Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Apology & Getting Back On Track

I'm sorry I have let the blog fallen by the wayside, but I've been a bit busy and things are also crazy here. I hope to have things back on track some time tomorrow. I'll hopefully get swatches done and have finished up some posts I've had waiting in the wings. I'm also still working to get my special FOTD up.

Thank you, for hanging around still. I'm doing my best to get things up.

Edit: Every time I look at my stats, like page views and audience, I feel so special! Seriously, please, drop a comment, even if its not in English. I will do my best to translate it. I love that I have a world-wide readership! You guys are all very awesome and I appreciate you.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Quick note to you readers...

I have to take a small break from the blog, mainly from taking photos for reviews. The reason is because I strained my elbow Saturday and today, doing two reviews, taking photos, cropping them and all the typing I did has actually made it hurt to do my everyday activities. Even now typing this hurts. This doesn't mean that it will be silent for long.

I have an FOTD and a sort of video "tutorial" that should be up this weekend. I wanted to do it this past weekend but I couldn't because of small distractions and other problems. I wish I could have had it posted this weekend! I hope you all like what I have planned and I know what you all are looking at (I have a view count for posts so I know what's popular). I have one request: would you please leave comments? I want to hear from you! Even if they aren't in English! I know I have a relatively tiny amount of readers in Germany, thanks to the Audience feature. I want to hear what you would like to see or your thoughts on things. I don't want to feel like my efforts are being wasted.

Thank you for understanding. I should have some swatches and reviews up for products I've already used and know well later on, but nothing real big for the time being. No new product usage for now, I ask you be patient for my FOTD and for my elbow to stop hurting. I'm really trying for you, the readers.

(You know, I'm kind of worried that you're laughing at how I look in the Queen Helene Mint Julep review. You all have looked at it a lot.)


Review: real Techniques Powder Brush

Why, packaging, do you not have much info?
I have four three (WTF?) powder brushes to be honest. One is the tokidoki Kabuki brush, one is a mini of bareMineral's Full Coverage Kabuki brush, and the real Technique's Powder Brush. You might be wondering why I have all these brushes. Well, the tokidoki one I bought because 1) I love tokidoki. I love tokidoki so much, I wanted the collaborated phone, 2) it is insanely soft and pretty! It does work for applying powder, don't worry. One complaint I do have is that the handle is square, so its a tiny bit of a pain to hold. The bareMineral's brush came in a sample I got from Sephora and I positively hate it. It is so incredibly scratchy! I also hated the foundation that came with it. It made me orange! The Mineral Veil was okay, didn't do it what it said it would: absorb oil. Now the last brush, the real Techniques brush is a godsend to me.

These really easily slide out of the box even though the brush head is snug in the box.
These brushes come in a sort of long, rectangular box with the tops rounded slightly. The top just pulls off and your brush can be slid out. Easy! The packaging is also pretty simple, doesn't say a lot about the brush on the front. A little more on the back, with a blurb from Sam(antha Chapman).

Pretty useless blurbs
As for the brush itself, let me tell you why I bought this one. I had a very generically labeled "face powder brush" I had had since I started using makeup. It was cheap and it was the only one I could find that was nice scratchy and fluffy. It was turned a little gray from the mineral makeup I used to use and I never actually thought to wash it. When I stopped using mineral makeup (God, how that stuff dried out my skin but I also didn't know about facial moisturizer or exfoliating) and switched to liquid, I decided to wash my brush. Black dye ran out of it as well as the brush sucking up water and soap. It was disgusting. Well, sometime later when I was washing it again on a separate occasion, the wood handle came away from the ferrule. Not cool. We re-glued it and all was fine until this past January. It happened again and I was annoyed more so now, because I thought I would try using conditioner on the brush to soften the bristles. Waste of my time! I went to Ulta's website and went hunting for a decently priced brush that wasn't going to be scratchy. I liked the size of the real Techniques' brush and happily bought it after feeling the one on display.
Stands up on its own! Great for when you might be using your brush, keeps your bristles clean.
I should tell you now that real Techniques has a few brushes that will supposedly work for powder. The Powder Brush, the Kabuki Brush and the Setting Brush and they even suggest using the Stippling Brush for powder. I didn't see the kabuki in person but it's got angular bristles and is apparently "2-in-1." It can be opened and used flat. Neat, but I don't want/need it. The Setting brush's head is also small. Very small and it resembles their Blush Brush. I personally associate stippling brushes more with liquid foundation, cream foundation and cream blush. I just can't imagine a stippling brush being really effective for powder application! I picked the Powder Brush because its fluffy, flexible yet dense and applies powder like a dream.
real Techniques logoing
Nice and fluffy! You can tell I've used mine recently.
These brushes are made with Taklon fibers, so they're just oh-so-touchably soft. I could spend hours petting my brush (pretty sad, huh?). Sadly I can't get it to fit in my makeup bag so I pop it back in the packaging to protect it while I travel. This brush picks up powder nicely and disperses it evenly, as well as being so gentle on the face. It washes well, super light and can be stood up on its own. Yay for a new, nice brush!

