The Bridethulu Chronicles

I mentioned before that I have recently become engaged and I want to chronicle everything about my wedding. I had no idea the crazy amount of planning and organizing it takes to make a wedding happen!

From picking a date, a venue, and a wedding party to deciding on your wedding colors and theme (if you choose to have one) there are just so many decisions to make. Then there are the little things that you don’t think about until you’re engaged like processional music and whether or not to do a garter toss.

I am very non- traditional. And I will be a very non-traditional bride with a pretty offbeat wedding style. Unfortunately for me, almost everything weddings is geared towards more traditional brides so I have my work cut out for me. Then add in that I’m not getting married to myself, so I also have to consider the wishes of my future husband.

My fiance is a little bit more traditional than I am and definitely has a few ideas of his own about what sort of wedding he does (and doesn’t) want. He is not religious at all and therefore a church wedding was out of the question. I am a Pagan but since I don’t practice in a church that was no problem.  We decided to go with an outdoor hand-fasting ceremony conducted by a Wiccan High Priestess (and a really good friend of mine). The ceremony won’t really contain any overt religiousness and he seems to be fine with that.

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Probably the thing that may ruffle a few feathers is the fact that we have decided to make our wedding adults only. There are a few reasons for this – the biggest one being budget-but I went over that  in another post. Many of our family and friends have children who they may want to bring and we will have to weather the storm of questions, irritation, and possibly hurt feelings. But it is what works best for us.

When I find myself freaking out about small details, I try to remind myself that the only thing people will remember is if they had fun and how happy the couple seemed. The most important thing to remember when planning your wedding is that IT’S YOUR WEDDING! You should do what you want and have fun with it. The day is a celebration and shouldn’t be stressful. So eat, drink, and be merry.

Swiss Army Man Review (Spoiler Free)

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What can I say about this film that would capture how utterly bizarre and simultaneously beautiful it is? Swiss Army Man, a film by The Daniels Kwan and Scheinert, stars Paul Dano as a disillusioned man stranded on a deserted island. Dano’s character Hank is just about to commit suicide when he sees a body wash up on the shore. Daniel Radcliffe plays the flatulent corpse that Hank names Manny.  After realizing that Manny is already dead, Hank goes back to his suicide attempt. He quickly realizes though, that just because Manny is dead, doesn’t mean he’s useless. Thus begins their journey of incredible friendship and self discovery.

Still with me? Yes, this film is as odd as it sounds. One of the main characters is a dead body with a gas issue (which is remedied by a wine cork – don’t ask) but if you can get past that, this film is so much more than a fart joke. Its about the uncomfortable truths of friendship and society and all the ways that they impact us.

As they trek through the wilderness on this epic adventure to bring Hank back to society and the woman he loves, they both discover what life is about; why we hide certain aspects of ourselves, and what it means to be free. This is a film about accepting every part of yourself and every part of life. The good, the bad, and the strange.

The Daniels have gifted us with some beautiful cinematography here. Their understanding of creating scenes that entice the senses is truly amazing. There are a few moments that are nothing short of ridiculous but the way they are framed and the interesting use of music push the viewer past any preconceived notions and towards accepting something different.

If you are open to adventure I highly suggest you go see this film. In a world full of remakes and a formulaic sameness this film is a slightly bewildering breath of fresh air.

Watch the trailer for Swiss Army Man on YouTube:

Why Our Wedding Is Adults Only

Many people view weddings as a mini family reunion. It’s a time when everyone gathers together in celebration and that usually includes kids.

Having children at a wedding is pretty much expected. It is traditionally how it is done and almost everyone includes children as part of the actually wedding ceremony. The flower girls and ring bearers are usually under ten years old.

So, why aren’t we having children at our wedding?

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Well, actually, we will. We already have two sons and of course they will be included in our ceremony. They are a major part of our lives and it would just be wrong not to include them. But honestly, if they weren’t fruit from my womb they wouldn’t be getting a pass either.

