to put together your bags. I don’t know how well the quiz is actually used though, because my bag was a little all over the place. I did go in to review my products from this month, so we will see if I get any more duds in upcoming bags as things go on.

When my bag finally did arrive in the mail, I was very pleased to see the metallic pink bubble mailer. How pretty is that? I know it

Pink! Shiny!

Pink! Shiny!

doesn’t really matter what things are packaged in, but pretty packaging makes me happy. What would you rather have: yellow paper or metallic pink? I’ll take the fun mailer every time, because more zazz is a good thing.

The actual product comes in a new mini makeup bag each month, and for July it was a square neon bag with a scalloped edge. It might be a little on the bright side for some people, but I really love it. I was pleasantly surprised with how much it holds. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with a new bag each month. It will depend on the theme and size of the bag as to whether I use them for storage/organization or regifting. We will see how it goes.

The Bag and The Goodies!

The Bag and The Goodies!

My bag contained:

~Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 8

I was not excited to get tanning oil. I’m a lighter shade of see-through. I don’t tan, I burn. I shouldn’t be out in the sun with anything less than SPF 60; even if I could tan, I am fully aware of how terrible tanning is for your skin and your health. In short, don’t do it. I did, however, take a look at the ingredients. This stuff is chock full of hair healthy oils, so I thought I would give it a try as a hair oil. While it did make my hair ultra-soft, I was a little heavy handed with it, and my locks ended up a touch greasy. I think I forgot the fact that it was, foremost, a sunscreen. I’m going to try it again, but I won’t be spraying it directly on my hair. I’m going to spray it on my hand first and then rub in on just my ends, and then only sparingly.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil

Not for the fair of skin… or for anyone who wants healthy skin, period.

~POP Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer in Secret Sunshine

The bronzer was a nice surprise, and a great size for a sample bag. Not only is it not too dark for my skin, it’s very soft and easy to blend. It has a subtle shimmer, so I can get a sun kissed look without coming over all sparkly. I don’t use a bronzer every day, but my go-to has been Tarte Amazonian Clay Mineral Bronzer, which is a little bit darker; this will be a nice alternative for days that I want a bit of bronze, but don’t want anything too dramatic. It doesn’t have a harsh smell, and it didn’t irritate my skin, so two thumbs up on that count.

Pop Beauty Bronzer

Soft, subtle bronzer for the pale girls out there.

~wHet Nail Colour in Facetious

Facetious: The perfect polish name for me!

Facetious: The perfect polish name for me!

Until a few days ago, I don’t remember the last time I painted my finger nails. I usually just do my toes, and I like bright colours so they really stand out. The wHet polish already fit the bill on that count, and they have the added benefit of being cruelty free, and free from formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals. It doesn’t even smell terrible! I did find it a tad watery on application, but I only needed my standard three coats to get decent coverage. It claims to be 7-day chip proof, but I still gave it a finishing coat of Formula X to get a really glassy shine. The results, although a tad messy due to my need to rush with a 6-month-old baby in the house, are nice.

Facetious toes: Three coats of colour and one coat of Formula X top coat.

Facetious toes: Three coats of colour and one coat of Formula X top coat.

~Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass in Cherry

I would love to use stain on my lips more often. They give a really natural flush to lips, but without a ton of prep-work, my lips just don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, the Tints and Sass has a great colour. It’s easy to blend, lasted fairly well, and smells/tastes great. My lips just like to absorb all the colour right into the cracks and hold it there, so this is going to be purely used for my cheeks. On my cheeks, it was heavenly. A few dabs blended with my fingertips gave me a gorgeous rosy glow that lasted all day and didn’t make me break out, with is the main concern I have when using cream/gel/liquid cheek colour. Benetint used to be my favourite, but this is a strong contender. Oh, and it doesn’t just smell good, it smells like candy! Yum!

Candy scented colour that is easy to blend.

Candy scented colour that is easy to blend.

~bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 2.o in The Inspiration (Muse, Passion)

I haven’t been wearing eye shadow a whole lot recently, but getting this tiny duo got me out of that funk. The colours are smooth, soft, easy to blend, perfectly paired… the list goes on. The work just as well separately as they do together, which is something I always look for when I’m purchasing eye shadows in a set. Versatility is a big thing for me. The colours worked well in my look for every day. I tend to be a bit on the vintage side, and both the soft pink and wine with gold shimmer work well for that. I liked that the little package had two application suggestions, one for day and one for night. This like this are so easy to incorporate into product packaging, and I think they make makeup newbies a little more likely to try something out of their comfort zone.

Pretty shadows in a micro-compact.

Pretty shadows in a micro-compact.

Overall, I was pleased with my bag. The tanning oil was a big miss, but I’ve used all the other products more than once. I just checked my statement for this month, and I still haven’t been billed for my August bag. I’m hoping that there are going to be no more snafus. I’m going to give them a few days and then e-mail ipsyCare if nothing happens. The previews for this month, centering on a “back to school” theme, look good.

And now, for the face I created using the bag!

July Ipsy Face

Sorry about the glare on my specs…

As you can see, the stain got wedged into the dry spots in my lips. Before you say anything, I did use a scrub and a balm first. The bronzer was just the right shade for my skin, and I was actually please with how well everything in my bag worked together. With the exception of the tanning oil, it was fairly cohesive. Was it worth the $16 or so that I paid for the bag and the shipping? Absolutely.

I also subscribed to Topbox, and will be getting my first box this month, so look for a review when that gets here. I also got a free Maven box from Julep, so I’ll be reviewing that in the next few days, along with some sweet deals I picked up at Superstore. Joe Fresh Makeup doesn’t suck! Who knew?

 

Featured in the above look:

~Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer

~Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

~Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation in Fair (now called Fair Sand)

~Make Up Forever Super Matte Loose Powder

~Nyx Blush in Pinched

~L’Oreal Miss Manga Mascara in Blackest Black

Click the links above to check out or purchase any of the products for yourself!

Taking a Look at Disposable Breast Pads

It’s not as much of a problem as it used to be, but when my son was first born, and even in the days leading up to his birth, I had leaky boobs. Even now, with Finn sleeping eleven or so hours a night, going to bed without some sort of protection can be hazardous, so I’ve taken it upon myself to look into as many types of breast pads as possible. There are so many varieties on the market, and most of them claim to do the same thing, so I was curious how the various brands compared. I’ve tried out seven different brands, not including the day and night version from the same company, and I’ll go over what I liked and didn’t like in each one.

(I should note that I didn’t consider washable breast pads for the same reason that I didn’t consider cloth diapers. Laundry in our house doesn’t always get done. It’s just not a feasible thing. When you have both a chronic illness and a baby, sometimes you need to pick the convenient option, and this was one of those times.)

So, what was I looking for in a breast pad? I wanted something that:

-Absorbed well;
-Was discreet;
-Stayed in place;
-Was comfortable and
-Didn’t irritate my skin.

Would I be able to find something that ticked all the boxes? Let’s find out.

First up, Philips Avent Day Pads.

 

They’re wrapped individually, and are easy to get out of the package because of the cross-over slit. If I needed to fiddle with them one-handed, it wasn’t a problem in the slightest. These pads have one adhesive strip, and stay in place fairly well, even if you use them through more than one feeding. I did find, however, that the inner material got bunched up if you pushed them down and pulled them up repeatedly. They also required careful placement in order not to be seen if you were using them with a soft cup bra. They were fairly soft on my skin, didn’t cause irritation, and absorbed a lot of liquid when I needed them to, so that was a bonus. The also provided ample coverage, so they will work for most breast sizes.

Individually wrapped, with an easy open, cross-over flap.

Individually wrapped, with an easy open, cross-over flap.

Outside

Outside

Inside, featuring leak guard ripples.

Inside, featuring leak guard ripples.

These are a buy if:

-You need something with structure
-Most of your bras have molded cups
-You need more coverage

The Philips Avent Night Pads are the same basic idea, with a few alterations. There are two adhesive strips, which keeps them in place much better, especially if you use the same pair through multiple feedings. They are supposed to be more absorptive, but I didn’t notice a difference, although they do have added leak guard rippled on the inside. Other than that, they are exactly the same in terms of feel and performance.

