Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm on XO Jane!

Just a super quick post today to let you all know that the good people at Xo Jane have been kind enough to publish a little ramble from me on making your own jewellery with nail polish!

You should head on over and make me look all popular and stuff!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Melancholia: A Powder Perfect swatchathon

I know there's been an absolute ton of Powder Perfect around here lately, but they just keep making so many pretty things, and keep being kind enough to send them to me, which means you guys get bombarded with pretty pictures! I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not really.

Melacholia is a sequel of sorts to the Euphoria collection from Powder Perfect earlier this year, and it's a DOOZY. It's kind of odd having so many awful, personal memories attached to words like "Foreboding" and "Despair", and still being so excited by how freaking gorgeous the polishes attached to these words are. Lot of cognitive disconnect, and being me, I'm sure there will be a pseudo intellectual analysis of that soon enough. But for now, PICTURE TIME!

 First cab off the rank is Addictive Personality, a very light pink crelly filled with pastel glitters. It reminds me so much of Fruit Tingles, which I guess it fitting for a portrayal of something addictive!

The formula on this was exceptional. I did need three coats for full coverage, but didn't need an undie colour at all, which is really rare for this type of polish. It walks the fine line between opacity and showing off the glitters perfectly, and I'm pretty sure all the girly Lolita types I know will be ALL OVER this one.

Next up is Foreboding, a stunning deep teal holo. Unfortunately despite trying three times the sun wouldn't play nice with me, so I only have pictures of this one under artificial light and kind of murky overcast daylight. You'll have to take my word for it that this GLOWS in full sunlight. 

Coverage on this one was excellent - although I feel like that should almost be taken as a given with any Powder Perfect polish at this stage. Two coats covered with no issues at all, and if you want to give it a bit more depth you can add another without it getting chunky or dragging.

Even when it's overcast, you can still see the holo particles twinkling away!

When I got this package, I pulled out Foreboding and Despair at the same time, and I gotta admit, I wondered why Powder Perfect would bother making two polishes so similar. In the bottle, they look almost identical - but on the nail, I was delighted to find they're actually quite different.

 UNF. That holo! I actually ended up keeping this one on for a week because I couldn't bear to take it off, which is how I managed to get some truly excellent sunlight shots. Despair is deep, deep navy holo - the navy is so dark it looks black a lot of the time, but in just the right light the navy really shows up.

 As with Foreboding, two coats will give you absolutely perfect coverage, and you can add an extra one to give the base a really deep, glowing effect. It kind of comes across like the darker, older brother of Celestial Cosmetics In The Navy, which you'll recall I also raved about.

Aggh, my eyes!
This next polish is called Obsession, and is absolutely gorgeous, but does come with a couple of caveats - firstly, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't capture all the different coloured sparkles in this. While it primarily uses green glitter, there is definitely a generous sprinkling of rainbow flecks in there as well, and in person it really lifts this polish from "pretty" to "WOW." Secondly, it is a little on the thick side, so if you struggle with glitter heavy polishes, you might want to thin this a little bit and use an undie colour.

These swatches are all three coats alone, but with a base colour you could definitely get away with two or even one. 

The deep forest green base gives surprisingly good coverage for a jelly, while still letting all the glitters shine through. If you're looking for a green that's a little out of the ordinary and you're willing to go carefully, I would highly recommend this. 

In My Dreams is another jelly glitter, and while it's easier to work with than Obsession it is still a touch on the thick side. But the stunning array of glitters in this really makes up for it.

If you're not super confident about getting crisp edges, I'd recommend using a base undie colour because the base for this a little bit transparent. But if you can get away with using this alone it's totally worth the effort.

I used three coats alone for these swatches, and it gives the base such a delightful squishy gummi look. The beautiful rainbow of iridescent and reflective glitters float around in the gummi base like fairy dust, making this a gorgeously complex creation.

And finally we have Grief, which is undoubtedly my personal favourite from the whole collection. The polish, that is, not the emotion. This is an incredible steely blue-grey, with loads of different glitters, shimmers, and a dash of holo flare.

In direct sunlight the holo flare kind of takes over, and while it's very very pretty I think I actually prefer it in the shade, where you can see the tiny pale blue flecks through it more clearly. 

Because of the variety of glitters in it, you do have to keep an eye out for hex glitters that like to hang out at the edge of your nail and drive you mad. But two easy coats gives perfect coverage, and a nice glossy topcoat captures the shimmery depth nicely. 

And with that, I think I've swatched most of the Powder Perfect store! Keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks for a very cool, exciting announcement about this brand...*wiggles fingers mysteriously*

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Powder Perfect Lady Is A Vamp Collection Review

Just a quick little post today, in preparation for a MASSIVE picture post tomorrow! I was lucky enough to be asked to swatch a few of the most recent collection from Australian indie label Powder Perfect, Lady is A Vamp. This collection is a celebration of all things femme and fabulous, and the statement for this collection is something I can really get behind!