As harsh as it may seem there are a several legitimate reasons not to have children at your wedding. I am going to go over a few of the biggest arguments against kids at weddings.

 They don’t care about your wedding.

Let’s be real for a second. No eight year old really cares about the sanctity of marriage. They don’t know what that means and they don’t understand the importance of the ceremony. Perhaps an eight year old can sit through a half hour ceremony quietly and pay dutiful attention as you exchange beautifully worded vows and perform a sand ceremony but – they probably can’t.

The chances are pretty good that they will get bored and they may be loud or otherwise disruptive during a special moment that took months of careful planning and probably a good amount of money to achieve.

Parents will be parents.

As a parent, I know that when I’m out with my children and they start trying to misbehave or get rowdy I am on them. When I’m around my kids in public I’m busy parenting them. It is definitely difficult to relax when you have small children because there are so many things they can get into, get up to, and if you turn your back a second too long they’ll be lost forever.

Most parents are that way and as such won’t be able to fully let their parent powers rest. They will be focused on their kids. It’s not a bad thing but we would like to give our guests the opportunity for a night off to just relax and have fun. With the kids safely at home with a sitter they can do just that.

They’re picky eaters.

I was blessed/cursed with kids who will eat anything but from what I gather from friends that is not the norm. Kids have finicky palates and sometimes refuse to eat things they ate just fine the day before.

That being said, if you’ve done any amount of reception venue searching you have discovered that they charge per guest. More specifically, they charge per plate/chair. They don’t care if the butt in the chair belongs to an adult or a kid. Some places offer a discounted price for kids but my point is – you have to pay for food for them and there is a bigger chance that food will go to waste.

Exponential growth.

Our wedding is a very intimate 50 guests. If we had invited the children of our guests, the number would be much higher and so would the cost. Many of our friends and family have four or more children. That would quickly take our wedding past a budget that we could handle.

Weddings don’t have to be expensive but the truth is most of them are. Having a smaller guest list is one of the easiest ways to stay on budget.

Use discretion.

It’s important to note that when I say “children” I mean kids under 16 or so. If you’re like us and contemplating whether or not to invite children to your wedding use your own discretion to decide what age is appropriate.

A 13-year-old girl may have interest in weddings and be able to sit through and generally not be any bother but its more likely that a 13-year-old boy would be bored and uninterested in all this sappy business.

Take care though, if you allow one 13-year-old but not another feelings may be hurt. It’s probably best to use a one size fits all mentality. Either kids or no kids.

Have it your way.

The decision is ultimately a personal one. Sometimes it doesn’t sit well with everyone. Some parents don’t want a “night off” from their children or are otherwise offended that you think their child may disrupt your wedding. Others simply find it too nontraditional not to include kids.

If you choose not to include children there is a chance that some people won’t come to your wedding. With enough notice, childcare shouldn’t be a problem but some parents may bow out if they feel their children aren’t welcome.

It is something to think about but of course the choice belongs to the people getting married.We decided that since we wanted to keep our wedding small and intimate we would only ask the adults to join us.

What do you think about kids at weddings? Is it better to invite entire families to avoid hurt feelings or is it okay to let the adults have fun? Did you or would you have an adults only wedding?

Artis Brush Dupe Review

If you are into makeup and you’ve been on the internet in the past year, you have probably seen the Artis Makeup Brushes. They are all over the place right now and the hype surrounding these brushes is insane.

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The ten piece set directly from the Artis website is $355. WHAT?! Yes, FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS for a set of makeup brushes. These super fancy brushes have their own cleaning system and are touted for their amazing ability to flawlessly blend and smooth makeup.

I will say, I’ve seen the results of these brushes and they DO give a flawless finish. But are they worth the $355 price tag? I’m going to say no.

41AMQkCWEDLAfter seeing these brushes all over the internet and damn near every makeup tutorial on YouTube, I decided I really needed to try them. Uhem – But you know a girl is not about that $400 for a makeup toothbrush life! NO!

