Jul 31, 2017

Monsoon Mayhem: Murder, Matrimony, Rubbish, & Makeup

Yes indeed, the Monsoon has begun in all it's miserable muggy buggy glory! Above you see an example of the ongoing carnage in my garden. I was deadheading the Mexican sunflowers when that pale green spider leapt up and savaged that poor little European honeybee. Flies of some sort soon joined in the gruesome feast. The dismemberment and digestion of that poor murdered honeybee went on for a few hours. I grabbed my phone and snapped this photo as I'd never seen a honeybee attacked like this. What's even more amazing: I can hold a tiny, moderately priced piece of technology in my hand and snap a photo with such incredible detail with minimal photography skills. Then I can miraculously pop it on the internet for all the world to see in minutes! What wondrous times we live in, eh?

That very night a violent squall blustered down from the Annapurnas and completely flattened my humongous hedge of Mexican sunflowers. The storm only lasted about an hour but it knocked down two of the neighbors' banana trees too. The Mexican sunflowers had grown to an incredible seven feet in height. Above you see all that is left of the Mexican sunflowers. After tossing them on the compost heap I gathered some seed heads to dry and a few last cut flowers for a farewell bouquet. Those big aluminum American cookie sheets work well for drying herbs and seeds and such. I shall have Mexican sunflowers now in perpetuity.

@$^&@!!! snails have been ravaging the tomato crop!!! At least finish eating the tomato rather than just eating a hole through you rude !@#$%^&!! snails.

While I was hanging clothes to dry on the roof one morning a russet-hued cloud of these dragonflies arose from the vacant lot/swamp next door. All whirring and clickety-clacking and coppery glinting in the sun. These dragonflies are a bit smaller than the ones we had in California. California dragonflies come in all sorts of wild colors like metallic peacock blues, gossamer greens, and iridescent purples. The dragonflies here in Nepal are all that reddish brown. The dragonfly in the photo above alit on the clothesline and began chattering at me. Upon closer inspection his wings were a bit cattywompus and floppy. You can see his top wing still had a bend in the tip. As he sunned himself the wings unfurled and straightened out. I'm guessing there was a mass hatching and that whirring noise was a lot of newly hatched damp and wrinkly dragonfly wings.

Who's this coming down our street? He sure looks happy (NOT). This young man is part of our fairly new household waste collection system. In Nepal residents must haul their trash to a waste collection vehicle which makes frequent stops around each neighborhood. You don't put your bin to the curb on a designated day of the week as one does in western countries. The waste collectors indicate their presence by honking a loud horn. The man in the above photo is walking before the trash collection vehicle (the green truck) honking a large and loud horn that goes WANK-AAH WANK-AAH WANK-AAH!!! It sounds like a rodeo clown horn to me.

The sound of that horn is Bibi's cue to drop everything, grab the full garbage bags hanging on the back fence, and run like heck to the front gate. Of course the kitties have to check out what all the excitement is about. Ms Dawg is poised for action too- she's sleeping under the chinaberry tree across the street out of frame though. There isn't any schedule, rhyme, nor reason as to when the garbage collectors show up. Last month they came two consecutive Tuesday afternoons then they didn't show up at all for three weeks.

And then sometimes they don't even stop! Looks like Bibi's going to have to drop the camera and run to toss her bags to the guy in the back. Wheee!!! A few years ago we were just left to fend for ourselves as far as waste disposal went. What didn't get sold to the kabadiwalla, composted, or burned was buried or nocturnally tossed into the vacant lot.

Mission accomplished! So there's the waste collection vehicle lumbering on down the road after I've thrown my rubbish bags up to the guy at the back of the truck. I guess they aren't working for tips. Every time there's a different crew. The time before this the entire crew was a bit drunk. When I handed the bags up to the guy at the back of the truck he grabbed my arm and started to pull me into the truck! Thankfully Ms Dawg loudly, viciously, and vehemently intervened and I escaped unscathed. Which may be the reason the waste collection vehicle isn't even slowing down by our house. 

A Monsoon wedding on our street! Here's the groom's party returning after fetching his beautiful bride to be. They're a jiggy lot aren't they? They may be few in number but they're certainly festive! I've noticed that most of the marriages in agrarian families take place during the Monsoon. City folks seem get married in Winter.

This lady wins Bibi's award for best outfit of the decade. Shout out to Ms Wintour, Mr Lagerfeld, Mr Jacob, Mr Ford, Ms Versace, & the gang! This is true GLAMOUR. This is how it's done. Timeless, elegant, classic style that works no matter what the trends. This is how pink should be worn. This works for the red carpet as well as an outdoor summer wedding. Suitable for any size, skin tone, or figure. From the pale gold choli (blouse) to the zari stitching on the border of the sari this is bomb, hundo p, slayin' and then some. Nepal might be beyond the arse end of nowhere but fashion never passed us by! All that and she's got a matching quilted clutch and bangles. Probably a matching beaded dupatta/scarf and bejeweled lamé  jootisslippers too. Dang. I need that outfit! 


And here's the lucky couple! I don't know. I kind of feel sorry for the bride. But I love this photo because if you look closely the bride's eyes are glowing. I'm not sure if she's terrified, angry, demon possessed, or if the sequins on her veil are just reflecting oddly. Maybe all three? Anywho, the groom looks thrilled and so does the boy on his left. 

