Tarot Spread: Reflections for 2022

It’s been a whole year since I posted shared an in-depth reading with anyone. Going back to reread my annual reflections for last year ignited so many emotions in me. Even though I withdrew heavily from sharing my practice, I want to reconnect with it this year as I feel like I could have benefited from internalizing those messages in a more intentional manner.

As a reminder, I am referring to Kimberly (@fablesden)’s alternative to the Wheel of the Year, which you can follow along here. To honor my return to this practice, I am using the first deck I ever purchased: The Dreaming Way Tarot.

Wounds and Healing

Active Wounds – Justice: My anchor card for 2021 was Judgment – a card that calls upon us to reckon with self-evaluation and reflection. Do we like who we are by the end of the year? Justice carries a similar energy with it, but challenges us to be honest with such assessment rather than trying to smooth over the cracks of our experience from the past year. Truthfully, the end of the year was painful. While, the blind figure of justice holds the sword and scales as an impartial assessor of our lives, I couldn’t help but pick and pick at all the seams of myself.

Moments of Healing – Eight of Swords: It is so striking to me that these two cards have swords and blindfolds. While Justice holds the sword firmly at the hilt, the figure in the VIII of Swords is surrounded by swords with their hands in their pockets with a nonchalant air despite these seemingly threatening and oppressive forces. This reminds me of the cycles mental cycles we can find ourselves in with self-judgment, self-imprisonment, and doubt. How do we bring down the walls we’ve put up around us? To even recognize that there are walls there? If the wounds of 2021 are a result of perceived injustice or dishonesty, then the pathway to heal is to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable and take our time to carefully find our way out.

Contraction and Expansion

Moments of Contraction – The Hierophant: The order, regulation, and tradition of the Hierophant are elements that I find difficult to connect with on a personal level so I’m not entirely surprised by its placement as a moment of contraction. When I keep in mind the lingering wounds from 2021, the Hierophant reminds me not to apply to such rigid concepts of justice when reckoning with my life choices. A little flexibility and openness can go a long way to avoid receding too far inward.

Moments of Expansion – Ace of Swords (R): There is a strong presence of swords including their utility and symbolic presence across the spread. In this position, the sword is a reminder that in order to expand you need to know how to wield it responsibility. Even as it can provide a crystalizing idea or breakthrough, it can also cause pain and destruction. To expand, we must understand how to utilize the tools at our disposal — including resistance to weaponizing our own thoughts. [Sidenote: this is the exact card in the exact same placement as last year. Clearly this is something I should continue to mull over!]

Stressors and Opportunities

Major Stressors/Challenges – Five of Swords: The figure on the right holds all of the resources and ideas and in is heading forward without any consideration of those left behind. The barren winter landscape only heightens the degree to which this will affect the figure on the left. One of the major stressors and challenges ahead are conflict and the fear that such events will result in a great rift between people and resources. And as the Sword is an introspective suit, inner conflict can also cleave ourselves in two.

Opportunities, Inspiration/Luck – Knight of Wands (R): This knight poses the contrast between one’s capacities and application of those skills. Though the knight has confidence, determination, and skill, this requires working in tandem with one’s environment or else they may risk heading in the wrong direction altogether. This is a reminder that opportunities will come if we can lean on others for support even as we attempt to remain true to our own vision and spirit.

North Star and World Energy

North Star/Anchor Compass – King of Swords: Given the prominence of swords in this spread, it’s no surprise that the Anchor for this year is the King of Swords. There is the potential to be disciplined and edified as much as there is to be irrational and controlling. The tip of the sword rests on the hem of the King’s tunic – a reminder that a sharp wit can come with its own pains.

Overall World Energy – Ten of Cups (R): If last year’s energy was a resistance to change without exercising patience, this year’s energy moves its focus away from the individual to the community. Unfortunately, its just as out of joint. Even as advice regarding wounds and healing focus on the internal, others such as the moments of the stressors and opportunities are preoccupied by others. Though we might long for mutual aid, homecoming, and family, that requires work coming from both ends: self-realization and a desire for others to meet us partway. But is the world ready to share its resources and energy to achieve such a goal?