The only other words on the brush hand are "Powder Brush," no numbers to remember. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it.
If you're in the market for a new brush and don't or can't spend a fortune on something like Crown, Sigma or even MAC, check out these real Techniques brushes. The Powder Brush is $9.99 from Ulta and I used one of their "$3.50 off $10" coupons, dropping the price to $6.50 before tax. Woohoo! Most will run you about $7.99 to $9.99 before tax, which is a sweet price for how delightful they are to use. The travel sets are more costly for 3 to 4 brushes, at about $17.99. Not too bad if you have a daughter or someone else just getting into makeup and needs some decent starter brushes, as the sets come in a case that can be stood up on its own. Since I already have a foundation brush I'm happy with and a powder brush, I won't be picking one up.

(Heads up, the person behind these brushes is Samantha Chapman, one of the Pixiwoo girls on YouTube. I don't watch Pixiwoo since I am utterly unimpressed by their looks. The links to "About Us" and "About Sam" on the real Techniques' site don't work. Dead links!)


Illamasqua, International Delivery & Royal Mail

I like Illamasqua. I like Illamasqua a lot, even if I can't always afford their products. I also like that they changed carriers so anyone outside of the UK can buy and receive their nail varnish. I don't like that they haven't full integrated with their new carrier to provide a tracking link but that's fine since I know its a process. I've had tons of things go without tracking numbers that arrived just fine and things with tracking numbers that did nothing but still arrived safely. The US postal service doesn't update tracking status as often as I would like.

But oh, geez, ladies, chill out. If you go on the official Illamasqua Facebook page and look at "Posts made by Others," you'll probably see women going insane on their page and if you dig deeper, could probably find people freaking out over the Christmas campaign. These women apparently expect instant gratification when the company had a relatively small issue when packages were delivered Royal Mail only to be destroyed. Royal Mail does not ship nail varnish, but they didn't return them to Illamasqua (which I personally think would have been a better idea). As for the Christmas thing, if you saw it, let me know what you thought. If you didn't, not a big deal. I noticed it was entirely Caucasian women saying the ad was "racist" but more said it was just art, which it was. Lots of people decided to stop buying from Illamasqua over it and I said that was a silly thing to do on another blog. Another blogger decided I was saying the girl's opinion was wrong (I think it should be one strike against Illamasqua but not something to get ridiculously upset over). That's why I have so few female friends, because so many women in the US just want something to call racist or something to complain about.

Anyway, back to issues I have with the current international delivery company. As I said, I like Illamasqua. I do appreciate that they changed carriers so more people could buy their beautiful varnish in Raindrops. Raindrops is special because it was limited edition and Christine at Temptalia started a huge search for it! She raved about it and its not hard to see why. I fell in love when I saw it swatched.
(Product image from Illamasqua.com)
See what I mean? I tried to find dupes, but couldn't because nothing truly matched it. I got happy news about December, when both Illamasqua and Christine announced that Raindrops would be brought back with the Broken Heart collection for Valentine's Day 2013. The collection was released in January and the varnish sold out quickly. It sold out a few more times but has stayed in stock recently and I decided to buy it after Illamasqua announced they had changed carriers to be able to fulfill the requests of their customers who are outside of the UK. Sadly, Sephora still doesn't carry Raindrops but Illamasqua is trying to get the varnish in store.

I made my order 9 February 2013. I received the shipping confirmation 13 February 2013. I am super eager to get it! I emailed Illamasqua about getting a tracking number but they still don't have one. It bothers me a little, but they did update the shipping FAQ for the US. 15 to 20 business days. I have no idea if its in Alaska or maybe New York, it travels through either one of those two places when it reaches the US but I don't specifically remember where it enters the US from the UK. I hope its not being held by customs or something and will get here. Really eager to review the product for you!

If you want to get this yourself, its available at Selfridge's in the UK, as well online at Illamasqua.com and from their stores. I'm the unlucky person who can't buy it in person. Check out Christine's review as well!

(My cat Ralphy, an orange and white striped tabby, says: f78or 988888888888888[p;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;\
The little stinker walked over the keyboard while I was typing.)


Review: NYX Nude Matte Eyeshadow in Birthday Suit

Ah, NYX. I love NYX. They're cheap. They have stunning quality. I have found products I love, since there are so many! Today, however, is focusing on one. There aren't many reviews or swatches for the Nude Matte Eyeshadows and I really wanted to know whether or not I was getting a good product before I went searching for it at my local Ulta. I finally (FINALLY!) found a review and swatches from VampyVarnish, who I love. Her blog's name and the fact she's just a bag of awesome. You can read her review here: VampyVarnish

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush

Pretty cute, right?
I said it in my pre-Valentine's Day post that I would be getting this beautiful product as a gift from Ze Boyfriend. I already said I don't buy or use blush and its true. Its a step I skip in my makeup routine normally. I may use a little of the blush that came in my Glamour To Go Dream Edition palette that came out in 2011 for nights when we go out. Why do I normally skip it entirely? I don't want to find my Smashbox travel-sized Angled Blush Brush, a little freebie from Ulta when Ze Boyfriend's mom bought some cosmetics. I also don't want to sweep, tap and then sweep-blend the product onto my cheeks either. I am lazy. I am aware of this.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

Some people do masks. Some people don't. Some people use the popular Japanese and Korean 'sheet masks', while others use clay masks. I think I can say a lot of us don't use any masks. I'm very guilty of this. I don't want to find and buy sheet masks (I'm very impatient on waiting for things to ship!), and the Asian grocery store only stocks Missha masks. Would love some by My Beauty Diary but alas, they shan't be mine. Instead I will use clay masks! This particular mask is said to reduce pore size, rinse away blackheads and dries out pimples.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh boy Valentine's Day is coming!

Honestly, I hate Valentine's Day. It was okay when I was in elementary school but now? Its one of those "I hate this month, can we just skip it?" months. I feel this way about a couple of months. I've been with my boyfriend, who I call Ze Boyfriend, for three years now. Normally, we don't do much. We somewhat do little things during the year. Somewhat.

As for Valentine's Day though... I might not even see him. He got in trouble, making a few mistakes but he's human. We're all human, we make mistakes and they suck. Its frustrating, since he had this idea we would have a picnic, maybe see a movie. Okay, here's the first problem: we already saw Mama (I'm a HUGE Guillarmo del Toro fan!). I don't like a lot of movie genres, personally I hate romcoms. Problem two: we'd most likely be having this picnic at a park that we have to walk to. I don't mind the walk, but I do mind the cold. I don't want to walk in the cold in one of my favorite dresses. I don't like walking in the cold because its this weird combination of I'm too hot to have my jacket zipped up but its too cold to take off my jacket. Super unpleasant and no way to spend my Valentine's Day.

This year, we were also going to give gifts. I was going to give him paracord so he could make his own bore snake (he's a gun owner; more specifically, a rifle owner). He was going to give me the Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush ($29.00 @ Sephora & Ulta) from their Boudoir collection. I'd been raving over this blush, because its cute and I can wear it. Heart-shaped, striped with rose, coral and pink, and a baked formula that's wonderful.
(Product Image from Sephora.com)

I was pretty meh about it initially, reading the reviews by my three favorite bloggers and I honestly don't buy, use or wear blush. I find blush tricky. I'm very pale; I don't know my shade in terms of MAC foundation but I'm 0.5 in Urban Decay's Naked Skin Foundation and probably the lightest shades of every single high end brand. The only blush I could wear safely? Illamasqua's Powder Blusher in Katie, "soft candy pink, matt finish." Its a very cool-toned, pale pink. Its like cotton candy/fairy floss colored. The closest dupe I could personally find was NYX Nude Matte Shadow in Birthday Suit (I almost totally wrote "B***h Suit"), called "soft lilac" yet it went on pretty white as a blush. Makes a great eyeshadow however, and its really a very nice pink.

But back to the blush and Valentine's Day. Every blogger has said it would work better for fairer skin tones (DINGDINGDING!!), would make a nice highlight on medium complexions but wouldn't do anything for darker tones. On Sephora, a lot of reviewers are complaining that its too light. I noticed many of them said they were medium or olive. A few of my fair ladies said it didn't work for them as a blush but really, as someone whose fair, do you need a pigmented blush? It can get bad very quickly with pigmented blush on fair skin. I tried a dupe of NARS Orgasm and swatched it, tried a dupe instead. It really doesn't work for me but many say its a universally flattering shade. While I was in Ulta on an unrelated trip, I looked at the Too Faced selection. I liked their No Makeup Makeup palette but wouldn't buy it for myself; its something I'd rather receive as a gift. While I was drooling over the uber-girly packaging (I am by no means uber-girly!), I decided to swatch the Sweethearts blush they had on display. I was suddenly hooked.

I plan on getting this at Sephora very soon and as soon as Valentine's Day rolls around, I'll be tearing it open and wearing it. If you haven't figured it out, Ze Boyfriend won't be buying it. Its his money I'm using though. He doesn't like going to Sephora but he goes with me when we're at the mall. You can't really send a guy into a makeup store and expect him to get the right thing. That's okay. I don't mind going to Sephora, because I'm also grabbing Lady Gaga's FAME Holiday Gift Set, on sale at Sephora for $45 (marked down from $57!) as a very early birthday gift to myself using the last of my Christmas money.

As to Valentine's Day... I hope it goes over okay. I hope I see him. If I don't, I do have a back-up plan. I will sit at home with my Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, a few movies on Netflix and will finally do a real review for several things.

Yep. What a fun February, huh?

***I will be reviewing the Sweethearts blush, the NYX Nude Matte shadow, and the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask!***

EDIT: I get to see him!!! I get to see him! WHOO! Unfortunately, its been rainy here and we might not actually have our picnic.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A (sort of) Introduction

This is literally a sort of introduction. Its not even a real introduction in my opinion. I've only been a reader, never a blogger. What does one say in their first post? I guess I should tell you what you'll find if you actually stay and read my posts (when I make them, that is).

Here's some real info about me, aside from the weird lovely words I left in my "About Me" section (you can thank Ze Boyfriend for that)... I really love makeup. A lot of people say I don't need it. I don't wear it because I need it, I wear it because I enjoy the application and artistry that goes into it. My favorite looks tend to be very "extreme." For me, its another art-outlet. I normally do drawings, rarely ever paint anything but fabric and I also do DIY stuff for me. Makeup was only another adventure I wanted to go into and I can say, its been a successful one so far. People have asked for my help in makeup application, have given comments such as I'm "really good." Its certainly fueled my personal work. I am not, nor claim to be, a makeup artist. I'm just someone with lots of time on their hands with a lot of imagination to work with. I like doing makeup, and I like working with it. Its all just fun for me.

I'll post the looks I really like and that I think are worthy of the Interwebs. I'll do tutorials for looks. I'll do swatches and reviews of products I already own and products I love to use daily, as well as products I'm interested in. I'll also post my DIY stuff and include any links to tutorials if I used one or I'll make a tutorial for it. I will also post any art I've been working on or really love. I might do the occasional YouTube video, for looks that need a more visual video tutorial that can't be explained in words alone. Might do giveaways too. I haven't exactly figured that out yet (haha).

A very big part of this blog will be about me changing my hair color. Its a subject I always enjoy helping people with and advising on, though I am definitely not a hairstylist! I'll talk more about my hair in another post, as well as my skin and makeup. If there's anything you ever want me to review or swatch, just ask!

Here are some brands I just won't do/can't do:
  • MAC - They're quite expensive, pretty overhyped and they got a huge backlash from the makeup community when they started to do animal testing in 2012.
  • CHANEL - Honestly, I can't afford CHANEL! Its a luxury brand for a reason, and I know two lovely blogs that do review CHANEL products.
  • Dior - Same reason as above, I can't afford it! They also don't put out products that really catch my attention.
  • NARS - I like NARS, but their products don't speak to me enough that I'd buy them consistently. They also tend to have the most duped colors. (Talking about you, Orgasm.)
  • YSL - Oh god, I would LOVE to review YSL but its another one of the brands I can't afford and the products don't all speak to me. I do love their tiny potted blushes, just so cute!
  • tarte - I do adore tarte products but their prices? $40 for a tube of foundation! Kill me now!
I also won't be doing nail polish swatches, since my nails are pretty ugly sadly. I might review perfume, since I do get a lot of perfume samples, heehee. I love perfume so much, its kinda sad.

By the way, the background and these colors are all temporary! Just until I make myself a background. I hope to have my first reviews and things up soon. I also hope I get readers... Worst thing ever: to spend my time using a product, determining if I like it or not, and then writing up a review and taking photos only for no one to read what I write. That would suck.

I'm done rambling now, and if you really sat through all of this and want to stick with me, thank you. I appreciate it.