Last month was my birthday and the Sheikh surprised me with some makeup! The Sheikh gifted me an entire selection of products from GOSH Cosmetics of Denmark. I'd never heard of the brand but apparently it's a new line carried by my favorite little makeup store in our little town. Gosh is priced on the high end of drugstore cosmetics so I was curious to test these products out. By the sleek and chic looks of the packaging and product they're trying to compete with trendy brands like MAC and Urban Decay.

Above you see the Smokey Nudes 002 palette which consists of 5 matte and 5 pearl shades. The palette is rather luxuriously packaged in a very sturdy black vinyl laminated cardboard case with a very secure magnetic closure, a mirror, and a typically useless brush. It's definitely meant to be a dupe of the iconic Urban Decay Naked palettes with it's rectangular pans and gradient layout. There weren't very many positive reviews for Gosh eyeshadows online. The palette is made in PRC. As with most eyeshadows from PRC the shadows very pigmented but unfortunately so dry and hard in the pan you can barely load your brush with it. Seriously, some of these are like pans of watercolor paints. When you eventually scrape up enough eyeshadow it applies well and is blendable. Overall you've got your basic tans, taupes, and browns of varying intensities you'd see in any nude palette. Not much really screams "smokey" in this palette to me. The darkest shade you see on the far left of the palette is a charcoal gray not a deep, intense black. I'm of the opinion that any palette that dares to call itself smokey must have a deep, intense black!!! The pearl shades are so faint they may as well be satins. To really be 'on trend' those pearl/shimmer/satin accent shades should have been bold metallics or brilliant jewel tones. Other that it's been a fun palette to play with. I've never owned one of these huge palettes with multiple shades that have become so popular. I've had quads, trios, and duos of various brands though. I don't think I'd choose a 10 pan palette with this much brown in it. Most of the looks you get with just these shades are too similar. But the Sheikh (or the lady at the makeup store) and bought this too:

Gosh's To Party in London was the other palette the Sheikh bought for me. Housed in a sturdy and chic heavy black plastic case this palette of 9 metallic shadows is made in Italy. These shadows have the opposite problem as the ones in the Smokey Nudes palette- they are so ridiculously buttery and soft you'll gouge a huge hole in them if you use a brush! So I just pat these on with my finger gently and then blend them out on the lid with a brush. The metallic effect is a fine shimmer not glitter and can easily be built up in intensity to an almost foiled effect. To get these shadows to really pop it's best to layer them over a matte dark gray or black. It just so happens the 'on trend' look this Fall is the "metallic smokey eye"! So Bibi is all set to be hip and happenin' as far as eye makeup goes between these two palettes! My only complaint with these metallic shadows is that they fade to a light wash of color after about four to five hours. This is a common problem with metallic eyeshadows even in high end brands though. Gravity takes it's toll on the the heavy bits of mica that give the metallic effect and they fall off. There are special primers to deal with this type of fallout. Overall I've had fun playing with this palette too. It took me about two weeks to realize there were three colorways going in this palette. At first I just though it was just an accent palette of glamour shades for party looks. But if you look at the rows going left to right you'll see there's a theme to each one. The top row in neutral toned with pink shimmer in a champagne, rusty brown, and chocolate brown. The middle row is warm toned with gold shimmer in a pale gold, saffron orange, and a sienna brown. The bottom row is cool toned with a lilac shimmer running through a pale silver, lavender, and anthracite gray. All rows have a highlight, midtone, and deep shade for at least 3 very different complete looks! 

So here's a FOTD by GOSH I did on my birthday. Yes, Bibi reverts to a 5 year old when she gets new makeup and has to try out everything immediately. I'm also wearing GOSH Foundation Plus Cover + Conceal in shade 002and GOSH lipliner pencil in the shade Dusty Rose. The foundation/concealer and lipliner pencil are actually really good quality. Both applied easily, wore comfortably, and lasted a good 6-7 hours. My nose looks a bit chalky because I set it with an Essence transparent fixing powder that apparently is not photo-friendly. I really wouldn't recommend the eyeshadows as I think you can get much better quality for less money from other drugstore brands like Wet-N-Wild or Coastal Scents. Eyeshadows seem to be a difficult thing for drugstore level products to get right. Another thing about those two GOSH palettes- I can not find a listing or review online for them anywhere! There is another Smokey Nude palette by GOSH I found online that has plums, purples, and an inky navy blue shade but not the same as mine.  I could not find the To Party in London metallic palette listed anywhere. No reviews, no eBay listings, no mention on the GOSH website- NADA. The little makeup store where the Sheikh bought these gets big boxes of all sorts of odds and ends from European cosmetic companies. Testers, limited editions from years ago, things that are not 'first quality,' and just stuff that did not sell. I wonder if these were just products that were never released or discontinued before launching due to quality issues or what? My Swedish girlfriend says she thinks these were a 'gift with purchase' last Fall. Anywho, no point reviewing products that no one can buy anywhere, eh?

That's all the excitement around here. It's been drizzling here for 3 days straight. Great weather if you're a frog! 
How's your Summer going?

Calmly Currying on,

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