Friday, December 20, 2013

In Defence of Twitter Feminism

This is something I've been wanting to talk about for a while, but a recent flurry of derisive articles decrying "twitter feminism" and online activism in general have brought it back to the front of my mind. I'd rebut these articles directly, but plenty of much smarter people have already got that under control. What I want to talk about is this whole perception that what happens on Twitter doesn't really matters in the scheme of things, the idea that Twitter in particular is just a bunch of spoiled brats complaining to empty air. I want to talk about this idea that "twitter feminism" doesn't matter, that all the discussions and movements are without substance because it's not happening in the "real world."

I think this is total, utter, bullshit.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of The Blues

When I was a little teenage proto Cassie, I already believed that the realm of makeup was full of unbreakable, inarguable rules, before I ever picked up my first lipstick. You must wear this, but only if X, in which case you must wear Y. You must NEVER wear Z, especially not with W, and on and on and on. I got the impression from my purloined copies of Cosmo and what I could glean from wiser friends that all makeup other than totally neutral, bland looks was "tacky", and obviously I didn't want to be tacky. But these looks were...well, kind of dull. It didn't really seem worth learning all these rules just so I could play with like, four colours of eyeshadow, and two lipsticks. The only payoff I was promised for all this effort, maybe, if I did everything JUST right, was a slightly prettier face. Well, bugger that, I thought. I'd rather read another book than bother with this.

Ironically, I am actually wearing some makeup in this picture.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lush Christmas Product Review

As a follow up to my total humblebrag post about attending the Lush Sydney Blogger Event, I wanted to go through and give you all a good thorough look at the enormous array of goodies we were given in the loot bag handed out at this event.

First up are the glorious little bundle of bath bombs we were given - Shoot For The Stars, Bombardino, Secret Santa, and (technically a bubble bar) Candy Mountain.

They're still in their bags for this group shot because my lightbox has a black velvet backdrop at the moment
and I was NOT interested in trying to clean it after putting bath bombs on it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lush Blogger Event Sydney - December

Let me tell you a story about long ago...well, a couple of years ago. I moved into a share house with an old friend and his lovely girlfriend, and soon discovered she worked at some shop I'd never heard of called Lush. She always smelled AMAZING, and her bathroom was always overflowing with fizzy bath bombs, and delicious soaps, and mysterious powders and lotions. After about the fiftieth time I asked why she smelled so delightful all the time, she insisted I try some of her wonderful things. From then on...well, I was pretty hopelessly converted. Now I'm the kind of shopper who wanders into Lush of a lunchtime and look like I'm browsing aimlessly, but when the unsuspecting shop assistant comes over to help me I can rattle off the exact specifications of what I'm looking for. I've been using their henna ever since I stopped dying my hair crazy colours, and always make sure I have one of the Godiva shampoo bars on hand. While I know there are some less awesome things about the company as a whole, I know what products I like and I quite like an awful lot of Lush.

Lush stores are just ridiculously fun to photograph.

Shameless Crosspromotion

Just a quick little note to let you all know that the lovely people at Kiki and Tea have graciously published a rather serious, sad, and personal piece of mine about loss, regret, and painting.

If you want to trundle over and take a look, it's right here: All That You Can't Get Back

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Balancing Act of Ethical Choices

You might have noticed from reading this blog that I have some pretty strong opinions about a lot of things. I have things I am very much For, and things I am Against, and I like to uphold my opinions in the form of action through ethical choices wherever possible. I'm very much For independent small businesses, and so I like to buy from them wherever possible. I'm very against fur for fashion, so I avoid buying clothes that involve fur. But these are very simple, straight forward examples. When it comes to buying cosmetics the idea of ethical choices can become an almost impossible quagmire.

Choosing cosmetics is a complex proposition at the best of times. Before I buy something, I will always consider quite a few different factors - does it REALLY work the way it says it will? Will I actually use it? Do I REALLY like it? Can I afford it? This last question in particular can be a real make or break one for a lot of people, and honestly, I think that if you're in that sort of financial situation you can go ahead and have a pass on fussing about whether your choices are as ethical as they could be. If you have to wear lipstick to your minimum wage job or you'll get fired, and the only one you can afford it tested on animals? Then you just go ahead and buy whatever you have to, you'll get no shade or shame from me. Ethical considerations are essentially a middle class issue, something that only becomes relevant when you have some sort of disposable income that you can spend as you please. Luckily, I'm in a situation where I can afford (most of) what I want, so the other two points are the main factors for me.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Furless Cosmetics: Chrome Polish Review

I first came across Furless Cosmetics while eyeballing their delightful range of brushes, but I `noticed recently they've added a range of cruelty-free, Big 3 Free polishes. The colours they had were nice, but mostly a bit plain for my taste - however, when they offered me the chance to road test their new chrome collection, I was delighted! You all know how I love the shiny!

