Reviews

Woman Seeking: The Perfect Palette Non-Tag Tag

I saw this tag floating around on YouTube, and thought it was such an interesting idea. So I decided to do it, blog style. I’ve had a crazy couple of days, and for that reason I didn’t get any pictures of the palettes mentioned…sad face! But if you’re up for some old school reading and curious as to what my picks are, continue on, my friend! 

Best Packaging – I‘m not sure if these really count as palettes, but I have two quads that I’m impressed with every single time I use them. The first is from Estée Lauder and the second is from Clinique, and I received each as a bonus gift with purchase when buying some other product at some point in time. I don’t use them too often, but they’ve lasted forever and are amazing quality not only in terms of product but the packaging for the samples are great as well. They’re literally just mini little shrunken eyeshadow quads. The Clinique is a white case with Clinique written in silver on the bottom edge, and the other is the signature Estée Lauder blue with the gold EL emblem in the center of the lid. The colors are neutral with ivories, bronze, pink,and olive. So pretty. Seriously, every time I use one I’m taken aback by how good these are. 

Best Color Payoff – I have to give it to my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette. The matte colors are so pigmented and soft without being too powdery. I’ve used this for eyeshadow, brow filler, and in a pinch for contouring and the colors show up wonderfully. 

Most Versatile – This may be odd, but I think the Ultimate Contour Palette from Napoleon Perdis is the most versatile palette I own! It has a blush, bronzer, and highlighter which can be used as they are intended for, obviously. The bronzer and highlighter could also be used on the eyes to create a simple eye look, and the blush could be combined with a Lipbalm to create a lip color. That’s a lot of multitasking possibility in a pinch for such a little palette. 

Best for Traveling – Stila’s In the Buff palette is my go-to palette for traveling. It has an even mix of shimmer and matte shadows in natural, slightly pink toned hues, as well as an all over face shimmer and a bronzer. This cuts down on the amount of items I pack in my makeup kit, and is super slim and compact which makes it a dream for traveling. 

Biggest Regret – I included this is my post about makeup regrets which you can find here, but I will say once again that I super regret this NYX The Natural Eyeshadow palette. It wasn’t expensive, but the color payoff is terrible for every single color and I never use it. I may have even thrown it out since this post, but this always comes to mind when I think of regretting a palette. 

Best Color Names – The Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palette by Too Faced is probably the palette I’m happiest with in terms of color names. I know I’m definitely in the minority here, but it drives me crazy when I have not even a hint of an idea as to what color a product is simply by reading the name (I’m looking at you, Urban Decay!). If I owned the Lorac Pro palette, I would have picked that as my favorite because the names are incredibly straight forward, no guessing needed…but I do not. I think the Chocolate Bar comes close with cute names that are at least related to the color it’s being used for. Strawberry Bon Bon? Probably some shade of strawberry (it’s pink). Haute Chocolate? Maybe a fancy shade of brown (it’s a shimmery brown). And some colors, like White Chocolate, Semi Sweet, and Hazelnut, are the exact color as would be the food item by the same name. I dig it. 

Least Used – I purchased the Art in the Streets eyeshadow palette from Wet n Wild to see I would actually use brighter colors before plunking down the cash for Urban Decay’s Electric palette, and I’m so glad I did…because I never use it. Ever. I keep thinking I will use it to add a pop of color on my lower lash line but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m going to try to use it that way sometime soon though! The colors are really nice, especially for spring and summer. 

Most Used – This is a tie between NYC’s Long Beach Sands trio and Urban Decay’s Naked Basics. If I don’t know what to do, or I don’t want to think about it, I will grab one of these two eyeshadow palettes. It just depends if I’m feeling ore matte or metallic. I’ve had the NYC trio longer than I’ve had the UD, so I guess technically it is my most used, but if you averaged out use and ownership period, I think it’d be pretty even. 

Most Loved – I have a soft spot for my Urban Decay Feminine eyeshadow palette. It was my very first highend eyeshadow palette, and one of my first high end makeup purchases. And I got it on sale! Although if you know me this isn’t a huge shock. 

Desert Island – If I could only bring one palette with me to a desert island, I would bring my 144 shadow palette from ELF. It has an incredibly variety of shades, and although the quality can be hit and miss, there are considerably more hits than misses. Plus, being 144 shadows it will take me forever to hit pan on the entire thing, ensuring my eyes will be gorgeous no matter how long I’m stuck on this island where figuring out which palette to bring with me is my only concern. 

I have a couple more palettes or quads (seriously, what constitutes a palette?!) that I wish I could mention, but alas they didn’t fit any of the catagories. What are some of your favorite palettes? I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: 10 Under $10 – Body

Well, we’ve come to the third and final part of this week’s 10 Under $10 series! If you need to get caught up, you can find the first part – Makeup – here, and the second part – Skincare – here. As I’ve said before, each item on the list costs $10 USD or less before any discounts, coupons, or taxes. I haven’t included any specific prices, as they can vary from place to place, but I went based on the price I would pay at my local store At the time of posting. Today I’m going over ten items for the body, including hair and nails. Let’s get started!

  