"Lady Is A Vamp collection is about celebrating what makes us feel good!!
Does getting dressed up to the nines make you feel good? Fantastic!
Does wearing your favourite old faded jeans and a t-shirt make you feel sexy? Great!
Just bought a pair of bright red stilettos that you plan on wearing out tonight? Rock ‘em!
These colours are inspired by those things that make us feel our most vibrant and alive."

The three polishes I got my hands on are With My High Heels On, a stunning classic red creme, Jealousy, an incredibly bright raspberry holo, and Boudoir, a really interesting cobalt blue creme with gold glitters.

This is two coats of Boudoir, with nothing under it, so you can see the coverage is really great. I'm not 100 per cent sold on the combination of blue and gold, but I'm biased against gold at the best of times.

With my High Heels On is however, entirely perfect. Again, two coats alone for total, smooth coverage, and it's just the PERFECT shade of red.

Indie cremes can be a bit hit and miss - but Powder Perfect's have always been really reliable, and With My High Heels On is no exception. I can see myself reaching for this one a lot!

The third polish in my bundle is a blinding fuchsia called Jealousy - I know it would have been an obvious choice to make this green, but fuchsia still seems like an odd choice to pair with the name. Regardless, if you're a pink lover you're really going to want to pick this up.

The coverage on this is fantastic - there's so much depth to it, but no streakiness after just two coats, which means even in the shade it really shines. 

You can see swatches of the rest of the collection over at The Nail Polish Project, Look What The Bats Dragged In, Polly Polish, Serenity Nails, It's All About The Polish, and of course, at the Powder Perfect website (where you can also browse some of my polish related jewellery).

Powder Perfect have also been kind enough to give me a discount code for all you lovely folks to use!
VAMPYFEMME will give you 15%  off the entire Lady Is A Vamp collection until 10th August, so get on it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm A Bad Fatty and I Don't Care - Brainy Femme Repost

This post originally appeared on Brainy Femme - I'm going to be reposting particularly relevant posts from Brainy Femme over here from time to time. 

I have a confession to make, and you might want to sit down for this because it’s kind of shocking. I a fat woman - that much is clear from any picture ever taken of me. But I’m also a fat woman who has no interest in losing weight. I am a “bad fatty”.

"Glutton" by the amaing Natalie Perkins,
available as a print from Fancy Lady Industries

If you’re not familiar with the terminology, this is the best primer I’ve seen on the subject.* Even if you’ve never heard the phrase “good fatty” before, if you’re even a little aware of the unwinnable weight war that woman can get locked in, you’re guaranteed to be familiar with the assumptions this terminology describes. Fat people, and especially fat women, are supposed to be ashamed of their fat. We’re supposed to be aware of, and acknowledge, that our fat is a failing - of willpower, of morality, of character. We’re supposed to be either constantly willing to explain in depth, to anyone who asks, our excuse for being fat; or alternatively if we have no “acceptable” excuse, we’re supposed to be doing everything in our power to become a more “acceptable” size.

Me, I don’t have an excuse for the size of my arse, acceptable or not.  I don’t have any medical conditions that I’m aware of that prevent me from losing weight. The women on my mother’s side of the family do tend to be bottom heavy, but my mother is tiny, so it’s not like my genetics are inescapable. I’m not an athlete, so I can’t attribute any of my kilos to muscle. I mean, I’m sure there’s some in there, and I’ve always had big muscular horsey thighs, but I would be seriously reaching to attribute any significant proportion of my weight to muscle.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Smooshing on Softness - A Lazy Skincare Special

For all the money and time I spend on making my nails and my eyes pretty (ie. glittery as hell), I'm still appallingly lax when it comes to my skin. I've been hanging out in the beauty community a lot more over the last year, and as well as teaching me that I really should do something with my eyebrows, they've also taught me the importance of having a skin care routine. It doesn't have to be a complex, military operation involving dozens of products costing a year's salary per jar - but I've decided I can and should muster at least a little more effort than just soap and water.

( most days anyway)

I've very half heatedly run through a ton of different creams and potions and unctions, trying to find something that made enough of a difference to make it worth my while spending extra time smooshing stuff that's not even glittery on my face. Seriously, I could moisturise a small country with the products I have hanging around my cupboards that I used once and discarded for one reason or another. They're too greasy, they're too drying, they smell weird, they make me itchy, they make my skin burn...for the longest time it seemed like nothing was just right.