The thing that jumped out at me about these polishes right out of the box is the stunning bottles they come in - and these aren't just for the chrome collection, all their polishes come in these beautiful bottles.

L-R, this is Polished and Actress

L-R this is Chic, Superstar, and Filthy Rich
It's true that presentation isn't everything, but these are just stunning. The heavy glass and chrome lids make them feel much more luxurious than their actual price would suggest, and the bottle is delightfully difficult to knock over - anyone who's accidentally nudged a bottle over on their coffee table will no doubt agree with me that this is an enormous plus.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why are Women the Marshalls of Fun?

This post is going to be one big long rant about heterosexual people problems, so if that's not something you're interested in, consider yourself warned.

The marketing team behind Xbox have been working their little butts off lately, attempting to completely blanket all and every media with the glorious news that the new console is nearly here, OMG, let's set off fireworks etc etc. At first, the only thing I found annoying about the campaign was how totally comprehensive it was - I am perfectly aware the new console is coming out, and would really like it if I could stop reading out it now. However, considering this is from a company that are pretty notorious for making sexism related PR bungles, over saturation is a pretty small niggle. I actually even saw an ad for the new Xbox that I liked! They released a cute little ad called "His and Hers" that depicts a hot girl demanding her boyfriend turn off the soccer so she can kill some zombies, and while it's a little pandering, it's also pretty fun.

I don't think my hair has ever been this perfectly styled, but otherwise this is a pretty
accurate depiction of a girl gaming.
Then I came this charming little customisable letter put out by Xbox (and very swiftly redacted) as part of the promotional effort for their new console. If you click on this to view it full size you should be able to read the text.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Foiled Again! Epic Nail Foil Transfers review

I'd say I'm sorry for the title, but I'm sure you all know how much I love groan worthy puns by now, so you wouldn't believe me even if I did.

As a relative newbie to world of nail "stuff", I've seen nail foils mentioned quite a bit, usually in close conjunction with "dammit, why won't these cursed things work?!" Like watermarbling, I'd put them aside as something that would be nice to play with at some stage, but that looked rather too tricky for my clumsy fumblings just now. However Epic Nail, an Australian based purveyor of nail goodies, was kind enough to offer me one of their Kaleidoscope Nail Foil Kits to review, which seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up just because I was worried about messing them up.

The Kaleidoscope Nail Foil Kit in all it's shininess

Friday, November 29, 2013

DC Comics: Accidental Feminists?

Today I've got another special guest post for you! Please extend a warm welcome to my guest blogger Mr. Reluctant Femme - otherwise known as Alex Hardison. He normally writes excellent sci-fi,and has been published in noted webzine Flurb, but today he's agreed to tread unfamiliar ground and put together a non-fiction work for the first time since he escaped Uni on two subjects extremely close to his heart - Batman and feminism.

  I've often thought that the ongoing theme of surrogate family was one of the most interesting elements of the whole Batman world . The Bat Story begins when Bruce Wayne, playboy millionaire, loses his parents to random violent crime. He naturally then takes a sacred vow to fight against the criminals who plague his city for the rest of his days, and takes up the cape and cowl to become our beloved Batman. This is of course, too great a task for any one man, even one completely awesome as Batman, so he recruits a range of companions and protégés over the course of his crusade. In return for their help in his ongoing crusade against crime, Wayne attempts to raise, teach, and nurture his team in a way that his parents were never able to raise him. Mind you, how WELL he raises them is a matter of some debate. He’s not exactly the warm, light hearted father figure most children would hope for.

Serious Bat Business is Serious.
 Batgirl: Year One, Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Random Things About Me

I'm really fascinated by this post of 10 Random Things over on The Militant Baker - partially because I am a curious kitten and I like knowing random stuff about people I think are cool. But what intrigues me the most about this post is how much people are sharing in the comments. It really illustrates (IMHO) just how much people are willing to share if they're only asked. If you've ever seen the stuff that comes out on Post Secret, then you know just how much people can sometimes keep inside, for fear of judgement. But I don't think people's silence is always about judgement, necessarily. People sit on potentially dangerous or shameful secrets because they're afraid of consequences, but I also think people sit on small, mundane secrets all the time because they don't think anyone wants to hear them. A lot of us have been taught to keep our business to ourselves, to not impose, and I think that's a really harmful thing. I hate the idea of people sitting on all these things they want to talk about, waiting for permission, waiting to be asked.