  1.  Mario Badescu A. H. A. Botanical Body Soap – This is the best wash to help keep my body acne at bay. It doesn’t smell that great, but it’s not awful either, though occasionally I’ll mix this with a couple drops of my yummy smelling body washes for a bit of an extra boost. It’s a mild formula, however, that works well without drying my skin out. This comes in two sizes, and while the large 16 oz. DOES cost over $10, the 8 oz. is under, and I’ve only ever purchased the smaller size so I decided that it would be okay to include it!                   
  2. Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub – I like this scrub because it’s exfoliating without being painful, and also leaves my skin with a bit of hydration. Even though it contains oils, I am still able to use this prior to self tanning.  I’ve only ever tried the Hawaiian Kukui scent (which I love and can’t seem to stray from), but there are a half a dozen options available.              
  3. Batiste Dry Shampoo – I don’t like washing my hair every day, but on the days I don’t wash I need something to help my hair look fresh. This dry shampoo soaks up excess oil without overdrying my scalp. It also comes in a few different scent – my favorites are Wild and Blush.           
  4. L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo – When I do shampoo my hair, I use this to clean without damaging it. It smells great without being overpowering, and never leaves my hair feeling stripped or squeaky. I haven’t found a basic shampothat o I’ve liked or has worked this well for me in a couple of years, and I’m terrified of my hair “getting used to it” and it losing its effectiveness. Anyone else know what I mean, or how to avoid that?                     
  5. Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer – I wear nail polish 90% of the time due to my bad habit of biting my nails (which wearing nail polish somehow helps me not do), once in a while I do like to let my nails breathe inbetween polish sessions. Since I still want my nails to look nice, I like to use this baby to give my nails shine for a faux clear polish look. It really does give your nails that much shine. It’s easy to use and works quickly, which is great for me, because not only am I impatient, but I don’t want to spend to much time staring at my unpolished nails or I’ll start to pick and bite.             
  6. Josie Maran BearNaked Nail Wipes – Chipped and peeling nailpolish drives me insane, so having these handy little wipes is a dream come true. While the picture is just an empty packet of a sample I used the other night, the real product comes in a jar of 20 wipes. The ingredients are nourishing without leaving your fingers feeling greasy or oily, meaning if I want, I can apply a fresh coat of polish right away. One pad is enough for all of my fingers, and they don’t have the typical nail polish remover odor, making them perfect to keep in my pursers use if I have an issue while I’m out and about. I can remove my nail polish without suffocating those around me.                  
  7. Wet N Wild Wild Shine Clear Nail Protector – If you’re looking for a cheap top coat, try this one on for size. The Brian isn’t too wide or narrow for my nails, and the formula isn’t too thick or liquidy. It keeps my polish shiny and chip free for days, even if I have a crappy polish on underneath. I’m terrible about reapplying my topcoat every 2-3 days, and this one helps me get away with my laziness. When I need a basic, no frills topcoat that will just WORK, I will always reach for this.                
  8. Bath & Body Works PocketBac – While I do keep a bottle of Germ-X in my car door, these PocketBac’s are my favorite antibacterial hand gels. I only need a small amount and the bottle pits in even my smallest purse. They come in dozens of different scents, though be warned – like most BBW products they are heavily perfumed, so I don’t recommend using these in a small or crowded space!          
  9. Lush Butterball Bath Bomb – If you enjoy baths or are interested in testing out a Lush product, I highly recommend this bath bomb. The scent is a mix of vanilla and ylang ylang, which is cozy without being suffocating. It’s perfect for rehydrating your skin, as it has bits of cocoa butter in it, and I rarely feel the need to use lotion after a Butterball bath.   
  10. Dr. Teal’s Soften & Nourish Epsom Salt Soaking Solution – Epsom salts have a ton of benefits, and can be used in multiple ways. I usually use it as a bath soak, or mixed with a bit of body wash or oil to use as an in shower scrub. This scent is so comforting and relaxing…I love to throw this in the bath and then shut the bathroom door for a bit so the fragrance fills the room. Dr. Teal’s salts come in a few other varieties, but the Soften & Nourish formula is me favorite. 

Some of these are favorites for the price, and some of these are favorites regardless of price, but all are great products to check out. I hope you enjoyed this week’s series! Let me know in the comments, and include YOUR favorite Under $10 products as well!

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: 10 Under $10 – Skincare

Aaand we’re back! In case you missed it, this week I’m doing a 10 Under $10 series featuring makeup, skin, and body products that cost less then $10 each. Each product costs $10 USD or less before any discounts, coupons, or taxes and I based it on what I would pay at my local store. However, I’m not including prices, since prices may vary in different stores and areas. I’ve already posted about the 10 Under $10 – Makeup article, which you can go back and read here, and today I’ll be talking Skincare. Without further ado, here it is!                   

  

  1. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle face wash – Available in both creamy and foaming formulas, this cleanser is my go-to drugstore cleanser. It cleans without overdrying, and is gentle enought to use around my eye area (carefully!). I only need one pump to do the job, so the 12 fl. oz. bottle will last quite a while, helping my get the most for my  money. 
  2. ELF Blemish Stick – With 1% Salcylic Acid, I love to throw this in my purse if I’m having a particularly bad skin week. It’s so cheap, I’m not upset if I lose it and need to replace it, unlike some of my other treatments that cost a biiit more. While the rollerball application method isn’t the most hygenic, if you are careful to apply to clean skin or replace regularly it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I prefer to roll a bit on my (clean) finger and then apply, as opposed to applying straight to my face.         
  3. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater – If you follow my blog at all than this pick is no surprise. This is my all time favorite facial spray. It helps with hydration and slightly calms down my skin as well. I use this both under and over facial lotion, as well as by itself. I have used this over makeup too, if I’m looking a bit powdery, although it is NOT meant to prolong makeup.            
  4. Sephora Sheet Mask in Rose – This was the first sheet mask I tried, and I was very impressed. It added moisture (ugh that word!) back into my skin without clogging the pores of my acne prone skin. After use my skin felt softer, and the results lasted a couple of days. Plus there is a ton of serum, or gel, in the packet, so you can use the extra on your neck and décolletage. 
  5. ELF Eye Refresh – Ok, I’ll be honest, this is nothing special. If you’re looking for something to really benefit the skin and/or help with dark circles this is not for you. However, if you’re looking for something soothing to perk your eyes up a bit, this is great. I use it when I’m feeling tired or hot (this is so handy in the summer). The metal rollerball feels wonderful on the skin and doesn’t tug or get caught up. I needed a no frills eye roller, and this works great for me for the time being.            
  6. Freeman Beauty Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask – Long name, great product. Freeman Beauty has great face masks in general, b I like this one because of its dual purpose. Not only can I use this as a regular face mask, but I can also use it as an exfoliator if my skin is feeling extra rough. It is one of the more harsher scrubs, so I try to be extra gentle and rub it onto my skin very gently as not to aggravate or scrape my skin, but when I need a good scrub this does the job wonderfully.          
  7. Water bottle – Like how I snuck this in here? Drinking enough water is the quickest way for me to improve my skin. Water bottles can be bought at almost any store and come in a variety of different styles for a huge range of price points. My favorite water bottles at the moment are from Camelbak (I think I got it at Target? Or my local bicycle shop) and Rove (I got it as a gift but I’ve seen them at TJ Maxx). I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink water, so make sure to include a water bottle into your beauty budget!             
  8. Lush Lip Scrub – If you’re in the market for a lip scrub, give this one a try. It’s grainy formula is perfect for sloughing away dead skin, and it’s ease of use is a winner with me. You simply apply it with your finger and rub it all over, and then lick it off! I have this in Bubblegum, but it also comes in Mint and Popcorn, as well as the occasional limited edition flavor at certain times of the year. I may or may not have put some of this one, then left my house and got in my car before rubbing and scrubbing and removing it.             
  9. Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen – If you are worried about sunscreen clogging your pores and causing a breakout, worry no more. I discovered this last summer and have used it ever since, and not a single zit I have can be blamed on this product. Wearing sunscreen year round is important, but people forget. So here is your reminder! It’s spring and that means summer is right around the corner. The sun is closer (literally), so even if it’s a cloudy day, make sure to slap some of this on every few hours.           
  10. Boscia Blotting Linens – Perhaps a little pricy for an oil absorbing sheet, I love these. My favorites are the Charcoal. I prefer these to a really popular drugstore option because these aren’t as obvious in showing how much oil is removed. While some really love watching the little blue sheet turn clear, I find it super embarrassing, so these are a much better option. If you look closely, you can see where it’s clean vs where it’s used, but people around you couldn’t. These also smell wonderful. 