Tarot Spread: Reflections for 2021

Yesterday, Kimberly (@fablesden) shared an alternative to the Wheel of the Year and it spoke to all the reasons why big tarot spreads that compartmentalize according to time rarely work for me. While drawing a card for each month is interesting in the moment, I never find myself compelled to reflect back on them. When you add monthly, weekly, and daily draws into the pile, there is just too much noise for me to meditate in a meaningful manner.

For this year, I followed Kimberly’s spread, which you can follow along here, using the Star Spinner Tarot by Trungles.

  • Active Wounds
  • Moments of Healing
  • Moments of Contraction
  • Moments of Expansion
  • Major Stressors/Challenges
  • Opportunities of Inspiration/Luck
  • North Star / Anchor Compass
  • Overall World Energy

Wounds and Healing

Active Wounds – The Empress: This is an unusual placement for a card signifying abundance, generosity, and nurturing until we recall how much we have been deprived over the past year—much longer for some of us. Opportunities that fell through. Touch from those we love. The compassion we fail to extend to ourselves. A lack of compassion for others as we become increasingly more preoccupied with our own discomforts. These are complex, tangled wounds that will require attention as we carry over into this next cycle.

Moments of Healing – VIII of Swords: The heartbeat of this spread is that healing is not simple. As these wounds continue to prick at us, we put up additional walls, deflecting the roots of our daily pain. What ways are you contributing to the exacerbation of your pain? How have you withdrawn your generosity for yourself or others? In what ways can you extend yourself compassion for these faults without denying your relationship to them?

Contraction and Expansion

Moments of Contraction – Page of Chalices: One of the risks entering into the new year is the powerful temptation of escapism. While curiosity, imagination, and longing are all wonderful sentiments to foster responsibly, now more than ever the present demands our attention. Healing or wounded Empress means being an active participant in this world.

Moments of Expansion – Ace of Swords (R): The Ace and Page, Chalices and Swords, are powerful complements in this placement. Reversed, the Ace of Swords reminds us not to act impulsively. Our decisions, beliefs, and actions must be intentional. We must take the time to parse through our thoughts and emotions together before making decisions.

Stressors and Opportunities

Major Stressors/Challenges – XIX The Sun: What could possibly be anxiety-inducing about the Sun’s burst of energy, joy, and celebration? Well, January is a month where we are flooded with determination, optimism, and energy. All too often, however, we burn that fuel too quickly and are left disappointed about our personal stagnation, developing a cyclical deprivation of the base needs the Empress guides us to foster. We are overwhelmingly aware of the desire for this year to not be an extension of the last, but the burden to “fix” the world in the wink of one evening is an impossible one to bear.

Opportunities of Inspiration/Luck – XVII The Star (R): In this placement, the Star reminds us that hope is not something that will fall into our laps. The unfortunate reality is that all the darkness of the year prior is still here. Communities are still suffering, mourning, dying. Finding the hope to keep moving forward is vital but it will not be easy to find. We will need to dig deep to find the light in the dark and keep moving on together.

North Star and World Energy

North Star / Anchor Compass – XIX Judgment: The penultimate card asks, “Who are you?” and beckons you to reply with your resounding truth. Though there is significant internal work to be done this year, this is the anchor for the year. Know who you are through it all.

Overall World Energy – XI The Hanged Man (R): The world wants to move on and the start of a new year gives the illusion that we have a clean break from what brought us here. This perception is ultimately more harmful than good. The Hanged Man upright knows that patience is required for real wisdom and transformation. Were you able to answer Judgment’s call? Do you have the patience to wait until you know?

ColourPop Retrospective

Since 2015, I have placed seven orders from ColourPop. About a month ago I decided to pause purchasing from the brand until I witness marked improvement with their shade range (especially given their past few launches with ashy eyeshadow and lighter blushes), more thought with respect to the volume of their launches, greater transparency regarding their internal navigation of the #PullUpOrShutup promises, and, to be honest, when they stop boring the ever-loving-heck outta me.

Of those seven orders, the products pictured are the only products that I have left in my collection – minus the two highlighters and lipstick given to me by a friend and my brushes. For the purposes of this retrospective, I want to focus on what I spent my own money on to reflect on what I would repurchase if I had that money back, the fast-fashion fomo of ColourPop’s marketing history, and how I have learned from these shopping experiences about my relationship to makeup and spending.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

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Packing for the Holidays

Yesterday, I had one of the worst plane trips of my entire life. It’s not unusual to experience flight delays when we’re this close to the holidays, but waiting two hours to taxi to your gate to deplane… well, that’s LAX for you when it rains!

In other news, I’m home in California for the holidays and my makeup bag is stuffed. Compared to my curated clothing wardrobe for the trip, I may have overpacked just a touch when it comes to sparkly fun things.

When choosing what to bring, I tried to keep in mind what I was going to be doing in California: attending holiday parties, a funeral services, meeting up with friends I haven’t seen in far too long, celebrating my ninth anniversary and second wedding anniversary on twelfth night… so I felt justified to indulge a little bit when packing.

Base products were an easy choice. After finishing my bottle of Laneige Teint Idole a few days before packing, I only own one foundation. Add the concealer and liquid highlighter from my Project Pan and my base is complete!

For powders, I brought Milani Silky Bronzer, Clinique Fig Pop and Cola Pop, Tarte Paaarty, and the ever popular Essence Pure Nude highlighter. For setting powder, I brought my Laura Mercier Candleglow powder (my one compact with a mirror that I can take with me) and Elf HD undereye setting powder.

Palettes and eye products are much harder for me to narrow down. I was swapping things around the morning of our flight haha

For palettes, I chose to combine the Makeup Revolution Vitality palette (more mattes, transition shades, inner corner highlights) with Colourpop Good Sport (more variation in texture with those chunky glitter shades and color with purples, oranges, and greens.) Since it’s officially winter, I also wanted to pull a few cool tones single shadows: blue, taupes, lilac, and olives.

I packed not one but two Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits: Aurora and Moonchild. I rarely wear these as highlighters on my face haha I’m all about a maximalist eye look and these duochromatic, glitter bombs are chef’s kiss

That last palette is actually the Stila Field of Florals blush palette, which adds even more variety for cream bronzer and blush to the powder products I brought. Let’s just ignore how long ago this palette was released!

On the right are my staple products for brows, eye primer, and even some mascara and liner just in case I decide to wear them.

I had help narrowing down my lipstick choices, because my inclination was to pack… all of them. The result is a mix of cool and warm tones, mostly nude and wearable shades since I have been focusing much more on my eyes lately.

I’m sure that I still packed more than what will get used, especially since there will be plenty of days where I likely won’t wear any makeup at all (*cough* like today.) At the end of my trip, I’ll write a debrief showcasing some of my favorite looks and how I might adjust my packing approach next time.

What kind of packing approach do you take? All the things? Minimalist bag? Forego makeup altogether?

Project Pan: 20 Products in 2020

I have been lurking panning communities since they originated in Beauty Blogs *checks timeline* over a decade ago. Oh boy..

Even though I get a lot of use out of most of my makeup I own, I have a tendency to hold onto products, especially creams, far longer than I should. My mom raised me to be thrifty so if something has not gone off then it stays put!

20 Products in 2020 is the latest challenge to trend in r/ProjectPan. There’s something satisfying to that goal and even though the number sounds daunting, I think I’ve found the right combination of products that I could feasibly finish.

The Base Products

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (travel size): This is one of many purchases made for my wedding in 2018. I’ve since found this to be too drying and mainly use it to foil eyeshadow. When I finish the bottle, I’ll repurpose the container for something else since the nozzle does produce a fine mist.

L’Oreal Lumi Glotion & Makeup Highlighter: I bought this when it was recommended as a Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter dupe and I wore the heck out of it last spring and summer with minimal base makeup back when my skin was clearer. Lately, I’ve only been using it on the highpoints of my face underneath foundation. I’m guessing I have less than half of the tube left.

Touch in Sol No Poreblem Primer: Admittedly, I’m not a face primer person. I prefer having a moisturized base and additional primer on top of my sunscreen doesn’t really do much to make my base apply easier or last longer. I’ve used half of the bottle and have no strong feelings about this product. 

Tarte Shape Tape in Light Medium: This is not my shade haha It’s too deep and a bit too peachy. I wear this sheered out as foundation just to cover the redness in my cheeks and forehead. I’d like to use this up and purchase a concealer that is less matte and, obviously, a better color match.

