Stuff I Liked: September 2018

This is only a week late! I’d apologize for neglecting my blog, but traffic was actually up in September for the first time since I’ve started my new job.Bar graph of traffic from April to September. There was a steady decrease, but September raised a little bit from August.
I guess I’m doing fine blogging, then. I’ve got a September Birchbox post in the works, as well. I’ve used up some of the samples but am keeping the empty bottles around so that I can take pictures of them in a faux unboxing photo set. Now you know the secret.

We’re moved in, unpacked, and I’ve started to hang up some art. I bought and assembled an office chair. Things haven’t quite calmed down, though. We’re working on getting our heat set up for the winter. The house currently has a decrepit oil system in the basement. It’s converted from COAL. It has little door to shovel the coal into and everything. There’s no way that it’s going to last for as long as we want to live here.

I’ve done a wee bit of painting. You guys like the watercolors, right?
Scan of a watercolor painting of a green sea turtle. This is Myrtle, if you've been to the New England Aquarium. The colors are a little muted.
I’m still working on how to digitize them. I think that photographs (below) look better than scans (above).
The same postcard, but photographed with my phone under bright light. Myrtle is much brighter and contrasts with the ocean water around her. I've put three blue blocks of paint under her and my brushes above her for the aesthetic.
I need to play with my scanner settings some more, but I think that I’ll end up pulling out my good camera going forward. Anyone have any tips?

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Stuff I liked July 2018/August 2018
Funkless Deodorant Tangerine & Lime Review My holy grail, eco-friendlier deodorant. I’d post this in the summer if I was more savvy about my clicks. What’s up Southern Hemisphere?
Birchbox August 2018
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator Review
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush in Give Me a Cuddle Review
Tomoson Review
Valjean Labs Facial Serum in Hydrate

Grumpy Skin has a facebook page! I’m not being irritating with it, WordPress just wont push to private pages anymore. Give it a like, if that’s your thing.

Books

Heathen by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering
I am HERE for some modernized Norse mythology. I’m also very deceived by the library categorizing this as teen. There are a ton of boobs. I tried to read it on my break at work.

I did not get fired, so we’re good.

Ms Marvel Volume 7 by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa
I’m still SUPER INTO Ms. Marvel. It’s all ages, but somehow more political and current than a lot of the “adult” comics I read.

Fruits Basket Volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya
Getting this from the library has been an ordeal. Someone entered the original volumes and the collected volumes as the same book into the catalog. I’ve been having to request three or four books before I get the right one. Worth it. Furuba is holding up.

Video Games

I’ve been desperately trying to play through my Steam sale haul before Fallout 76 comes out. I haven’t decided if I want to play it or not, but I want to be ready if I do. I’ve opened the pre-order page a few times and keep deciding that I don’t want to spend $60 on maybe liking a multiplayer game yet. We’ll see.

Fallout 4 Another great game with a subpar ending from Bethesda. And bugged, oh man. I’m so glad the internet exists to tell me how to get around game breaking bugs. It was fun, though. I’ll probably do what I did with Skyrim and spend a year replaying it while mostly ignoring the plot.

Final Fantasy 7 I desperately wanted this game in high school. I couldn’t find a copy of it to save my life. I’m glad I’m finally getting the chance to play through it. Though it has aged HORRIBLY. There’s a particularly bad part of the story where you crossdress to save one of your party members from potential sex work. Man. I’m really curious how faithful the remake will be. It needs some updates.

Movies


Guess who ugly cried over the Captain Marvel trailer? I did. She’s my absolute favorite Marvel character. I’m excited and terrified for the movie.

How was your October? More importantly, do you also stan Captain Marvel?

Tomoson Review

We’re going a little meta today. Blogging about blogging.

Tomoson is a platform that many bloggers use to get free stuff. Uh, I mean, it’s a platform that bloggers use to receive items for “testing and review”. I understand why it exists on both sides. Bloggers spend a lot of time, effort and their own money to grow their blog. New businesses have trouble getting the word out about their products. I don’t have a problem with the idea of these kinds of platforms.

I’m on a few of them. I’ve been a member of Influenster since before I had a blog. I’ve received items from Brand Backer. I tried Tomoson.

I’m not above wanting free stuff. The problem with these platforms is that you’re often incentivized to leave positive reviews to keep receiving things. With Tomoson in particular, “influencers”/bloggers are rated by the company they work with, with the more legit companies seeking out people that have done more campaigns and have a higher rating.

What ends up happening is that people request a lot of the easy items to review (ebooks, weird supplements) in hopes that one day they can get nice products. A lot of these campaigns request Amazon reviews. Amazon has a HUGE problem with fake reviews at the moment. I wasn’t planning to be part of the problem.

I did one campaign for a menstrual cup, Cali Cup, which was great. It’s a genuinely good product that I was happy to put the word out about. I did a facebook and instagram post for them. And then nothing. I realized that I needed to play the game and do some ebook reviews.

Now, I like books. I just thought that the ebooks on Tomoson seemed like garbage. I bit the bullet and requested a kind of self-help/time management/personal success book. Right up my alley. I love planning stuff. I thought FOR SURE I could find something nice to say about this book.

Guys. Entire pages were missing from it. Short lists of tips had duplicates. There were weird condescending bits about kids these days. The author photo was a stock photo. This was a clear scam product.

I had no way to report the listing on Amazon for being a sham book. There was no option to contact Tomoson directly about my issues with the product. I emailed the company through the platform and told them about the missing pages and poor editing, asking if I had received a draft. They just emailed me the same book in a different format.

So my options were to give the book a nice Amazon review, or to not submit anything and let my account be shut down for not completing a campaign. I didn’t complete the campaign.

And now I’m SUPER suspicious of any disclaimer that says the item they received was from Tomoson. There’s absolutely no product oversight on that platform. I don’t want free stuff that badly. Neither should you.

(Edit: Side note, pretty sure that leaving Amazon reviews in exchange for products is against their ToS and people are having their accounts shut down for that. Fun and good ethics all around!)

Stuff I liked: July/August 2018

Yeah, we missed July’s wrap up the first time around. July was the longest month of my life. Buying a house is no joke. We’re completely moved out of the apartment now. Settling and unpacking takes a bit longer. I’m working on a “what we did in our first month” post, as well. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress when there’s so much to do.

I have some post card paintings to mail out and more to work on. I don’t have a good set up for painting as of yet. I kind of, uh, threw a lot of stuff away in the move. Like my office chair. I figured it would make me buy a new one quickly. I needed a new one.

I have not bought one.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask
9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life
Ipsy, A Year In Review
Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask
My Birchbox Free Gift
eShakti Review
Birchbox July 2018
Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad (uncharacteristically for Grumpy Skin, I LIKE this one!)
Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify
We bought a house!
The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

I’m almost caught up on my reader. I’m actually writing posts (like this one!) instead of relying on my queue. We’re getting back to normal.

I’m low on media recommendations for you guys. Next month!
Stick your best blog post of the past two months in my comments so I make sure I don’t miss it.

We bought a house!

Or more realistically, we are now renting our living space from the bank for an amount of time that I cannot conceptually understand because it is longer than I have been alive.

This has been me for the past two weeks:
I'm sitting on the floor but only my feet are in the frame. I'm in my empty new living room surrounded by a few boxes and stacks and stacks of books.

We are mostly moved out/in. Our lease isn’t up until the end of August, so we didn’t have to do the mad August 31/September 1st dash. I’m so happy about that. It’s A Thing in Boston.

Baker is adjusting well. We have some stairs for him now. For some reason he loves the stairs. I had to get him a nice, heated bed to try to tempt him to stay on the first floor with his food and litter box. He’s old. Our stairs are steep. He’s also an idiot, so we’re terrified he’s going to fall down them.

Image of Baker curled up in a large cat bed. It's almost not big enough. He's fat, even with all of the extra exercise.
I have room for plants and cooking now! I can open my oven while standing in front of it. For the past five years I’ve had to stand to the side because the apartment oven opened directly into the cabinet across from it. I’ve been baking and tending a little herb garden in the kitchen window sill.

Grumpyskin is gonna be getting some hecka domestic posts coming up, if you can’t tell. Just look at my cilantro coming in!

Image of a little biodegradable pot with 15 cilantro sprouts.

We’re super pleased with how it ended up. Our lease renewal window closed before we closed on the house, so we were going to have to move either way. I wasn’t saying much publicly because I was terrified I’d jinx it. My commute is better. We’re closer to a library. We didn’t end up as far away from the city as we thought we’d have to be. It’s all great.

So this is why I haven’t been commenting on your posts. I was without internet for the first week of moving because someone inexplicably cut. the. wire. from the outside of our house. We think that it happened when they painted the siding before it was sold. No other reason made sense. It took a little while for RCN to understand that yes, we did actually need a pole person and not a technician to come over.

It might be a little while before I’m caught up on my reader. I’ve got things queued up, so you shouldn’t be able to tell a difference other than my lack of comments on things.

And yes, I will post more pictures when I get my life out of the boxes. It will be a few weeks before we’re cute.

March 2018

Now that it’s April it can’t snow any more, right? Right?

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

February 2018
Branding and Growth: Day One
Hard Candy Fierce Effects Plum Diva Lip Gloss in Plum Diva
March 2018 Ipsy Bag
My Current Skincare Routine — March 2018
Sephora Collection Sleeping Mask in Pearl
Discount Codes Page

I was also nominated for the Liebster Award 2 by Hunida and The Sunshine Blogger Award by Anna and Sam. I’m not much into the question chains, but I appreciate it!

Nice Life Things

I finished my class! It was terrible. At some point I’ll detail just how awful for those of you who haven’t heard me complain about it every day for the last five months. I know you love it when I’m cranky. I’m glad I did it because I have a nice little network of friends to go to meetups with now, but man, it was not worth the money.

My friend also snagged me Angela Davis’ autograph after a talk this month. No big deal.

Podcasts

Miss Manhattan (Episode 200) Redux by 99% Invisible
This is a repeat, but I’ve also independently listened to this episode multiple times. The first listen made me cry. My latest (before the re-air) was on a bus on my way to see a sculpture or seven of Miss Manhattan herself.

Statue based on Audrey Munson in front of the library in NYC.My Radiotopia coin in front of the Audrey Munson statue, of course.

Airships and the Future that Never Was (Episode 300!) by 99% Invisible
So yeah, obviously a cool topic. Aside from that, this is somehow the best produced episode of 99pi that I’ve ever heard. That’s a high bar to clear.

Firsts by Ear Hustle
Ear Hustle is back for season two! This podcast is produced by men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Every episode we get is a gift. This one covers prison firsts. I cried.

Law and Disorder by Reveal
Segment 3, Dirty Shooting Ranges Poison Police, is what I’ve been thinking about the most in this episode. There’s a hypothesis that the crime rate dropped after lead was removed from gasoline because people were now longer dealing with the effects of lead exposure. Could police aggression be related to dirty ranges? That’s a bit beyond the scope of my blog, but either way people shouldn’t be exposed to lead.

What was your favorite thing about March?

Branding and Growth: Day One

After a year+ of blogging, I’m finally digging into the WordPress resources to see how the overlords think I should be running a blog. They do benefit from me doing a good job. I trust them.

The first recommended course is called Branding and Growth. WordPress sends you an email with prompts and tips for ten days. I’m not going over them here in real time. I all ready have the whole set sitting in my inbox. We’ll get to them when we get to them.

Day one is about setting goals. I love goals.

Today’s task: write down three concrete goals for your blog.

1. Have more consistent traffic. I’m trying to write my posts so they are more search engine friendly to bring in traffic on days that I’m not actively posting.

2. Publish a post every week for 2018. I published 35 posts in 2017. Writing and queuing posts has been becoming easier. Goal #1 isn’t quite in my control, but I think that this one is attainable.

3. Have 100 followers.  Hi guys! This number has also slowly been creeping up.

So, there are my little goals. What are yours?