I found these Artis Brush Dupes on Amazon for $29.99. It is a ten piece set of dense brushes in varying sizes. They look and feel very similar to the original and I honestly feel they give pretty much exactly the same results.

I use color corrector under my foundation and always had a hard time keeping it from moving when I applied my foundation. I used to set the corrector before applying anything over it to keep it in place. Imagine my surprise when trying these brushes quickly for the first time that I didn’t need to set my corrector first! The brushes have such a light, soft touch that they smoothed my foundation right over the orange concealer with no problems.

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 The set that I bought from Amazon was from Unimiex but there are many different dupes you can find. It didn’t come with a cleaning system like the fancy set but I just clean them the same way I do all my other brushes. I haven’t had any problems so far.

If you’ve been thinking about trying the Artis Professional Makeup brushes but the price tag is troubling then I would definitely suggest going for a cheaper dupe. I love these brushes, I prefer the black handles tot he silver ones, and you really can’t beat quality results for a much smaller price tag.

Minecraft Birthday Party

This past march my older son turned the big oh-five!

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It is the strangest thing to think of him being this old. In many ways it seems to have flown by so quickly although some of those years were difficult and felt like forever at the time. He has grown and learned so much! Keeping someone alive for 5 years was also a major accomplishment for me and as such we celebrated his birthday for an entire week!

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We started off by taking  him to Disneyland for the first time (we wanted him to have a chance to remember his first trip there). He had been asking to go for a while and was really surprised when he realized he was there!

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Here’s the beginning of the trip vs. the end. We spent all day and they were both tuckered out. They slept well that night. FOR SURE.

For his birthday we took him for breakfast at the best breakfast place in town which we have done every single year on his birthday. The past two years he has ordered his own meal – last year it was sausage and pancakes- this year, “Bacon. Only Bacon.”

Later in the day we went to a Cat in the hat library event at our local library. He got an airbrush “tattoo” of a minion, made some truffula trees, and got to meet The Cat and Thing 1! Thing 2 was mysteriously missing.

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In the evening we had dinner at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. If you have never been there I highly suggest it. There is a very upbeat (and loud-in a good way) atmosphere and GREAT ice cream! The waiters will sing for pretty much any reason.

Then on the Saturday following his birthday we threw him a Minecraft themed birthday party! He is very into Minecraft right now and so this was his “best day ever.”

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Creeper Invites

These were easy and fun to make. I got the idea from a DIY Minecraft Valentine my friends son made for his class. She has her own awesome blog about life, eco friendly stuff, homeschooling, and just general awesomeness. If you want to check it out, tell her I said hello!

I ALWAYS do a photo booth at every party or event that I plan. They are just so fun and who doesn’t love a good prop? These are always a hit and get even the most camera shy up cheesin’ for a photo.

There was a TNT pinata because pinatas explode and it just made sense! The candy bags were little pigs because that just made sense too.

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Block Cake

The super awesome Minecraft block cake was a major win with partygoers. I’d love to take credit for this idea but I gotta give props where props are due! Youtube helped me out with this. Yoyomax12 led me through the cake step-by-step and did a much better job at cutting her rice crispies blocks. The candy pops were from Nerdy Nummies channel. They were simple and fun to make (and eat).

All in all he had a great birthday week! I really hope he did because we aren’t having anymore parties until he’s 21. ^-~ Happy Birthday King August ❤

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I’m Back!

I’ve been out of the game for almost a solid two months!

I have good reason though. I’m a mom of two very active boys with equally active schedules. Throw in my calendar and my boyfriends and it’s enough to make you head spin. On top of all that it was the last month of my last semester of College until I start again next year! Finals time. Yea. Enough said.

So many things have happened this past month but the highlights are I GRADUATED!!!! Finally. It has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, sacrifice, struggle, tears, and even a short stint of homelessness but I DID IT! I. DID. IT. Never give up on your goals, guys. Ever.