My face is very particular about what it does and does not like on it. Any moisturiser heavier than "featherlight" brings me out in absolutely DELIGHTFUL rashes of blackheads, and a lot of random ingredients seem to make my skin flushed and blotchy. Parts of my face are super oily (hello pools of sebum on my nose under my glasses), but other parts are quite dry in comparison. "Oily skin" face washes always seemed to strip the oil off the greasy parts, leaving the dry parts like parchment, and "combination skin" washes didn't seem to do anything at all - not even take off dirt.

My hands...well, let's admit it, I'm pretty darn hard on my hands. I change my polish a LOT, and use acetone remover for that. I've also been crafting with resin a lot lately, and guess what is the only thing that'll get that stuff off your hands - that's right, more acetone. Of course, I tend to only take photos for you guys when they're looking their best, so you'll just have to take my word for it that they can get pretty manky and gross sometimes.

I really want my face and my hands to look...well, nice. It seems a shame to have such nice cosmetics to put on them, if the shiny is sitting right next to blotchy, pissed off skin. So I've kept at it, and after much trial and error (and occasionally reverting back to straight up soap and water in frustration), I finally have a couple of products I like enough to actually recommend.

I know, I'm sure you're all absolutely shocked that I've chosen entirely indie products.
From left to right we have; Purify Facial Cleanser from Rhasdala Beauty, Cuticle Cocktail and Rub-A-Dub Scrub from Help Me Ronda, and Clay Block for Face from Corrynnes Natural Soaps

Monday, June 23, 2014

Aussie Indies Presented by Femme Fatale Cosmetics

I'm starting to think I should really just hand over a chunk of my paycheque directly to Femme Fatale Cosmetics every time I get paid, to save myself the silly game of pretending that I'm not going to give it to them anyway. Every time I wander past their site "just for a look", I find more and more gorgeous things that I really absolutely must have. As well as their ever growing range of stunning eyeshadows (which are incidently on sale right now), Femme Fatale polish remains one of the most consistently amazing indie labels in the country. In case you have any cash left over once you've finished perusing the Femme Fatale goods, they also stock a wide range of other Aussie indie labels, like Love Thy Polish, Alanna Renee, Emily de Molly and Lilypad Lacquer. If you've STILL got money left after browsing all those (how!?) Femme Fatale Cosmetics also stock a huge array of hard to find international indies, like Takko Lacquer, HARE Polish, and Rainbow Honey.

The variety is kind of overwhelming, but lucky for you Femme Fatale Cosmetics were kind enough to send me a little sample pack to review this month, to help you narrow your choices at least a tiny bit. 

From left to right, we have; Love Thy Polish - Space Ghost Reloaded, Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Apothecary, Lilypad Lacquer - Seasong, and Rainbow Honey - Hellfire

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Hi, my name is Cassie, and it's been 2 years, 6 months, and 27 days since my first blog post.

Since then, I've published 213 posts here, and my writing has featured on The Peach (sadly, now defunct), Kiki and Tea, The Beheld, and Already Pretty. I couldn't actually tell you how many people have read my words, since I first tottered into the public arena, tentative and clumsy. I remember looking up to bloggers like Michelle at Lab Muffin, who is ridiculously stylish and also ridiculously brainy, and thinking I could never pull that off. I remember looking up to people like Autumn at The Beheld, and Garçonnière at à l’allure garçonnière and thinking I could never match the sharp insight they offered into things I'd only begun to think about. To be perfectly honest, I still look up to all these people, and amillion others I've discovered since. I don't consider what I've done anything close to what these talented writers do. Maybe in another 2 years, 6 months, and 27 days, I might be a little bit less self deprecating - but I wouldn't hold your breath.

I remember the first time I met a "fan" - technically, it was some friends of friends who I kind of knew anyway, but they were the first people I met in meatspace who knew more about my blog than about me. I remember how startling it was to realise that there were actually, seriously, people out there who didn't know me, but who knew my blog. That was the first time I really understood The Reluctant Femme as someone at least partially distinct from me, Cassie, and it spun me out for a good long time. I still have to remind myself it's actually a real thing every now and then. Eventually, once I stopped freaking out, I started to learn how to use that separation to give me more freedom in my writing - by creating a "brand", I guess, to speak my words for me, I felt safer speaking into the great dark abyss that is the internet. If people don't like what I have to say, having that deliberately constructed facade between my insides and the internet can come in SUPER handy.

Which is not to say I haven't thought about giving this up. Quite seriously, on occasion. I remember when I first started blogging, and looking for other similar blogs, I came across SO MANY abandoned blogs. Just blog after blog of amazing, interesting, intriguing content for a year or so then...silence. It was deeply discouraging, and I came very close to calling it quits before I'd even really begun. I looked at all these amazing writers, who'd just burnt out, wandered off, or otherwise given up, and I wondered how long it would take until I hit that point. I still do.