The same nifty packaging as the day pads, but with moons instead of suns.

The same nifty packaging as the day pads, but with moons instead of suns.

Outside, with two adhesive strips.

Outside, with two adhesive strips.

Inside, with a double row of leak guards.

Inside, with a double row of leak guards.

These are a buy if:

-You need structure
-You need better adhesion
-Most of your bras have molded cups
-You need more coverage

I tried the pads from Johnson’s after getting a sample set from the hospital. These guys have a lot of structure, and hold their shape well. They have a nipple form on the outside, so they are good for wearing under form-fitting clothing… but only if you have a smaller bust. I found that the pad itself didn’t have a lot of surface area, so if I was wearing a soft cup bar, it tended to look like I had extra large nipples. This wasn’t  bad, but it wasn’t the greatest. The small surface area made them less than ideal for sleep, as well. I did find them to be very soft and comfortable to wear, and they absorbed a lot of fluid if I needed them to. I would probably buy them again if I needed something really natural looking for a special occasion, but they didn’t really meet my every day needs. Also, with a lack of individual packaging, they just weren’t right for on the go.

The nipple shape of the Johnson's pad.

The nipple shape of the Johnson’s pad.

An inner indent meant no chaffing, even on high sensitivity days.

An inner indent meant no chaffing, even on high sensitivity days.

These are a buy if:

-You have a smaller bust
-You need a lot of structure
-You wear mostly soft cup bras

Medela makes some really great pumping gear, so I figured I would love their breast pads. I was wrong. The first thing I noticed was how noisy they were, even then I was wearing them. If I was moving around a lot, there was a definite crinkle in my chest area. They were, however, surprisingly no-show, probably due in part to the pleat at the bottom of the pad. It gave them a nice shape without a lot of added bulk. They were able to absorb a ton of liquid, but I didn’t find them overly soft, they didn’t stay in place well due to a lack-lustre adhesive strip, and if I chose to leave them alone through multiple feedings, they didn’t keep their shape. These were not one that I considered going back to for any reason. (Note: The pads being shown on the website are very different from the ones I had. I’m hoping these are a newer model, and if I could find them, I would give them a shot.)

Once again, individually wrapped.

Once again, individually wrapped.

A bottom pleat made for minimal show through, no matter the bra, but you could hear them with the slightest movement.

A bottom pleat made for minimal show through, no matter the bra, but you could hear them with the slightest movement.

Medela i

The Ameda pads that I tried intrigued me because of their unique, triangular shape. All the other pads that I had see and tried thus far has been round, so I wanted to see that kind of advantage another shape could have. First off, they’re perfect for bras with a smaller cup, but they lack an adhesive strip altogether, so they weren’t great for overnight use or for use with larger bras or multiple feedings. They are very comfortable and quiet to wear, and the absorbency was up there with all the larger pads I tried. They also maintained their shape well, but tended to get twisted around in larger bras. They come wrapped in sets of two instead of as singles, which cuts back on the amount of garbage, so that was nice.

Ameda i

Packaged in pairs!

Packaged in pairs!

Slight nipple contouring, but not so pronounced as with the Johnson's.

Slight nipple contouring, but not so pronounced as with the Johnson’s.

These are a buy if:

-You wear bras with smaller cups
-You have a smaller bust
-You’re looking for something with no adhesive

Up&Up are the Target house brand, and for the price, I was surprised with the quality. The adhesive strip is really big, but wasn’t as sticky as I would have liked. The pad itself covers a lot of area, so it’s great for larger busts and bigger bras, but tends to peak out of smaller cup bras. They’re soft, quiet, and non irritating, but they claim to have a “no leak backing”. In theory, this is great, but I found that they didn’t breath very well, so I didn’t use them for over night wear. If I did, my boobs felt clammy in the morning, and I needed to let them breathe for a while afterwards. absorbency was good, however, and I really think the plasticky backing was overkill. (I forgot to get photos of these before I ran out).