Sorry about the lack of pictures for the ELF products! I keep them packed in my travel bag, which I don’t have handy. Look for an edit sometime soon! Either way, the ten products listed above are all great options for those on a budget, or even for those not on a budget in many cases. Skincare is one area to splurge in if possible, in my opinion, but if a product is effective then who cares what it costs? Keep an eye out for the last part in this series, where I highlight 10 Under $10 for the body, including hair and nails! 

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: 10 Under $10 – Makeup

Spring is a wonderful time because not only does it bring warmth and sunshine, but it also brings sales! Who doesn’t love a good sale? But eventually those sales end, and you still need (or want 😉) some new products, without breaking the bank. Enter this week’s 10 Under $10 series! I’m going to feature ten makeup, skincare, and body products that I love that cost less than $10 each. I stuck with products that were $10 USD before taxes, coupons, or discounts. I didn’t include prices as they can vary from store to store, but did base this on what I would pay at the time of posting. Now that everything is all explained, let’s get to the products! 

10 Under $10 – Makeup

    

  1. L’Oreal True Match liquid foundation – With a huge range of colors, tones (cool, neutral, or warm), and two finishes (Original or Lumi), this foundation works for a wide variety of people. I had a tough time deciding between this or Maybelline Fit Me, but L’Oreal’s finish is so natural and skin-like that it beats out Maybelline’s by just a smidge. The formula is lightweight yet has buildable coverage, with a hint of SPF.      
  2. Essence Lipliners – Creamy and pigmented, these lipliners are my absolute favorite. And they are so cheap! My favorite is “In The Nude,” a soft, neutral color I can use with pretty much anything. “Satin Mauve” is another highly used color that is a favorite among many. These also work well on their own or under a simple gloss.      
  3. Jack Black lipbalm – I know a lot of people have a hard time paying anything over $2 for Lipbalm, but this stuff…there are no words. It is amazing! It brings relief to dry lips, and stays put without feeling sticky. I’ve turned quite a few people onto this balm, and one guy even went out and bought two more after receiving one as a gift from me, juuust at in case he misplaced one!  The flavors these come in are so unique, though it is available in a simple Shea version, and Mint as well.      
  4. ELF Studio brushes – Quality brushes make applying your makeup so much easier, but this line proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to have quality brushes. There are eye brushes and face brushes, all with sleek black handles. The bristles are soft and don’t fall out after one wash either, making them incredibly worth the money. for anyone wondering why I chose these over Real Techniques brushes, I went by the fact I can buy three of these for the cost of one Real Technique brush, and I like them equally!        
  5.  Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara – I don’t know if I have a favorite mascara, but this one comes the closest. I’ve bought multiple tubes over the years and will continue to repurchase because it just WORKS. It doesn’t clump on me, and gives volume without sacrificing length. Plus, it’s easy to remove.       
  6. NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder – Brows frame your face and help bring attention to your eyes, so it’s important to give them some attention, especially if you’re not blessed with wonderful brows naturally. This little wonder has wax, two brow color shades, a mini spooly and mini angled brush to make filling them in a breeze. The color for blondes is also high quality, and doesn’t fun too warm, which can be hard to find.        
  7. Hard Candy eyeshadow single in Attractive – Part shimmery, part metallic, completely wonderful. This brown can be built up or sheeted out, making it a great color for when you simply don’t want to think. This is the only color I have from this line, but I like it so much I had to include it.       
  8. NYX lip anything – From their famous butter glosses, to the lip creams, to the jumbo lip crayons, NYX knows their way around a lip product. The pigmentation is great, and color color selection has brights, nudes, and vampy colors, with plenty in between. They also smell delicious! Well, most of them. Those jumbo lip pencils are nothing to write home about, but the glosses smell incredible!        
  9. Rimmel London lipsticks by Kate Moss – I have a pinky nude and a real red from this line, and I love both of them. They apply easily, wear well, and the colors are gorgeous. They also smell pretty good too, in case you wondered. The packaging is classy, with either a red tube with black “Kate” signature, or a black tube with a red signature, so if I’m in a situation that calls for me to be much more of an adult than I think I am, this lipstick won’t blow my cover if I pull it out of my clutch in the powder room for a touch up.        
  10. ELF Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder – this is such an amazing little duo that includes a huge mirror. I’ve heard this suggested as a dupe for Nars Laguna/Orgasm duo, but I find the blush is just a tad more peach. Either way, it’s gorgeous and the bronzer is great too. It has some shimmer, but it barely shows on my skin, which is good because this girl does not like shimmer face products! 