But over and over, I gather the motivation to bash out the words, take the pictures, publish the post, and you amazing, endlessly generous people just keep coming back. How could I possibly abandon this project now? How could I live with myself if I let you all down? Again and again, it's my wonderful audience that keep bringing me back to blogging, and giving me the motivation to push that publish button. Every time I think of quitting, I remember all those sad, lonely abandoned blogs, and I know I need to keep going. I might not ever be the best there is at blogging, but I'm determined not to abandon the wonderful audience who have given me so much of their time. 

Reluctant Femme is a strange blog - I always knew it was going to be, and most days I'm pretty proud of that. Even now I've migrated my more text heavy posts to Brainy Femme, this blog still features a hefty dose of feminism, fat positivity, and general politics - far more than your average beauty blog. This was a deliberate choice, right from the very start. I didn't want to write just another beauty blog. I wanted to make a blog that was different, write content you wouldn't find anywhere else. I'd be lying if I tried to tell you guys I hadn't considered giving that up in the name of popularity. The fact is, people in general like easy things, familiar things - and Reluctant Femme is not familiar or easy a lot of the time. Sometimes I look at blogs like Temptalia, and I'm SO jealous of how smooth and safe, and freaking POPULAR they are. I want that many readers, I want that kind of reach and influence. But safe and easy isn't me - I'm a weird person, and my blog is always going to be weird. So I try to work what I've got, and give you content that you won't see many other places.

Which brings me to the CELEBRAGANZA part of this post! 

As a thank you for sticking with me while I figure out this whole blogging thing, and your kind, encouraging, and supportive words over the last two years, I've pulled together two prize packs stuffed full of things you can't get anywhere else - just like my content! Not only do I have three custom polishes created just for this contest from Sayuri, Celestial Cosmetics, and Shades of Phoenix, I also have a couple of discontinued polishes I've been scooping up and storing away for just this occasion!

First up, the customs! From left to right we have;  The Glass Ceiling from Celestial Cosmetics, a gorgeous purple to gold duochrome with holo flecks floating in a sea of shimmering purple; Glittermob from Shades of Phoenix, an eye scorchingly holographic teal glitterbomb; and How Long!? (a reference to my alleged tendency to ramble) from Sayuri, a lush foil finish purple microglitter.

 When these arrived, I have to admit I thought twice about running this thing at all, because I want to keep them ALL. But, because I am a kind and magnanimous blogger (and because these three labels very generously donated their delightful goods), I've decided to actually hand them over to whoever the lucky winner happens to be.


The Glass Ceiling by Celestial Cosmetics

Glittermob by Shades of Phoenix

How Long!? by Sayuri

Next up, the discontinued, can't-get-these-anywhere-else polishes!

I have retrieved from the deep dark recesses of my stash these two wildly under appreciated Femme Fatale polishes, which are now both discontinued. These are from my personal collection, but they're brand new and unused. The one on the left is Planar Anomalies, a deliciously dark black jelly base filled with black and holographic glitters. This one has a delightful pinkish purple duotone flash in just the right light, and IHO is one of the most complex glitters Femme Fatale has released. On the right is Glinting Lodestone, which is probably my favourite Femme Fatale polish of ALL TIME. It's a deep blue jelly base, with an absolute riot of blue, turquoise and purple glitters in all sizes and shapes, and it's GORGEOUS.

Planar Anomalies
Glinting Lodestone
My swatch of Glinting Lodestone
I'm also giving away two of the most sought after Australian indie polishes from last summer - Powder Perfect's amazing microglitters Kevin and Decorate a Palm Tree! As with the Femme Fatale polishes, these are from my personal collection but are brand new and untouched.

These polishes are so sparkly it's kind of unbelievable

Decorate a Palm Tree
My swatch of Kevin!
My swatch of Decorate A Palm Tree

Phew. That seems like a lot now I write it all out. BUT, I have one more exciting and unique thing to throw on the prize pile....

The very last, never to be repeated, one of a kind, final mini available EVER of the polish Loki's Lacquer created called The Reluctant Femme. Since Loki's Lacquer has now closed, and I have the last full size bottle in my stash (and I will never EVER give it up) this is your absolute last chance to try this deceptively complex polish.

You can see just in the bottle the rainbows and holo fire dancing across the surface.
My swatch of The Reluctant Femme

FIRST PRIZE will be: All three custom polishes created for this giveaway, PLUS your choice of two polishes from the Femme Fatale and Powder Perfect duos.

SECOND PRIZE will be: The remaining two polishes from the Femme Fatale and Powder Perfect duos, PLUS the Last Reluctant Femme mini.

Winner will be drawn by the Rafflecopter random winner generator after four weeks, and this competition is open internationally. So what are you waiting for? Get entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway