The Monkey Is In.

So be prepared. Bring a banana.

I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

PROJECT PAN - aka My Attempt to Actually Use Up Some of the Shit I Buy

I've seen quite a few videos on ye olde YouTubery about something called "Project Pan". Basically it's a conscious effort to use up a certain amount of makeup/skin care/hair care/etc. over the course of a year. 

In make-up lingo, when you've used enough of a product, say a blush for example, that you can see the metal pan at the bottom, it's called 'hitting pan'. Hence, Project Pan is to reach that goal - to see that little circle of tin shining through. Then to work on those few grams of product as much as possible until you've finished it.

Make sense?

This also applies to things that don't have pans - eyeliners, lipsticks, hairspray. You're just using a product until it's all gone. 

The reason to do this, for a lot of us, may be to help curb the urge to go out and buy our 37th lip gloss or 23rd gel eyeliner or 17th tube of mascara until we finish up what we've already purchased. It shows us what greedy little whores we've been this past year (or 5) and maybe we should just calm our shit down already. (Obviously I'm not talking about makeup sent as a PR shipments or a launch or some other instance where people are given products to try, which I don't get, obvi)

So I went through my stuff and pulled out things that I've already hit pan on, are close to doing so, or products that I've had a while but keep shoving to the back of the drawer because they've been replaced by the latest new shiny object.

I don't know how this will go. I'm not the most disciplined person on the planet, I'm lazy as fuck, and I'm in constant need for variety (I blame being a Gemini). But it certainly doesn't hurt to try so I'm thinking I'll do update posts ever 3-4 months, assuming I remember to take pics of my PP products BEFORE, AFTER, and DURING this whole process.

But let's break down what I've got and what I'm hoping to achieve in 2018.

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I wanted to post the lip stuff image first because at this point, there's no real plan to use up any of these. With my Invisalign trays, even products that DON'T normally get all over my teeth DO get all over my trays. So I've pulled aside my lightest colored lip products (except that Dose of Colors liquid lip because that shit dries before you can say Monkey Wanna Banana and doesn't get all over) and will try to use those as often as possible. This pile has lip liners, lip sticks, and lip glosses. I will keep these on top of my vanity as a reminder to use them. (UPDATE: I've already discovered that the Tarte lipstick and my Colourpop lippie stick in Choker get all over my trays so those are going back in the drawer. Ugh. I may be resigned to colorless gloss for the next few months if this continues.)

I've not included eye shadows in this project because I have a good collection of palettes and singles and I know damn well I'll never use any of them up so LET ME HAVE THEM, DAMMIT! DON'T JUDGE ME!

I gathered all these products a couple of weeks ago and just within the last two days, three of them have dried out too much to be usable. They included a Colourpop gel liner, Essence Mascara, and Seraphine liquid eyeliner.

The rest of my products, with more detailed pics, include:

Eyeliners

I forgot to take a picture of the full packaging of the double ended Elf eye shadow/eyeliner stick (the thick dark grey pencil below). But while trying to measure out the eyeliner end, I dropped it and it broke. I also had a dark brown Milani retractable eyeliner and while measuring the amount in that one, it refused to roll back down into the tube and mushed off. So those can be marked off the list! It's a cheat but whatevs.

I love the Elf cream eye shadow. I haven't used it much but I don't think there was a lot of product to begin with. It's a great base for under similar toned shadows but it looks really nice on it's own, too. The Colourpop eyeliner looks dry but it's not. I don't know how this has stayed so creamy when the black and green ones, which I bought later, are already dried up and gone.

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Mascara/Liquid Eyeliner

I originally had an orange tube of mascara from Essence in the pile (you can see it in that first pic) but it started getting clumpy and dry in the past day or so. So I pitched it and replaced it with the Medusa's Makeup Witch Lash you see above. The Kat Von D liner might only have a few more uses - I've had it so long I can't believe it didn't dry out sooner! 

I originally had an orange tube of mascara from Essence in the pile (you can see it in that first pic) but it started getting clumpy and dry in the past day or so. So I pitched it and replaced it with the Medusa's Makeup Witch Lash you see above. The Kat Von D liner might only have a few more uses - I've had it so long I can't believe it didn't dry out sooner! 

Eye Primers

Because of the style of packaging, it's hard to measure how much is in each tube. But I'm pretty sure at least half is gone from the Elizabeth Mott one (thank gods because it SUCKS) and I've had both of these for a very long time. I need to use them up!

Because of the style of packaging, it's hard to measure how much is in each tube. But I'm pretty sure at least half is gone from the Elizabeth Mott one (thank gods because it SUCKS) and I've had both of these for a very long time. I need to use them up!

Eye Brow Gels/Liner

The L'Oreal brow plumper is so old but still going strong (had it before I went Cruelty Free). The Coloupop brow boss gel is weird and I don't think it does much so I just wanna use it up. I also forgot to take a full pic of the eyebrow pencil from J Cat Beauty. FYI, it's actually really nice.

The L'Oreal brow plumper is so old but still going strong (had it before I went Cruelty Free). The Coloupop brow boss gel is weird and I don't think it does much so I just wanna use it up. I also forgot to take a full pic of the eyebrow pencil from J Cat Beauty. FYI, it's actually really nice.

Concealer

Because this product is so thick it's hard to see how much is actually in the bottle. It also turns out that, though I loved this when I first got it, it looks way too dry now under my eyes. So I'm going to try and use it as an eye primer.

Because this product is so thick it's hard to see how much is actually in the bottle. It also turns out that, though I loved this when I first got it, it looks way too dry now under my eyes. So I'm going to try and use it as an eye primer.

Liquid Higlighter

I doubt I'll finish this as I only need a teeny amount each time I use it. It's also very thick so I can't measure how full the bottle is or how much I will work through.

I doubt I'll finish this as I only need a teeny amount each time I use it. It's also very thick so I can't measure how full the bottle is or how much I will work through.

Lip Oil

You can see I've worked through 3/4 of this already so I hope I finish it soon! It's from Milani and it's either the Rose or Raspberry scent.

You can see I've worked through 3/4 of this already so I hope I finish it soon! It's from Milani and it's either the Rose or Raspberry scent.

Face Powders

I got that small Tarte setting powder a few years ago. I've made some progress but it's been in my drawer for so long, I really gotta use it up. The compact is their powder foundation. It's a good color for winter because it's super light - it actually does look weird on me in the summer. So I'll use it as much as possible over the next few months. I'd like to at least wear off that stamped logo/name!

The Elf powder is almost a cheat here. But those little bits on the edges are completely usable and a brush can get in there really well.

Bronzer

This is from Pixi. I don't use bronzer that much and when I do, I don't put on a lot. But it doesn't even look like I've made a dent in it! Ggrrrr.

This is from Pixi. I don't use bronzer that much and when I do, I don't put on a lot. But it doesn't even look like I've made a dent in it! Ggrrrr.

Eye creams

I don't know why the cream blush is in the picture but okay...I've had the other tubes for a while and I'm pretty sure they're almost empty. The little one for sure. I use these right before concealer which helps immensely with application.  The blush I've had for YEARS, I believe I got it in a 3B subscription. I'm loath to use it up because I have nothing else like it and I don't know if I can find this anywhere.

I don't know why the cream blush is in the picture but okay...I've had the other tubes for a while and I'm pretty sure they're almost empty. The little one for sure. I use these right before concealer which helps immensely with application. 

The blush I've had for YEARS, I believe I got it in a 3B subscription. I'm loath to use it up because I have nothing else like it and I don't know if I can find this anywhere.

Blushes

The deep red blush is from NYX. Again, I've had this for a long time but it's super pigmented. I barely need to tap by brush on it to get enough color. So I have no illusions that I'll hit pan any time soon. But I need to use it more since it is a perfect color for the winter time. I'd like to make some kind of dent in the quilted pattern at least!

The purple blush is from Colourpop, one of my first purchases. It looks a little ratchet but believe me, it works just fine. I hit pan a while ago but I haven't been using it consistently. That's about to change!

Foundation

I honestly don't know if that line is exactly where the level of the remaining product is. It's hard to tell but it should be close. Though this formula is a bit drying, it's a decent match for me now. It can look a little yellow but I'm working with it. If I need a foundation that I know will last really well, I won't use this (Tarte Rainforest of the Sea is best for me) but it will stay on for a few hours and that's good enough for errands or lunch or something quick.

I honestly don't know if that line is exactly where the level of the remaining product is. It's hard to tell but it should be close. Though this formula is a bit drying, it's a decent match for me now. It can look a little yellow but I'm working with it. If I need a foundation that I know will last really well, I won't use this (Tarte Rainforest of the Sea is best for me) but it will stay on for a few hours and that's good enough for errands or lunch or something quick.

Face Primers

The Touch in Sol No Poreblem (terrrrrrible pun) primer is almost gone. I do enjoy it but it's nothing special. The Catrice Prime and Fine is SO close to the end. It won't be long now! 

Perfumes

I have a ton of samples that I finally cleaned out because all I could really smell was alcohol. I thought I'd try to put more of the keepers in rotation. I might switch these out after a few weeks but right now they are (L to R): Merchant of Gallifrey roll-on in the scent Bad Wolf (lightly scented with Mango and Rose); a sample of L'Homme by YSL (it's a fresh boy smell, that's all I can say); Lavanila Labs (best.vanilla.scent.ever.); a sample from ZOMG Smells called Lola's New Dress (vanilla and clove)

I have a ton of samples that I finally cleaned out because all I could really smell was alcohol. I thought I'd try to put more of the keepers in rotation. I might switch these out after a few weeks but right now they are (L to R):

Merchant of Gallifrey roll-on in the scent Bad Wolf (lightly scented with Mango and Rose); a sample of L'Homme by YSL (it's a fresh boy smell, that's all I can say); Lavanila Labs (best.vanilla.scent.ever.); a sample from ZOMG Smells called Lola's New Dress (vanilla and clove)

Holy hell. I may have bit off more than I can chew on my first go around but I'm hopeful that I'll make some kind of dent in my collection this year. At least I'll pay closer attention to the things I have and, even if I don't use them up, discover what I really enjoy the most. Wish me luck, people!

WHAT THE WHAT??

About a year ago, I signed up on the Ancestry website. I figured I’d get one of those DNA tests to get a little more definitive info on what the heck I am (Irish and Italian, mostly). I also figured that, knowing some of my birth father’s info, I could trace his family and find someone who might know who my birth mother is.

I should probably preface this by saying I was adopted when I was about 7 weeks old. I had a great life with my parents (when I say parents or siblings or aunts or uncles, I mean the family that took me into their life by choice and raised me) and I never wanted for anything. I was very, very loved and can honestly say my life was probably much better off than if my birth mother had decided to keep me and raise me alone.

I was never all that curious about my birth parents as I grew up. When I was about 5 years old, my dad and mom told me I was adopted as a baby. Apparently, I just nodded and went on about my day. The only time I searched for information was in 1993 when I realized I should have what’s known as ‘non-identifying’ info of my birth family (i.e. medical history).

After a brief time of being pissed off at my birth mom for giving me up (apparently it was necessary to state TWICE how excited she was to get back to work once she popped me out) I filed the letter away and never really thought about it again.

Fast forward 13 years to 2006. By now my mom, dad, and brother were all dead. I could have started searching for my birth parents after my dad died in 2004 but I really didn’t want to disrespect his memory. Does that make sense? Part of me thought he might get a hoot out of anything I found but at the same time, he meant the world to me and I didn’t want him thinking I was looking for his replacement.

So, in 2007, after a few emails and conversations with the adoption agency, I was told my birth father died back in 2000. But here’s his information, including social security number and oh, by the way, your birth family was from Massachusetts, you knew that right?

Um, no. No, I did not.

Um, no. No, I did not.

The agency sent me his listing from the death index in Massachusetts and, though I can’t find it, I’m pretty sure they sent me a copy of his death certificate, too. Lo and behold it was filed by his daughter, L, my half-sister. Shortly after that I wrote to her and we corresponded a few times, talked on the phone once or twice, before I headed out to Massachusetts to meet her. It was…surreal to say the least. We do look similar. I think most people would assume we’re related in some way. She also gave me a couple pictures of my birth father to keep which was nice. She actually knew I existed but in her search, she looked in the wrong area of Michigan (and possibly had the wrong year, I honestly can’t remember) which is why she never found me.

Aside from that one meeting, a few messages on Facebook, and one late night drunken panicked phone call from her about her mother and step-siblings (which had NOTHING to do with me), I kinda pulled away. She might be reading this right now and if so, I’m sorry I’ve distanced myself. But I grew up with an alcoholic where, as a child, I had no choice but to deal with it the best I could. I’m an adult now and I just don’t want that drama anymore. I know you’re working hard on changing and growing and improving and I hope with all of my heart it’s working out for you!

Fast forward again to the whole Ancestry thing. Did the DNA test and loaded the results to my profile. Along with creating a tree for my family (again, the ones that raised me), I started one with my birth father’s info in the hopes that maybe I’d find someone who knew my birth mother. Had a hit or two on some distant cousins or perhaps 1st cousins removed a few times but not much else. Then just 5 days ago a woman, K, contacted me there. She got a DNA match with me indicating a possible 1st cousin relationship. She gave me some family names and I went to look through my research.

Though nothing came up we kept messaging. The more we talked the more apparent it became that our lives were connected in more ways than possible cousins. As of me typing this up, she’s still doing some digging to confirm our suspicions but at this point, it’s about 98% positive that her mom is my birth mother.

K sent me a few pics of her and her sisters and a couple of her mom. It’s pretty fucking uncanny how similar her mom and I look. If she is my birth mom, I now know where I got my eyes, my sparse eyebrows, and my round cheeks. K and I have the same eyes/brows, too.

I know, right?

I know, right?

As you might well imagine I’m freaking the fuck out right now. Yes, I did want to find my birth mom. I think almost all adoptees, at their core, just want to know where they came from. I’m not expecting any kind of relationship with her or anyone in her family. It’s actually the farthest thing from my mind, though it would be cool to develop a friendship with K and anyone else if they want. I have a wonderful life now and great friends and family but at the same time it’s exciting to realize that I might have discovered my origin story.

Like a super hero but without the radioactive mutations.

And now, as I wrap this up, I got a FB message from K stating that her mom won’t confirm anything. Weird thing is, though, she’s not denying it either. K says that’s her mom’s way of admitting without admitting. We’ve all been there for one reason or another, amirite?

So, despite the coincidences and similarities and all the information I know that matches her life PERFECTLY, it’s pretty much done at this point. Hubby says at the very least I now have a new friend and that’s pretty cool. Maybe things will change in the future; maybe this woman will eventually reach out; maybe the world will fold in on itself and we’ll all be transported to an alien dimension where we will become slaves and put on display for them to point their tentacles at and laugh.

One never knows.