Stayed tuned this week for 10 Under $10 skincare and body products, and share your thoughts on! Are there any $10 products you love that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO, WSM


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Woman Seeking: A Simple & Sweet Spring Makeup Look

When the temperature starts warming up and the sun starts shining for longer and longer each day, I start to bring spring into all aspects of my life. I wear more fresh perfumes than sultry scents, break out the lilac and beach scented candles, and throw open my windows (so what if the high is 45 degrees F? This is the Midwest. That’s basically bikini weather!). Among these changes is a switch up in my makeup products. To me, spring makeup is polished but light. It’s not quite time for the messy sexy bronzers and neon that can be rocked during the summer, but the vampy lips and flawless full coverage foundations of winter are a little too heavy. Typically I like to go with a fresh, natural look paired with a bright lip. It looks pulled together and chic yet still has a hint of fun. Here I’ve thrown together the look I’ve been wearing a lot lately that helps me perfectly transition from winter to spring! 



First, I’m going to start with a pore minimizing primer, such as my Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser. To be honest, I do not like this particular one, but I want to use it up, and I’m running low on the one I actually DO like (Benefit’s The Porefessional), so I’ve been grabbing this instead. I smear it all over my face and wait about 5 minutes or so before moving on to the next step. This helps in sink it and do it’s job. If I were to immediately go in with my next product, I could end up with a big mess or a patchy application. 



After my primer has set I go in with my lightest foundation, the Napoleon Perdis Boudoir Mist Spray Foundation. I’m in the shade Look 1. I absolutely love this foundation. When I first bought it, I was disappointed because I thought it applied funny. Once I got a hang of the application, however, I changed my tune. This is so incredibly light on the skin and yet has a buildable coverage. And it still looks like skin! And the shade is spot on! Ugh. So much love. I’ve never tried a spray foundation before this, but I really see a difference. I grabbed this when all Napoleon Perdis products were 75% off at Ulta, and now I’m so sad because it is currently only available at Nordstrom (that I know of) and I don’t have a Nordstrom anywhere near me. Plus this stuff is pricyyy. I don’t know how long the can is going to last me but I’m trying to ration it. Anyhow, I work in areas when applying this, spraying it lightly on one area and buffing it in using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush before moving on to the next. Occasionally I’ll spray it on the back of my hand and dip my brush in, but I only use this method for the parts of my face I’m scared to spray (like around my eyes). 



I apply a little bit of a lightweight highlighting concealer under my eyes, in between my brows, and on the outsides of my eyes and use th same brush I used for my foundation to gently blend it onto my face. Here I used Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. Since I don’t have too much to cover up int he way of dark circles, this just helps bring some life to my face. I also set this with a bit of powder to prevent creasing. Today I forgot powder so I actually used Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow in 10 Ivory Box. Hey, whatever works, right?



I always like to do my brows before doing my eye makeup. Especially if you have more nonexistent brows like I do, I think doing your eyeshadow before brows can easily lead to an overdone look. Brows frame the face and bring attention to the eyes, but if they’re done second, I find I try to use eyeshadow to bring attention to that area, and after filling in my brows the effect is too intense. If I fill in my brows first, I use less eye makeup and also have a better idea of where the shadows should be placed (hard to line up a wing with athe end of an eyebrow you can’t see). I’ve been a loyal Anastasia Beverly Hills Fan for a while, flipping between the DipBrow and the Brow Wiz, both in the shade Taupe. Clearly, I used the Brow Wiz today. 



I’ve really been liking no-fuss eye looks lately. I think they pair perfectly with a spring bright lip and can work for both day or night. I used the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 hr Cream Eyeshadow pot in Bad to the Bronze. It’s the perfect wash of color that adds dimension without looking too dark for the daytime. I was super skeptical about these not creasing on me sans primer, but they don’t! They blend well and stay put on the lid. These can also be used under powder eyeshadows as a base. If I do something in the evening, I usually take a darker brown powder eyeshadow and throw it in the crease and outer V and call it good. 



Using my Modern Minerals small dome eyeshadow brush, I highlight my brow and inner corners with the Essence eyeshadow in Vanilla Milkshake. It has a touch of shimmer and is such a bargain, I picked this up during a sale for less than $0.50! I feel like this may also be a beautiful budget cheek highlight, but I’m not big into cheek highlighting so someone with more knowledge will have to test this out and let me know!



I get nervous using cream products because of my already oily skin, but I find this Stila Convertable Color to work wonderfully with this foundation. I use my Real Techniques Stippling Brush and dab it in the product, and then do a couple of dabs on the back of my hand to get off any excess color before stippling the remainder on my cheeks. I place blush a little further back because that is what works with my face shape. I have a ruddy Complextion to begin with, so I want to be very careful where I’m placing my blush as to not undo any covering up that I accomplished with my foundation. This way my flush is only where I want it. This sample in the shade Peony is perfect for traveling as well, and looks so natural. 



While there is NOTHING wrong with letting your pale skin be pale, I like to add a hint of bronzer for dimension. I start with a liiiiight contour and blend, and add a bit on my forehead to balance it out. This also sets anything that may need setting. I use just the tiniest bit of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer in Medium/Deep and went in with a light hand. I want my real skin to show and to look healthy, not overly made up. 



I skip eyeliner and give my lashes a quick curl using my Shiseido curler (you try taking a picture while wielding an eyelash curler -_-) and then add a couple coats of black mascara. Although I’m not a fan of plastic wands, I’ve really been impressed with Maybelline’s The Rocket Volum’ Express. The wand doesn’t poke or hurt my eyes, which is usually my biggest problem with plastic mascara wands. 



Last but not least I pop on a bit of lip product. I have been obsessed with MAC’s Girl About Town lipstick lately. Unfortunately, i needed a more low maintainance lip today so instead went with my Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in 001 Honey. It’s the easiest shade to wear and because it’s in crayon form I can apply this without a mirror when on the go. It fades nicely as well, and is comfortable on the lips. It also smells like mint! 



So there it is! A simple, easy look that is pulled together but natural. I included pictures in different lighting as well as close ups so you can see how the makeup wears in as real life as I can show with my iPhone. I think this just melts into the skin so flawlessly and creates that fresh faced look I wish I had naturally. 





I am not wearing this same face look or mascara here, but I wanted to show what I meant by a simple face and bright lip. This is MAC’s Girl About Town. I wore this a week ago when I tried to force it to be spring. You’re welcome, by the way…pretty sure that’s why it’s now warmer. 😉

Do you switch up your look when the seasons change? How are you celebrating spring?

XOXO, WSM

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Woman Seeking: The Lowdown on Boxycharm

A few months ago I subscribed to my first (and only) beauty subscription box. Beauty box subscriptions seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason. Beauty boxes allow a person to try out products for a discounted price. There are dozen of different box services, which can feature nail, makeup, hair, skin, and bath products in both travel and/or full sizes at a variety of price points. After a lot of research, I finally decided to subscribe to Boxycharm. I received my third box today, and decided to do a little review on my experience thus far. 

Boxycharm delivers 4-5 products to your door every month for $21. The products are nearly all full size, with one travel or sample size. The brands featured are brands that I usually haven’t heard of before, although there are products from more widely known brands included as well. Boxes are shipped out and received around the mid or later part of the month. Boxes are themed, which is fun, but because  the boxes are sent so late it can sometimes conflict or defeat the purpose of the theme. For example, February’s box was Valentine themed, including a heart filled nailpolish. Except, almost no one got their package in time for Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to wear that polish. So depending on how picky you are, that could be a bother. You receive an email letting you know your box has been shipped, and it includes a tracking code so you can follow its progress. I really like that feature. I always track my packages and while some companies are awesome at this, others don’t have this option, or it takes a day or two for the tracking to finally activate. The moment I receive the email I can begin tracking my box. So far, each box I have received has had a value of over $100. This is an incredible deal and I don’t know how the company manages it, but I’m not complaining! Included in the box is a product description for each item, and its value. I like that for the travel or sample sized item, the company includes the value of the sample, as opposed the price for the full sized version of the sample product. Did that make sense? I hope so. 

There is also a reward system of sorts. You can collect “Charms” and redeem the for an extra product included in your next box. The product choice and value is available online, so it’s not a mystery grab or anything. You gain Charms by reviewing items, being a loyal customer (if you are an active customer for three consecutive months, that qualifies you as a loyal customer which gets you the bonus points, and this continues every three months), promoting on social media using the link provided online, or referring others (for example, my referral code is VXZvY212bklja2FBbUc0UGNhMVlubU9Rb0ZNN3MrZ1cyQ1NrZ01ZSnJnYz0= which is insanely long but what you can enter at checkout if you feel like it. I included a link at the bottom with my referral URL which is way more simple!). 

As I mentioned, I’ve received a total of three boxes so far. To give you an idea of what’s included, I’ll give you mini rundown of my previous boxes. 

January – Celebrate in Style ($124 USD value)

  • Beauty For Real – The Perfect Lip Pencil (full size)
  • Beauty For Real – True Color Lip Cream in Always There (full size) 
  • Mirabella – Face Prime (full size)
  • Pur-Lisse – Skin Sparkle Flash Tattoos (one sheet)
  • Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum (full size)

February – Kisses from Boxycharm ($68 USD + $36.99 CAD value) (<- They didn’t calculate the exchange rate for one apparently Canadian item, and I’m too lazy to do it myself!)

  • Modern Minerals – Duo Fiber Mini Round Brush (full size)
  • Mullein & Sparrow – Mini Facial Mask (deluxe)
  • ncLA – Nail Lacquer in Heart Attack (full size)
  • Jing Ai – Velvet Shine Lip Jewel (full size)
  • Mistura Beauty Solutions – C2P Complextion Corrector (full size)

March – Lucky Charm ($112 USD value)

  • Oscar Blandi – Hair Product (I received the Dry Shampoo) (travel size)
  • OFRA – Eyeliner (full size)
  • LVX – Nail Laquer (full size)
  • Tarte – Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Charmed (full size)
  • Previse – Nutrify Skin Type 1-6 Universal Tonic (full size)

One of the things that drew me to Boxycharm is that everyone gets the same items. There is no quiz to take that matches you up with a certain selection. Now, I understand that this could be a minus for some folks, as it means you may receive products that aren’t catered to you and won’t work with your specific coloring, skin type, or skin tone. For me, I enjoy the fact that I am not looking at what else someone got in their box and wondering how I have to answer to get their products instead of what I got. Both February and this month, however, did include random color selections, meaning (for example) someone could get one color and someone else could get the same product but in a different color. While I loved the color I got for the Jing Ai lip crayon (mine was Rasberry Ice, a beautiful pinky red), and Oscar Blandi hair product (so happy I got dry shampoo and not mousse, which was an other option), I’m indifferent about the LVX color (I got Lemondrop, which is ok, but I would have preferred the coral or mint instead) and am bummed by my OFRA eyeliner (I got Light Beige, which is such a weird color for my light self but would have been great for someone darker. I’m hoping to use it as a base for glitter liner or to make colors pop). I hope this random selection trend doesn’t continue too much. We all got the same color Lipsurgence and flash tattoos, which is the kind of thing I like. That way if I don’t like it, I simply don’t like it, as opposed to thinking “dang I wish I had gotten the other choice instead!” Knowing there was another option makes me feel like I’m missing out or wishing I could exchange it, while knowing everyone got the item and I simply don’t like it is somehow ok with me. 

Some of my favorite items thus far is the Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum, the Pur-Lisse flash tattoos, the mini round brush, the Jing Ai lip crayon, the Oscar Blandi dry shampoo, and the Tarte Lipsurgance tint. This isn’t to say I don’t like the other items, these are just the ones I’ve appreciated the most. There have been only two items so far that I really disliked, which I don’t think is too bad. 

What do you think? Are you subscribed to any beauty boxes? Are you interested in reading my thoughts each month when I receive my Boxycharm? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO, WSM

Click here to check out the Boxycharm site for yourself for more info or to sign up! The link is for my referral URL, just so you know =D If you don’t feel like using my code, you can simple Google “Boxycharm” or enter it in your search bar. This post wasn’t sponsored and all opinions are my own, on boxes I spent my own money to receive, for the record. 

