Ok, now that we're a full week into November, I might as well give you my October faves. Better late than never, right?
I've been wanting to start doing monthly favorites - inspired by Girly Juice and beauty bloggers everywhere - for awhile now. I like things. I have opinions about things. I also wanted to find a way to include snippets of thoughts on femme things, tech things, and other stuff I love outside of my sex blogging. Because I have interests beyond sex toys, believe it or not. Since a lot of September and October are kind of melded together in my mind with traveling, I'm giving myself room by saying that some of these might be from a few months ago. But how would you know? and as to updates about my trip - I'll be posting the best of my pictures when I get my film developed, probably next month! On to the favorites!
There's only one thing in this section: Southern Butter Travel Lube. I have been talking about it on twitter, I have been telling my friends, I have been ranting to my partner about how much I love it... This stuff is amazing, and has actually become part of my everyday stuff and the things I keep in my bag (I'll actually be doing a "what's in my bag" at some point soon!). You'll continue to hear about it, because I'm going to review it and mention it as often as possible.
What is the thing? They're an oil-based lubricant and body butter - I have the whole travel set, which is four tins - fragrance free, lemongrass & ginseng, rose & lavender, sandalwood & cinnamon. I'll tell you more about why I love them in the review (which will be linked here when it's up) but the basics are this: they smell good, taste good, they're great for every orifice as long as you don't use latex or polyisoprene condoms, which oil degrades, they don't melt in hot cars or in Israel at the height of summer, I use them as lip balm (also great for bjs!), and moisturizer.... I keep one on my nightstand, two in the medicine cabinet above the bathroom sink, and one in my purse. At all times. I will be buying a full-size tub when I can (this is saying a lot from someone who usually cares not a bit about lube I use except that it doesn't have shit ingredients) and probably another travel set when I run out of these. That's how much I love it.
The travel kit was sent to me by the wonderful folks at The Smitten Kitten, and I highly recommend checking it out!
You all knew it was coming.
I recently ordered these Miss L Fire Luellas on severe discount from modcloth, in this bright something between acid yellow and chartreuse, and I'm in love. They're gorgeously made, my first shoes that came with a dustbag, and they have elastic detailing on the inside of the heel and arch that helps them fit better and more comfortably. They have fricking tinsel in the vamp! I need more of this brand in my life - right now, I have my eyes on a few from their site, including the Annie, Grable, Cocktail, Rhonda, Maraschino, Cinderella, Baby Jane, Nancy, Pearl, Vista.... Can I just have them all?
If you follow my instagram at all, you know I've been wearing a particular shade of red lipstick really frequently as of late, and you may have even noticed when I bought it. Go click on that link, this packaging is mesmerizing - but maybe mute, airport sounds are kind of annoying and I got a text while I was taking the video. I'm talking, of course, about my Chanel Rouge Allure in the shade Passion. It's a nice, classic red and it looks great on me. The formula is also wonderful in terms of texture, stay, and it doesn't make my lips peel. This was my first high-end lipstick and I can't stop wearing it; the less expensive stuff I have just doesn't compare. Also, the packaging is a lot of fun to open and close. I'd like to also experiment with other designer lipsticks - YSL, Guerlain (especially the Rouge G Intense Shine and Shine Automatique, which also have amazing packaging), Givenchy, Dior, Burberry, and of course the now-infamous Louboutin lipsticks. I'm also super interested in Besame lipsticks, which are different reds from different years from I think the 20's to 60's. I just really like lipstick, ok? I talk a lot about makeup acquisitions on IG, but if people want to see more of that here, I can try to include things more regularly.
Another honorable mention for the femme stuff is Debora Lipmann The Stripper nail polish remover. I had left it in the states with Bex while I went to Israel because I didn't want the hassle of bringing my nail stuff with me, and while I was gone, used cheap polish remover. I forgot how great this stuff is! First off, it smells like lavender rather than chemicals. It also pulls off pretty much any polish with relative ease - glitter is still a pain, but red comes off super easy - and on top of that? It leaves my nails feeling really happy and moisturized. I'm not sure how I feel about the name yet, but I'll probably buy another bottle and the individual on-the-go mitts because that's the kind of thing I'd keep around - I also really like the grapefruit scented Josie Maran nailpolish removing pads. I just like femme ephemera, ok?
An unexpectedly amazing surprise was finding that my least expensive option for flying to Israel was also a really good one. I flew with Azerbaijan Airlines and had a layover in Baku, Azerbaijan. The flight attendants were wonderful, the planes were nice - I flew in larger planes on the longer flights from NYC to Baku and the opposite, and a smaller plane from Baku to Tel Aviv - the food was abundant and actually pretty good (I was fed four different times each trip, including meals and snacks, three on the longer legs and one on the shorter, and there were cookies in the standing area near the bathrooms), and it was relatively comfortable as far as planes go. Heyday ALiyev Airport in Baku was also pretty great - it was immaculate, looked retro-futuristic, and had slow escalators. I don't know why the slow escalators are important, but they are. Seriously, look at these pictures. I liked the airline so much that I decided to fly back with them - I bought my tickets after arriving in Israel - and was not disappointed. I'll definitely be flying with them in the future, especially because I'll likely be headed to Israel again at some point - I made friends there, and I care a lot about my partner's family there. It doesn't hurt that the food is amazing.
Honorable mention goes to the vegetarian/tourist village Amirim, which is in the northern part of Israel near the Kenneret. We stayed in a timmer - in our case, a small but extravagant yurt that had air conditioning, a hot tub inside and a small pool outside, and an espresso machine - which was owned by a family friend, so we got a huge discount. The area is on a hill? Small mountain? Overlooking the lake and absolutely breathtaking. There will be more photos when the film is developed. We also ate in the village at Dalia's - essentially a grandma's livingroom that was a restaurant, where dinner is prix fixe and you get whatever has been made that day - and it was absolutely some of the best food I've ever eaten. I'm kind of bummed we couldn't afford the spa, but our time there was really great, and punctuated by the visits of a black and white cat that looked like Hitler - there will be pictures of him when the film is developed, as well.
Before I went to Israel, I decided to switch banks - my old bank just wasn't cutting it, and even ended up charging me ridiculous overdraft fees while I was gone. After noticing they started to charge for debit card transactions if you did more than 5 in a month, I started looking for an alternative. I ended up finding Simple, a completely online bank that has a wonderful setup and doesn't charge any fees. I also had no problems using the card abroad, and am in the process of contesting a fee that happened when a restaurant told us my card didn't go through, so we paid the rest in cash - only to find that they had in fact charged my card. So far, the process has been super smooth. The way savings work is also really great, and I hope that at some point in the near future they open up to small business accounts, as I'd love to have everything with them. You can check them out here - it's my personal invite link, but I get nothing from recommending you other than helping more people eliminate shitty banking from their lives.
Another app I've been using recently is Slack which has been a good way to organize my collaborative work. I've used other platforms to try and organize communication, but so far I really like the way it's set up like social media and the fact that it uses channels, so my collaborators and I can keep our conversations organized.
Lomography has been a company I've ogled and thought about buying things from for awhile. When I went to Israel, I brought my camera with me, and had a heck of a time finding film - until I gave in and decided to look and see if there was a lomography online store in Israel, only to find that there was a store that carried their products and film in Tel Aviv. I'll have the results of that film probably next month, and will definitely be posting the best of the finished results here.
Beyond finding them in Israel, my automatic SLR overheated a few times while I was in Israel and ended up rolling film back into the cannister without using it. When I got back, I remembered there was a lomography store across from my favorite cafe - Stumptown near Washington Square - in NYC, and went to see if they could fix it while I was hanging out with Bex and Lena. Not only did they help me (for free! which is great, because that film was $$$) but I got to ogle some films I'll be grabbing next time I'm in NYC and I'll probably be getting my film developed there - it's just so hard to find a good developer. I'm also inspired to re-start my antique camera collection (I used to have some Brownies and Kodak A4's that were ruined in a basement flood) and try to get them working again - I'm also hoping to get on some local programs where I can use dark rooms and start developing my own film again!
Things i want from lomo:
It would have gone on forever if I added films.
Though I am not as much of a game nerd as Aerie, I have been playing more board games since this spring - I was playing weekly for awhile with a Queer Cooperative Board Gaming group (queers only playing cooperative games rather than competitive, how west philly can you get?) and my favorite was Betrayal at the House on the Hill. When I went to Israel, I was talking to my partner's cousin and mentioned that there was a game I really liked - when he asked what it was, we found out he actually had a copy and we played a few times during the trip.
When we returned, we bought our own copy, and have been looking for opportunities to play (you need three or more people). The concept is pretty simple - you're a group of people exploring a house. As you go through doors, you put down tiles and events happen, or you get an omen or item. Omens always carry a risk of triggering a haunt, which may pit the player who revealed it against everyone else, or it may it all the players against each other or the house - there are 50 different haunts that are possible. The rooms and items in play at the time of the haunt are often really crucial to whether or not the traitor or the survivors succeed... It's different every time, and I always have a lot of fun playing it - there is ample opportunity to really roleplay your character and get into the feel of the game, and I'd like to host a haunted game night sometime in order to facilitate such a thing.
And that's about it for October! If you lasted this long through my long-winded explanations and thoughs, good on ya.