Tarte Paaarty Blush (mini): Everyone has this in their project pan because blush is so daunting to use up unless it’s a mini. This is such a compact package and utilitarian shade that I’m confident I can finish this one. I can even see the very beginning of a pan forming.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Sunset Striptease: Purchased this after Temptalia gave it a good review. I like this bronzer, but it can be hard to pick up on the kind of brushes I tend to use for bronzer and it’s starting to form hard pan as a result. I’ll need to mess around a bit to find a brush that will work with this again.

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Smoke n Whistles and Wisp: These were both gifted to me by a friend (hey there if you’re reading!) who had already hit pan on the first shade, which I’m determined to fully pan this year or give up trying haha I do not expect to use Wisp up completely, but I want to try and hit pan if possible. Once summer rolls around, I know I’ll use these both a ton.

The Eye Products

Makeup Revolution Reloaded Palette in Vitality: It’s a little daunting to imagine hitting pan on every shade in a palette, but I already have decent progress across multiple pans here. What I really need is to find different color combinations, because I often fall into a pattern of doing the same 2-3 looks. Note: the raspberry pinks are showing up far redder on camera than they are in real life!

Benefit Ka-Brow in 5 Deep Brown: I don’t know why the Ulta salesperson insisted this was a better shade match for me than 4.5 given that this is notably warmer than I generally go. This is another “bought it for my wedding” item that I would like to use up before it goes off. This means I’m on a brow product no-buy for the foreseeable future.

E.L.F. Smudge Pot in Cruising Chic: Please don’t judge me, but this is quite old. It’s still creamy, pigmented, and doesn’t have any discernible smell so I’m going to continue using it… but use your own judgment for your products! It’s a nice light, shimmery base that I especially enjoy using in the summer.

Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Bandit, Flower Shop, and Wattles: These are my only super shock shadows left after I went all out on a huge Colourpop order a few years ago. They’re still creamy but I know they won’t last forever.

Nyx Glitter Primer: I was gifted a tube of Too Faced Glitter Glue on my birthday, and now I never use this one. Since I have been wearing shimmery, glittery products a lot more often, I’m going to try and make an effort to use this enough to decide whether or not I should pass it on for good.

The Lip Products

Colourpop Ultra Glossy Lip in Blowzy: This is my favorite lip gloss and it is almost completely used up. I’ve never panned one before so it’s kind of exciting! I’ll likely repurchase this exact shade, too.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer Liar: This lipstick is the bane of my existence. It’s melting and threatening to fall off the tube any day now. Until then, I’d like to keep trying to use this up to the nub. Even though I hate what a mess it is in its current state, the sheer formula for the Vice Lipsticks are very comfortable.

Bite Beauty Lip Crayon in Glace (mini): I’ve heard that Bite products have a shorter shelf life so this felt like a good candidate for the project. It’s an easy shade to wear and it’s one of the few cooler toned lipsticks I own.

Nyx Suede Matte Lip Liner in Los Angeles: I never, ever wear lip liner and even though I like this color, it needs constant sharpening. If I put my mind to it, I’m sure I can finish this within a couple months.

Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in Eastend Snob: This is more on the pink side and is supposedly a dupe for Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk, which still doesn’t motivate me to use lip liner – go figure.

Are you participating in any panning projects this year? I’m always curious to hear what people have chosen to use up!

Welcome to Pajamas & Glitter

As an introverted, bookish nerd, I rarely have occasion to wear dramatic, editorial makeup. So I don’t wait for an occasion. I wear all the colorful, shimmery textured eyeshadow I want in the comfort of my apartment, snuggled under a blanket, with a book or a game, while I narrate my routine to my cats. 

Or to work. Or the grocery store. But that’s besides the point!

Lately, I’ve fallen into a pattern of consuming content about all the hobbies I love. Makeup tutorials, reviews, hauls, declutters. Let’s Plays. Endless podcasts on tabletop role-playing games, cartoons, literature. Dozens of webcomics.

It’s a good distraction from the woes of the world, but I want to do more than passively consume. I want to make something. I want to document my thoughts. I want to afford myself the freedom to be a goof on the Internet that I’ve long lost since abandoning my middle school Live Journal.

If any of this peaks your interests, grab a cuppa something warm and I’ll be here with new posts soon.