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Reviews

Woman Seeking: A Bite Beauty 5 Night Fix for Lips Review

A while ago I stumbled upon Bite Beauty’s 5 Night Fix for Lips duo while in Sephora. I had eyed their famed Agave Lip Mask before, but the price was pretty high and I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. In general, I really like Bite Beauty products and have yet to be disappointed with a purchase. My lips were needing a little TLC, so I grabbed this and ran to the checkout before I had a chance to change my mind. If you remember, this was part of my Mall Haul post (which you can find here). 

This set contained sample size amounts of Bite’s Agave Lip Mask and their Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub. I’m not sure if the set is supposed to contain a 5 night supply of products, or is only marketed to fix your lips in 5 nights, but either way, although these are small sample sizes, I found I didn’t need that much product so this set should last quite a bit longer than just 5 nights. I do have medium to small lips, so obviously if you have a greater space to cover than I do you’ll go through this more quickly. 

The Whipped Chery Scrub is normally sold in a pot, but is packaged as a mini stick form for this set. This isn’t something that particularly bothers me, but it is weird to try out a sample of something that’s not exactly like it is sold. I could see how this would bother some people. If you like the scrub specifically because it comes in a stick version and then are told that a stick lip scrub isn’t sold as a full size product by the company, it could definitely be annoying. Perhaps they are working on selling a full size version of the stick style scrub in the future? Who knows. While I do love cherry, I am not a big fan of cherry scented anything and this was no exception. The scent falls somewhere between artificial candy and medicinal. The scrub itself was…interesting. The grains are sugar sized (I do not think they are sugar, at least I didn’t see it on the ingredients, nor taste it) and they do a decent job of exfoliating. The butters and oils it’s mixed with leave a slight film on the lips, but in a good way. I feel like if you didn’t have dry lips and were using this for exfoliating, the scrub is simply leaving behind a little nourishment to your lips. I really liked that. I can see why it’s packed in a pot as opposed to a stick, however, because while using the stick should make things easier and less messy, I found that even with light pressure the product would be pushed over the edge of the tube, leaving me needing to wipe it off. I usually wiped it off onto my lips and then used my finger to continue exfoliating. The only stick exfoliator for lips I’ve used prior to this was from ELF and I never had that problem with theirs, so this was a bummer. If I bought the regular version, I would be using my finger anyways so it wouldn’t be an issue, but for the stick I don’t like that I need to get my hands dirty. My only other gripe is the taste. Bite Beauty is proud of the fact their products are 100% natural and made with food grade ingredients, but this is the lesson for you that just because something CAN be eaten, doesn’t mean it should. Perhaps I am spoiled by my Lush and ELF products, but this is not something I ever want to lick off my lips. To be fair, I don’t see anything from the company recommending you do. It just left me standing there awkwardly debating what to do. I don’t want to use water to rinse away the leftover beads because of the nourishing ingredients, but using a washcloth has me feeling like I should have just skipped the scrub and just used a washcloth to exfoliate in the first place! I usually end up kind of smearing it all over the back of my hand and then washing my hands. Overall, I’m super not impressed with the lip scrub. I think there are plenty of better products (both stick and pot form) out there that I enjoy using. I will not be purchasing a full size. 

The Agave Lip Mask is what redeems this little set for me. As much as I had wanted to try it before, I kind of equated it to a fancy Vaseline. My friends, it is not. For starters, this is much thicker. I really had to squeeze the tube to get the product out. Although thick, it spreads easily. For the thickness, I didn’t feel like it was sticky. I could still talk and open and close my mouth as a I normally would without any goobs or globs or messiness. I’m not someone who really minds a bit of stickiness, so if you’re someone who is very sensitive to this you may have a different opinion than me, but I found it to be very comfortable to wear. Initially I used this only at night, but have found myself throwing this on during the day as well, both alone and under other lip products. I felt like this rehydrated my lips as well. When I started using this, I had cuts at the sides of my mouth due to an unfortunate spoon accident (note – if you have a metal spoon that goes through the disposal, toss it. I thought it was fine and threw it in the dishwasher like it was no big deal, but that son-of-a cut my mouth UP. I looked like the Joker). It was super painful and nothing was really working to heal it, but leaving it without balm or salve on it in order to let it scab (ew) was wrecking my lips. I started using this and it somehow it allowed the cuts to heal up while also hydrating my lips. The product also has just a hint of sweetness to it. Not so much that I was licking my lips to get to it, therefore defeating the purpose, but just enough that if it got in my mouth I wasn’t repulsed. And I really only needed a pea size amount, if that. Even with continuous use I still have about 3/4 of the sample size tube left. I feel like if I bought the full size version, I wouldn’t have to repurchase for at least a year, if not longer. And that is if I was using it every single day. It is pricy, but I am definitely considering purchasing the full size. 

To sum up, it is a great little set…but only because of the lip mask. I also feel like the jar it comes in is missing something. There is room enough to add a third sample products, maybe a mini lipstick? While this is promoted for overnight use and you don’t really wear lipstick or lipgloss overnight, I think a lipstick or gloss meant to be worn the next day to continue the healing or to show off your new kisser would round it out. Bite Beauty makes a product called BB for Lips that I think would have been perfect to include. I think the price of the set is a smidge high for two mini products, especially when I only recommend one of them. However, if you are like me and can’t afford a full size version of the mask, this is a great alternative. 

XOXO, WSM

PS – Sorry about the complete lack of pictures! I didn’t think to do a before/after. Bad blogger, bad! 

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Reviews

Woman Seeking: A New Favorite High-End Cleanser

As many of you know, when it comes to face wash I am all about the word “gentle.”  On the list of things I look for in a good cleanser, “gentle” is fighting for top spot wth “effective.” It’s THAT important to me. I’ve been happy with my Neotrogena Ultra Gentle face wash and Purpose face wash for some time now, but occasionally I get samples of different facial cleansers from Sephora. Typically the sample is a one or two time use packet, and that isn’t enough to sway me to plop down double or triple the cost of my usual cleanser to road test a higher end one. A few months back Sephora had a duo set from Ole Henriksen that included a travel pack of facial wipes and a 1.5 fl oz version of his African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser. After finishing the bottle of Neutrogena that I had open, I decided to test it out and I couldn’t be more pleased. 

