I apologize for the late review, dear readers! But as certain someone once said, to paraphrase, a wizard is neither early nor late, but always exactly on time. And so, here is another Thirsty Thursday tea review!
Today’s review focuses on the second bag of tea I purchased at Geeky Teas: Limpë
The description reads, “White peony leaves are fair and glorious to taste and could cure all ills to joy, merriment and creativity.” Cracking open the bag, the scent of dried grass greets me immediately. Any guesses as to what influenced this blend yet? In Quenya, limpë means “drink of the Valar” (and sometimes also wine, but as this is a nonalcoholic beverage, I’ll stick with “drink of the Valar.” Variation includes “drink of the fairies.” In John Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales, it is said to be very fragrant and possess healing properties. Another story states that one sip could turn a human into an elf, but there was only record of one ever having done so.
The delicacy of the white peony dictates the entire flavor profile of this tea. I steeped a teaspoonful at approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, and the most impressive aspect of this cuppa is how mild it is. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Perhaps it has been made specifically with the sensitive Elvish nature in mind?
After steeping, the grassy aroma virtually disappears. The color of the brew is a very light maple or balsa wood – somewhat difficult to define so here, have a photo:
Although even the photo cannot adequately grasp the fine wood hues with greenish undertones in the cup.
Since this tea calls for a lower brewing temperature, I can actually drink it sooner without scalding my tongue. For such a mild flavor, the tea is strangely comforting, almost otherworldly. It is very pleasant to drink, and there are no strong after tastes or particular flavors that overwhelm the blend. It is quietly fortifying and serene. Such is the nature of a drink of the Valar, I suppose.
I have had a whole cup, but I don’t feel like an elf yet. Boo. However, it is still totally worth a try. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I am officially in love with nearly all the eye shadows I’ve tried from Shiro Cosmetics. However, I am not entirely sure how to feel about the fact that the “Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk Autumn Morning” is a fantastic everyday eye shadow and my go-to choice when I am unsure what to use. Full disclosure: I am no make-up guru; I think I am generally pretty terrible at stuff like this. I figure, if something works for me, it can work for most people.
Shiro Cosmetics, with its motto of “makeup and geekery,” is a line of mostly vegan, small-batch-crafted cosmetics focusing primarily on eye shadows, lip glosses, and bronzers. Popular culture (mostly films and television programs) inspires all the custom color batches. Obviously, I am kind of a geek (I am a writer for Geek Girl World, after all,) and I enjoy fandom-inspired everything (pretty much) so when I first heard about Shiro I immediately thought, I have to look into that. If I’m buying make-up anyway, why not? And that tends to be my reasoning for a lot of things. I realized the other day that on average, I have no less than two different fandoms on my person at any given time (today features a Supernatural necklace and Sherlock earrings.) I bought a bunch of samples, loved them, and told Ari about them. When Ari asked if I could write some reviews for the makeup, I immediately worried that I would have to post pictures, which, yes I know, make articles more visually interesting. Here’s the thing – I am reluctant to post identifying pictures of myself online (that is a discussion for possibly never). Shoes, nail polish, stuff I like – not a big deal, but a picture of something that clearly shows me? l do not generally post those. There is exactly one picture in my more than 1,000 pictures on Instagram (hush) that shows me completely, and that is because I am standing next to the Mark VII and throwing up ‘gang signs’ (I dearly hope you get this reference). Clearly, I kind of really enjoy my online anonymity. Still, I suppose it cannot last forever, and I rationalized that it would be a good thing to show how this makeup looks on a POC (because I have experienced firsthand the disappointment of seeing a color that I love only to have it not work with my skin tone at all).
As with any online site, there is always the risk of buying something that does not work out since you are unable to try it first in person. Fortunately, Shiro offers sample sizes of their products, so you can purchase a bunch (like I did) and not feel as if you wasted money on something you end up barely using (I will address this in another review with some of the lip colors I bought). What I really appreciate about Shiro’s offerings is that, while you can tell how the colors were inspired, they can be surprisingly subtle, and are wonderfully blendable. Most can easily be worn on a daily basis, casually out and about or to work. Beyond staple shades of brown and grey, there are reds, greens, golds, blues – but we’re not talking heavy like The Hunger Games. The versatility is lovely.
First example: TARDIS. I got a pot of this eye shadow (not lip-safe, unfortunately,) because TARDIS. Do I really need to explain? This is a blue, shimmery eye shadow that can be done very subtly, offering an understated pop of color for casual daily use, but can be easily made vibrant for a night on the town (or a Doctor Who party. Whatever.) Every time I wear something blue, I happily whip this pot out to use, but color-matching is not a requirement (I just like to do it sometimes). And if you like, you can totally do a solid shock à la Jem and the Holograms (confession: Stormer was one of my favorites, and Aja was badass (did I have a thing for blue hair when I was little? Maybe yes. And Lady Gaga should probably just go ahead and completely cop their style because she’s at least 75% of the way there.)
I have a basic make-up routine: moisturizer (at some point before the application of cosmetics,) primer, maybe foundation (sometimes, if I feel like it, or need to hide something in which case it might become concealer + foundation,) a light blush or bronzer, eye make-up. My entire make-up routine, mascara included, takes less than 10 minutes in the morning, which is great, because some days I end up running late. Someone in a hurry can really turn this into an exact science, no joke. Here is what I currently use: Oil of Olay moisturizer, Too-face primer, Too-face eye primer, Shiro brand bronzer, Shiro eye shadow, Sephora black eye shadow as liner, and Revlon lash blast mascara. That’s it, that’s the lineup. There are some really great tutorials on YouTube from fantastically knowledgeable people about makeup and application – just do a quick search and tons of actually helpful videos pop up. I am not that helpful. Or patient. There are many ways to apply eye shadow, so pick what works for you. I have a selection of brushes procured over the years and maintained well through cleaning. If you would like to get new brushes, try e.l.f. brand brushes available at Target; most of them cost $1.00 each (I plan to try out their fake lashes at some point because for a dollar, why not?) This is a good way to experiment with tools without breaking the bank. I am all for cost efficiency.
So. The TARDIS eye shadow is a loose powder. Now, I tend to avoid sparkly…anything…but for Shiro I seem to be making an exception. This is what the powder looks like in the pot.
I usually opt for the outer “V” application of shadow, but for this I went for all over coverage, like so:
To temper the blue a bit, I actually layered it with Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk Autumn Morning and ended up with something darker and lovely and suitable for work.
Terrible lighting for the photo, I know, but you can sort of see that the TARDIS tumbler and the eye shadow are close, even though I darkened it with Nic Cage. Please note: tumbler is a misnomer. These things cannot tumble – they will simply break. I speak from experience. You may also note that my nail polish matches the tumbler. It is actually from SuperBlack Lacquers, and a review on that brand will be forthcoming.
Another favorite shade:
Again, Shiro is great in that you can sample their numerous shades at very little cost. You have to keep an eye on the site’s FB page, though, since new colors are constantly coming in, being voted on, and phased out.