These are a buy if:

-You need performance on a budget
-You have a larger bust
-You’re looking for occasional wear, and don’t need pads overnight

My favourite pads, by far, are the ones by Lansinoh. They are the softest of all the ones I tried, and are easy to hide no matter what kind of bra or top I’m wearing. They are the only pad I tried that wasn’t specifically a night pad that has two adhesive strips, so the pads stay in place really well. They also hold a ton of moisture. I don’t know what’s in them, but it absorbs a lot. The only downfall of the material is that it can start feeling a tad squishy if you leak a lot all at once. These were the best all around pad, and the ones that I keep on going back to.

Easy open, individual packaging.

Easy open, individual packaging.

Double adhesive strips to keep the pads in place.

Double adhesive strips to keep the pads in place.

Lansinoh i

These are a buy if:

-You need sometime for both day and night wear
-You have sensitive skin
-You need something to reliably stay in place

The last one I tried is Parent’s Choice, the Walmart house brand. These weren’t bad, but I found that I liked the Target brand better. These were a little smaller on surface area, and unlike the Target ones, were not individually packaged. They did have the advantage of not having the plasticky backing, but the smaller surface area was a bigger detriment in my mind. Softness and absorbency was fine, but they did tend to bunch with extended wear. (I forgot to get photos of these before I ran out).

Parents Choice i Parents Choice o

These are a buy if:

-You’re looking for a pad for a smaller bust
-You’re on a budget

For “bust size” reference, all of my nursing and maternity bras are 36 D-DD, so I’m a little on the larger side. I also have fairly sizeable nipples, so I like some coverage. I should also note that since Finn has started solids, I’m not having as much leakage. That doesn’t mean that I can go pad free. Every time I try, my boobs decide to get milk every where.

The Lansinoh were my clear winners (did I mention each box comes with breast milk storage bags?), but the only ones I would hesitate to buy again are the pads by Medela, which was a big surprise. I didn’t really experience any irritation with any of the brands, unless you count waking up feeling like I had slept in a plastic bag after wearing the Up & Up pads all night, although I don’t have overly sensitive boobs or nipples. There is definitely something out there for everyone and, more importantly, every boob. Happy feeding!

Word Crimes and Blogging

I read a fair few blogs. Some I’ve stumbled across, some are by friends and family, and some are just random posts and not blogs that I read on a regular basis. I’ve started to notice a startling trend: some people who blog can’t write.

I’m not saying that the ideas aren’t there. They just don’t have the technical skills to make what they’re writing about readable, at least not for me. There are a few things that I need to have, or need to not have, in a post to make it an enjoyable read:

  • Proper punctuation
    • Really, periods and commas are not that hard to use. If you’re finished with a though, use a period. If you need to put a pause or break in a thought, you will most often use a comma. I’m not going to go into the more difficult stuff, and I’m using the term difficult very loosely.
  • Proper spelling
    • If you’re not sure how to spell something, it’s not hard to find an online dictionary to look it up, and that’s assuming the word processor/blog editor/website doesn’t point out misspellings with a fat red line. Granted, sometimes the red lines are wrong. WordPress doesn’t recognize Canadian spelling for things like favourite, but if a word is underlined, it’s worth taking a look.
  • A lack of run-on sentences
    • This ties back to my first point. If you know how to use periods and commas, odds are high that you’re not going to have many run–ons peppering your writing. If however you don’t feel the need to break up your thoughts when you’re writing then it stands to reason that you’re going to end up writing an awful lot of run-on sentences that make things really hard for potential readers to get through your posts or make sense of what you’re trying to say without mentally inserting their own punctuation. (See what I did there? Example!)
  • Paragraphs
    • I find it really hard to read when people forget to use paragraphs. If your blog posts look like one huge chuck of text, you need to take a trip back to basic English and learn when and how to use paragraphs. It’s great for thought organization.
  • No text slang
    • Seriously. You have a full keyboard. Use real, complete words.

I’m by no means saying that I’m perfect, especially when I’m writing a post on the iPad (damn you autocorrect!) I do, however, think that I have the required skills to bang out a post that’s not so awful it makes other lovers of the English language want to assassinate me, or, at the very least, attack me with a red editing pen. In an age where there are so many online resources available to bloggers, especially those built right into blog editors, I find this kind of stuff inexcusable.

But don’t take my word for it.