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The other thing is that I GOT ENGAGED! I am sooo excited! I’m already ankle deep in planning and I would love to share the planning process with you. It is a bit overwhelming already so I may need your suggestions. Be on the lookout for Wedding posts!

Anyway. Long story short – I’m back AND there will be more blogs forthcoming very soon. ^_^

Review: Joico Moisture Recovery

As a natural haired curly girl, making sure my hair is moisturized is priority number one. I am always in search of the perfect hair care routine and the perfect products that will keep my hair looking and feeling amazing. I have thick, 4C, low porosity hair so healthy, moisturized, and well maintained hair is a must for me but sometimes it’s a struggle.

I also have my son’s hair to maintain. He is textured differently than me (3B/3C) and up until recently had thick curly hair down to his waist. Needless to say this household sees a lot of different products. I’m always trying to find something that works for both of us but that’s not always possible.

Usually, I look for products that are specifically geared toward curly/kinky hair, but I know that many naturals have success with other products. I heard about Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner from one of my favorite Natural Hair Vloggers on YouTube and decided to give it a try. I purchased the set from Amazon for about $18 but you can also find in stores like Ulta.

WHAT IS IT? One shampoo (10.1oz) and one conditioner (10.1oz)

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Wash Day Duo

Both the shampoo and conditioner have a light, pleasant, smell to them. I appreciate that because a lot of products I’ve tried for “Afro textured” hair have strong  and usually not appealing scents (All my 90’s kid Blue Magic sisters know what I’m talking about). The shampoo and the conditioner are smooth and creamy in consistency and lather beautifully. I used these products on my hair and also on my older son’s (King August) also super thick hair.

The Shampoo: I placed this directly to the scalp and used the pads of my fingers to rub the dirt and product buildup out, then let the rest of hair be cleansed by rinsing. On my son’s head this method cleansed his scalp and his hair with no issues. On my head it cleansed my scalp easily but left my hair immediately and noticeably dry – major bummer.

The Conditioner: I placed a generous amount of conditioner on the shaft of the hair beginning from the tips, let sit for a few minutes and then rinsed thoroughly. On my son’s head this left his hair feeling SUPER soft, detangled, and had his curls boing-ing and bouncing all over the place! On my head it softened and replaced some moisture to my hair and provided some much-needed slip to the detangling process.

My hair didn’t come out as soft as my sons when I used the shampoo as well. I tried only using the conditioner as a co-wash with excellent results! I had fully moisturized and defined coils. Basically, this conditioner is MAGIC.

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The King and I

PROS

  • Conditioner works for multiple hair types
  • Shampoo cleanses effectively
  • Conditioner is great for co-washing
  • Smells pleasant

CONS

  • Shampoo can be drying on some textures

 

WHAT’S THE VERDICT?: These products seems to work best for my son’s 3B/3C hair. The shampoo cleans dirt and debris with ease and the conditioner softens and moisturizes so much after only a minute! The shampoo dried out my 4C  hair but the conditioner is the stuff of dreams. Since it works for both of us it will become a (semi) permanent staple in our lineup. I will continue to use the shampoo on my son’s hair but I definitely not be using it on my hair again.

Dungeons (Prologue)

So I joined the D&D club at my school. For those who don’t know, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a pen and paper role-playing game. It’s mostly (only?) played by nerds. Largely male nerds. And me, I guess.

I was outside my Saturday 9 am math class (gag) when I spotted the flyer. I have never played D&D before but I was always interested. Two years ago I did a campaign in Pathfinder, but it was abandoned after a few games due to scheduling issues. So, I was really excited to learn that my school had a club. I emailed the DM (Dungeon Master – the person who runs the game and directs the adventure) and let him know I planned to come to the next meeting. He emailed me back in character and I knew then that I was in for some very nerdy times.

I sort of feel like I was initiated into this club via the completion of a quest. The flyer I had seen was apparently from the previous semester and when I entered the location it specified I was greeted by a room that was empty except for one very confused looking professor. She looked even more confused when I started asking about dragons.

I tried to email the DM again to no avail, so I headed to Student Activities to find an answer. Of course, no one was attending the post! I stood around like an asshole for a while until I noticed the board with a bunch of flyers for different clubs and things. I found an updated D&D club flyer with what I hoped was the correct location and then climbed up a treacherous mountain (medium large hill) to the door.

After catching my breath, I walked into a room full of male nerds who looked very surprised to see me. Finally, I was in the right place (quest complete), although not everyone was so sure. One gave me a perplexed, “Can I help you?” as I walked past muttering greetings and took a seat. The DM even looked surprised that I had showed up (probably because I was 30 minutes late at that point) and took about 15 minutes to muster the courage to introduce himself.

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They were in the middle of killing a dragon (or being killed by one) and there was a pink Tyrannosaurus carrying a sleeping paladin in his baby arm huddling in the corner. Good times. The DM introduced me to the group and they went on playing. I didn’t join because I hadn’t finished my character yet and I wanted to just observe them and get a sense of how they played and who they were. I’m a natural introvert and I blend in seamlessly when I’m observing so they quickly got comfortable again.

These guys truly love the game. They really seemed to enjoy every aspect of it and they knew the rules backwards and forwards (intimidating). There were a few jokers in the group and I heard references to Dragon ball, Harry Potter, Geek and Sundry, and plenty more that I can’t recall or just went over my head. So I think that I’m in for a good time. I’ll try to learn names or assign nicknames or numbers or something.  I can’t wait until the next meeting when I will be able to join in!

Review: Farm Fresh To You

More and more people are becoming very conscious about what they put on and into their bodies. As a result, organic food and products are everywhere. They are usually pretty easy to get – most grocery stores have at least a small section dedicated to organic food. But sometimes the selection can be too small, too expensive, or too…ripe.

A growing trend these days is farm to table services. Their mission is to make it very easy for families and businesses to get fresh produce. I have a small family of four and we definitely eat our fair share of fruits and vegetables. A friend of mine gets a weekly delivery and loves it, so I decided to try it for myself. I found a company that delivered to my area called Farm Fresh To You.

WHAT IS IT? A service that grows farm fresh organic produce and delivers to your door. Simple. You can choose the frequency of your deliveries – once a week up to once every four weeks. You decide the size and variety of your box. You also are able to easily cancel or suspend your service (in case of a vacation etc).

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The website was clear and easy to navigate. I set up my delivery for the next week and waited. One thing to note is that the deliveries are always overnight and they don’t knock at the door. The box will just be placed on your doorstep between 8 pm and 8 am.

WHAT WAS IN THE BOX? (1) bunch of chard, (1) bunch of lettuce, (2) bunches of beets, (2) kiwis, (6) pears, (1lb) purple fingerling potatoes, and a newsletter with coupon.

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View from the top.

The box was a little bit on the expensive side. The one I chose was the least pricey and the options go up to $110 with the far end being large boxes for offices or businesses. I selected the “Mixed Fruit and Veggie Small” box for $26, however I used a referral code from a friend and received a $10 discount. In the end I suppose I wound up with a little more than I would have if I had purchased these organic fruits and veggies in a store or farmer’s market.

One of the great features this company offers is the ability to customize your order. While you can’t choose exactly what you will receive, you can specify items you would not like. I chose to exclude apples, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges; Not because of allergies or taste preferences, but just to see what else they had to offer.

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They’re nature’s candy ya know.

Since I had excluded many of the fruit options I received mostly vegetables (which was fine with me). They seemed to come almost directly from the ground so they were still dirty. You will need to make sure to give them a thorough washing.

Everything I received was very fresh – no overly ripe or rotting spots. The taste of organic produce is amazing! The pears are somehow peary-er and the kiwis are sweeter than I’ve experienced before. I confess I have never eaten a beet, nor have my children, so it will be fun to try them. We received two bunches of them so we can try them different ways and find out what’s best.

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Gorgeous chard

PROS

  • Delivery service
  • Customization
  • Truly fresh

CONS

  • Random
  • A little bit pricey

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WHAT’S THE VERDICT? It was a very convenient way to get fresh, organic, produce into my home. I will definitely purchase another but this time I will not exclude any options. I recommend this service to anyone who wants to try organic vegetables and fruit. Because of the random selections it’s a great way to discover new things and maybe learn to cook a few things you hadn’t before. It’s worth giving a try! If you’d like to get your own box from Farm Fresh TO You use the code JENN8875 for $10 off. Check to see if they deliver to your area.

(Disclaimer: I was in no way paid or compensated for this review. I purchased this product of my own free will and I did not receive it for free.)

Review: Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner

I have recently been getting really into Asian beauty products. It seems like they just have gorgeous flawless skin most of the time. I know that has a lot to do with genetics and diet, but I think it also is due to the products they use and the routines that are practiced is Asian countries. I had been taught the cleanse, tone, and moisturize method which is only those three steps. In many countries like Japan and Korea, girls are taught beauty routines that may contain up to 10 or even more steps! They have a serum, cream, lotion, or potion for just about everything you can imagine.

One of the things I have heard a lot about is the Wonder Pore Freshner from Etude House. It is a toner that can be used to tone (duh), gently cleanse in the morning, or spray on to refresh during the day. It is supposed to balance the pH of your skin and control excess sebum (gross oil).

WHAT IS IT? According to Etude House The freshner is a “10-in-1 total pore solution freshener for intensive pore care. This Freshner balances pH levels, makes skin pure like baby skin, and prevents skin troubles caused by pH imbalance.” Sounds good to me! I decided to try it.

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Adorable packaging

The 16oz bottle was about $17 and I ordered it from Amazon, but you can find it many places online including the Etude House website. The shipping took a month which was a long wait. I’m not sure if it would have been faster to order elsewhere but it comes from overseas (Korea), so that didn’t bother me too much.  It arrived about a month ago in this super cute powder blue packaging. The box has descriptions and instructions in both Korean and English.

WHAT WAS IN THE BOX? A 500 ml (16.90 fl.oz) bottle of freshener, a container of rectangle cotton pads, and three small samples of other products.

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Free cotton pads. Sweet.

There really is no scent to this product, which for me is a great thing!  I have irritable skin so I need to be careful of which products I use to avoid breakouts. No fragrance means that it is suitable to a wider variety of skin and sensitivities.

My skin is oily/combination – oily through the T-zone and normal to dry around the rest. I use this twice a day; over my whole face in the morning and through my T-zone at night. I found that if I use it twice on the drier areas of my face they can become a little too dry – but not tight. However, it works well to control my oily areas.

The package says it all, it is definitely cool and refreshing! There is no stinging, astringent feeling to it and it dries lightly with no tightness at all. My skin looks brighter and feels smoother. An added bonus is that it does seem to remove any stubborn dirt or makeup that my cleanser didn’t.

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Little samples

Far and away the thing I like most about this product is the pump. It makes it really easy to get just the right amount without getting it everywhere! You just place your cotton pad on the spout and press down to dispense. Since the cotton pad is there to absorb there is less chance of spill. The bottle is large and with such a precise dispenser I doubt I’ll be running out any time soon.

There was one thing that wasn’t so great about it. It had absolutely no effect on the size or visibility of my pores. Minimizing the appearance of the pores is something it claims to do and one of the reasons I wanted to try this toner.

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Pump action!

PROS

  • Pleasant cooling sensation
  • Cleans skin well
  • Controls excess oil
  • Awesome pump!

CONS

  • May be too much for dry skin
  • No pore minimizing effect
  • Long wait for shipping

WHAT’S THE VERDICT? Overall, I like this toner and I will probably purchase it again when I run out. I can’t say if it’s a holy grail product just yet – I’ll continue using it for a few more weeks first – but it is definitely looking good so far.