This is described as an anti-aging foaming cleanser that is suitable for all skin types. While I typically dislike and don’t understand how a cleanser can work for all ranges of skin types, I feel like this claim comes closest to those claims. I’m unsure how it would work for those with extremely dry skin, but (in my opinion) this really would work for anyone from normal to combination to oily. Most foaming cleansers tend to be drying, but I did not feel that way at all. While it wasn’t moisturizing, I felt like my skin felt…well…normal after washing my face, which is exactly what I look for. 

I expected this to smell more tea-like, but this has more of a citrus scent. I don’t know what African Red Tea smells like, but this reminds me of Constant Comment tea if that helps. I didn’t find it to be too overpowering, and the smell didn’t linger on my face. I especially appreciated the scent in the mornings when it helped me feel awake and fresh. 

I was most impressed with how this cut through my makeup. I was dubious that a simple pump or two would be enough, and went with two pumps my first time, but have used one pump ever since because it is so effective! The first time I used this I had on a full face of makeup and this took everything off the first try. Now, I didn’t use this on my eye area, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness on mascara. The foam goes on nicely then almost disappears, but leaves enough evidence on the skin that you can see where you have or haven’t washed. I was wearing primer, Maybelline Fit Me foundation (matte and poreless, if you’re curious), powder, bronzer, and Urban Decay All Nighter Spray, not to mention eyebrow pomade, and this took every last bit off. I didn’t have to rub and scrub either. I massaged the cleanser into my skin for about 45 seconds, per usual, and then rinsed. I followed with a cotton round soaked with Micellar water just to be sure, and not a single swipe of color was left on my face to show up on the cotton round. And yet using this witho any makeup on doesn’t leave me feeling overcleansed, just perfectly clean and comfortable. Marvelous!

I’ve been using this just shy of a month now, and while I can’t say my skin has improved exactly, it didn’t break out nearly as bad as it normally does around that time of the month either, which I consider a win. It’s been a bit of a crazy month, too, so I’m interested to see how my skin behaves when it’s a NORMAL month. I thought this performed very well under the circumstances. I also can’t speak to its anti-aging properties, but…well I don’t look older! Although this is a pricy cleanser, I’m honestly considering purchasing this in the future. I’m not even halfway don’t with the 1.5 fl oz bottle after a month, which means a little goes a long way and the full size 7 fl oz bottle will last quite a while. I have a few other facial cleanser samples as well as a bottle of my typical Purpose cleanser to use up first, but I’m so excited about this cleanser. There is something about a high-end cleanser that just makes a girl feel fancy and pampered!  

Have you ever tried this cleanser? Have you tried any other Ole Henriksen products? Let me know what you think!

XOXO, WSM

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Uncategorized

Woman Seeking: The Liebster Award 🏆

I was nominated by Lightsabers and Lipstick to do the Liebster Award! I am so happy to be nominated, and the opportunity to share my favorite new blogs! I’ve seen this award going around, and thought it was a really fun thing to do. This comes at the perfect time, because if you follow my blog you know that I didn’t put out a post as I normally would on Thursdays. Between work and getting ready for the tri and life, I was just too exhausted and didn’t have any back up posts to use in place of a fresh piece. So I’m back this week, and may even throw in an extra post to even things out! We’ll see. 

Here were my questions:

1. What are two makeup products that you can’t live without?

I’d have to say Benefit’s The Porefessional primer and mascara (no specific kind). Not that I wear makeup everyday, but when I do, those are always staples. I always put on primer before BB Cream, Foundation, or even tinted moisturizer, and the Porefessional is my favorite. And as much as I love lip products, it would feel weird to wear lip anything but no mascara, but it wouldn’t feel weird to wear mascara and no lip product!

2. If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

I saw this answer on Instagram or somewhere once and I thought it was so clever, so I’ll try to mimic it here – I would chose salad. Not only because I do love salad, but also because salad is so vague. There is garden salad, Caesar salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, Greek salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad…you can pretty much make anything into some form of salad. Loophole!

3. If you could switch places with any character in and book or movie, who would it be? Why?

Id switch places with Danielle from Ever After, simply because it’s my favorite movie

4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks?

An iced soy chai tea latte. I like the hot version, too! 

5. What is your favorite guilty pleasure tv show?

Mob Wives. It’s ridiculous, and stupid reality tv, and just…ridiculous. And I love it. It’s not my favorite show, but definitely a guilty pleasure

6. If you could drop everything and travel somewhere right now, where would it be?

This is SO hard for me to pick, but as of right now, this moment, I’d have to say Bali. 

7. What would make your perfect pizza?

I like a non tomato sauce pizza. Maybe a fresh Margherita pizza? 

8. What fictional character do you want to marry or be best friends with?

I used to have a crush on Demetri from Anastasia, does that count?

9. Do you have any pets? If not do you want any?

No I don’t have any animals (although my parents have a dog!). I love animals and would love one of my own, but I just don’t have the time an animal deserves.

10. If you could have one super power what would it be?

Again, an answer I’m totally stealing from I don’t know where – the power of refill. Hungry? Refill plate. Tired? Refill energy. Late? Refill time. Annoyed with someone? Refill their bladder haha

11. What Disney character do you most realate to?

Max Goof…he’s cool, awkward, independent but still loves his family, and a little cynical at times but wants to embrace the wonderfull! 


I didn’t play by the rules completely, because I had a hard time figuring out of the blogs had less than 200 or not, so I’m just nominating or mentioning a few that I would recommend checking out! For any of you that I nominate, please don’t feel pressured to post this yourself if it’s not in your scheduling, just know I enjoy your blog and hopefully my readers will too!

Rules:

  1. Link back to the person that nominated you
  2. Answer the questions given by the nominator
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
  4. Create 11 questions for the nominees
  5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs

Below are the lovely blogs that I would like to nominate:

Luce Luxe Lifestyle

Made From Beauty

Charm and Chocolate

Lucy Cowlin

Sprinkle of Pretty

The Honey Blonde Life

Charlene Chic

Lauren Rellis

Bitsy Besty

Beauty East Coast

Toast The Girl Almighty 

And your questions are:

  1. What is your favorite new (or new to you) product?
  2. Best makeup tip you ever received?
  3. What is your current skincare routine?
  4. What is one thing you do to keep healthy?
  5. Favorite quote or life perspective?
  6. What is one blog related pet peeve you have?
  7. What is one fun or interesting fact about yourself?
  8. Any goals you are working on or have for this year?
  9. What’s your favorite recipe to share (and share it!)?
  10. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve heard recently?
  11. Favorite movie?

I hope this was fun to read! It was fun to answer and let you all get to know a few silly things about me =)

XOXO, WSM

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Tutorials

Woman Seeking: How to Go from Lipbalm to Lipstick

While you might not know it from looking at my current makeup stash, I was a lipbalm and pink gloss only girl up until just a couple of years ago. I knew plenty of women who rocked lipstick, but I never felt sophisticated or confident enough to pull it off. While some people can cannonball right in, I’ve always been a more “sit on the edge and ease myself in” type of girl. After a little practice, I’ve finally grown comfortable enough to wear my brightest pink and darkest red with the best of them. If you’ve been eyeing the lipstick aisle with longing, but aren’t quite sure how to make the jump, here are my tips to go from cherry Chapstick to Kat Von D’s Backstage Bambi. 



1. Up Your Lipbalm Game

     If you wear little to no lip product whatsoever, the best place to start is adding a little tint in with your go-to. A great beginner option is Lip Smacker’s Dr. Pepper flavored lipbalm. It has a light berry tint while still the exact look, shape, and feel as regular ol’ Chapstick. Depending on how pigmented your lips are, this can go from a barely there tint to a noticeably (but still natural) berry hue. Sephora also sells an EOS-esque lip color in a few shades, I’ve got one in Cotton Candy, a subtle pink. 



2. Try an In-Between Formula

     Once you’ve grown comfortable walking around with a bit of color, the next hurdle to pass is how lipsticks feel. Most lip balms are waxy and hydrating, while lipsticks can range from creamy to somewhat drying. Everyone has a different preference and level of tolerance of formula’s, but jumping from a smooth lipbalm to a drying liquid lipstick can turn you off from all lipstick ever. Instead, try products like Clinique Chubby Sticks, Maybelline Baby Lips, L’oreal Colour Riche Balms, Tarte Amazonian Butter lipsticks, and Clinique Almost Lipsticks. All are hydrating lipstick-lipbalm hybrids that have a good range of colors and pigmentations. 



3. Stick with Nude or Natural Colors

     The way I started getting into lipsticks was to make sure I was picking more neutral tones. While I did pick up a bright pink Baby Lips, I found I never used it until just a few months ago. It’s best to try to stick to more subtle colors (I also picked up the Baby Lips in Peach Kiss and have used that color waaay more). I’ve found the safest bet was picking a color the same color or a tad darker than my natural lip color. Picking a lighter version may seem easier, but sometimes end up looking too light and concealerish, which is NOT a good look on anyone. Remember, if you pick up a color that ends up not being the most flattering, you can almost always return it (just keep the receipt). 



4.  Pick Your Price

     I have two different theories…the first, that you should totally splurge and get a good, high quality lipstick. The second, that drugstore lipsticks can be just as good as highend lipsticks at a fraction of the price. Personally, my first lipstick was from the drugstore. I figured if I ended up never wearing it or just not being a lipstick wearing girl that I wouldn’t have wasted much money, and I was old enough (or mature enough) that having a Brand Name product wasn’t the biggest deal in the world. That being said, I always coveted a “fancy” lipstick and ended up receiving my first high end lipstick two Christmases ago from my parents (Nars Roman Holiday, which is still one of my favorites). Depending on your preference, there are super affordable, quality colors from the drugstore starting at around $2, all the way up to uber chic, uber expensive colors (the most expensive lipstick I found on a quick search at Sephora was over $50!). 



5. Go crazy!

     Now that you’re used to wearing some color and you’ve gotten used to the formula it’s time to branch out! Try a liquid lipstick, pick up a bright color, give in to your inner vamp with a deep burgundy! The lipstick world is your oyster. If you’re unsure of how a color will look on you and are unable to test it out, a good tip I heard was to hold it up to your face in front of your mouth. It’s not completely fool proof, but it will give you some idea. Swatching colors on your hand or wrist is also helpful, but I use this more to get a feel for the opacity, as the color can look different depending on your lip pigmentation and face color (your face and wrist typically don’t match, which is why it’s recommended never to test foundations on your wrist but rather your neck). 

Extra Tips

     Prepping your lips can help lipstick apply smoothly and last longer. A simple lip scrub can remove any flake or dead skin to create a smooth surface. Lip scrubs are sold in beauty stores (my favorite is from Lush), or you can mix a little sugar and olive oil to create your own. Take that Chapstick that you hold near and dear and use it about 10 minutes before applying a lip color. Continue using your lipbalm on the days you don’t wear lipstick to keep your lips in tip top shape. Another great idea is to grab a lipliner. Lipliners help everything stay in place and extend the wear time of your favorite shade. My favorite lipliners at the moment are Essence lipliners. They’re super cheap and come in a variety of colors. NYX also makes great lipliners, and Urban Decay has a variety of bright colors to go with your brightest pinks. And if you’re looking for funky, you can’t beat OCC Cosmic Colour Pencils, who’s cruelty free, vegan product include pinks, purples, blues, browns, oranges, and more! 

Foraging into the world of lip color can be intimidating, but taking small steps can make the process a lot less stressful. Makeup is all about having fun and feeling yourself, so go with whatever makes you feel most confident, whether it’s a sheer nude lip butter or bright purple liquid lipstick!  

XOXO, WSM

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