So my dear readers, I'm giving you permission, and I'm asking you to join in sharing. Of course, I'll share my 10 Random Things first to get the ball rolling, because I can't expect you guys to spill if I don't share first. You can either share your 10 Random Things in the comments, or do as I did and take the idea off to your own blog. If you do, be sure to share the link here and at the original Militant Baker post, so Jes can see how far her lovely idea has travelled! As always, anonymous comments will be enabled for the next fortnight, so you don't have to put your name to your sharing if you don't want to.

10 Random Things About Me

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bloggers+Indie Brands = OTP Part 2: The OKCupid Principle

Welcome back to the second part of my Bloggers+Indie Brands= OTP Series!
If you missed the first part, you can find it here

Part 2. The OKCupid Principle

Telling you to be respectful and play nice in order to succeed is all well and good, but what does that actually look like? What should you say? What shouldn't you say? Do you need different approaches for different people? Perhaps the most succinct way to explain how to communicate for both sides is that for maximum success, you should approach brand/blogger collaborations with the same basic principles as successful online dating. If you've never done online dating, you might not know this, but there's a real art to navigating it successfully, and almost all these principles can be applied to getting a successful relationship between bloggers and indie brands off the ground.

Friday, November 22, 2013

You Can't Take My Selfies from Me

I usually don't blog about internet activism events, but there was a hashtag going around this morning that gave me way too many thoughts to confine it to Twitter, where I usually do my most impassioned ranting.  Basically, Jezebel published an article condemning selfies on feminist grounds, and a large portion of Twitter reacted by posting endless selfies with the hashtag #feministselfie. Personally, I love this kind of immediate, groundswell response - it's one of my favourite things about being on Twitter. The way ideas bounce from one person to the next, to the next, and on in ever expanding ripples is something I find deeply fascinating, and I always love watching an idea sprout into a "thing", spreading seeds across the wilds of the internet.

ANYWAY, I have a lot of thoughts about this particular event, and for once I decided to jump on the bandwagon and dash something off before the zeitgeist rushes past. So let's talk about this Jezebel article. I don't actually read Jezebel a lot these days, because a lot of the articles they post make me really angry and I just don't need extra angry making things most days. However, a lot of people do read it, and a lot of people are influenced by it, so I feel like it's worth examining at least some of the problematic things they publish.

I'm going to start with this little gem here;

"Selfies aren't empowering; they're a high tech reflection of the fucked up way society teaches women that their most important quality is their physical attractiveness" 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bloggers+Indie Brands = OTP Part 1:R.E.S.P.E.C.T

I've only been blogging for just over a year, so I'm hardly what you'd call an expert on the subject. However, for a good ten years before I started blogging I was in Marketing and PR for various different firms, across a wide variety of industries.  While I'm still not an expert in marketing per se, I do have a ton of experience about how to get the most out of interactions between small media and small brands. Most of my career was spent convincing regional papers to cover things like Stamp Collecting Month, so if I know anything, it's how small media and small brands can help each other.

Just imagine customers are the crab - sorry customers.
Picture from National Geographic
Indie cosmetics brands and beauty/nail bloggers, in ideal circumstances, have an amazingly symbiotic relationship that I find absolutely fascinating from a marketing point of view. Indie brands don't have a lot of money to advertise their products (usually), and in a happy co-incidence, bloggers tend to be a pretty cheap form of marketing. Indie brands can't afford blanket awareness campaigns for their products, and so the vast majority of their sales are made through positive buzz, word of mouth, and reputation. It just so happens that these are the things that bloggers rely on for their audience, and also the primary thing they have to offer indie brands. Without a positive reputation, positive buzz, and word of mouth recommendations, both bloggers and indie brands are likely to severely limit their audience - but by working together well, both parties can gain a ton of what they need. Indie brands that work with bloggers get their products in front of eyeballs that might otherwise never see them, and bloggers who work with indie brands get a great deal of goodwill and "cool" status from covering products other people don't.  Indie brands and bloggers are truly what fandom calls OTP - one true pairing, an ideal pair of perfectly suited parties. When it works smoothly, everyone wins - but I've noticed it doesn't always work as smoothly as it could.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home Alone - A Powder Perfect Christmas Collection

I'm pretty conflicted about Christmas. I love the giving and getting presents parts, and the eating until you burst parts. But the Santa junk, and bloody tinsel, and all that nonsense? I HATE IT. I'm that grinch you see scowling at the brass band playing Christmas carols in November. I'm the one in the corner rolling my eyes while everyone talks about the "spirit of the season". And most of all, I hate red and green together. I just do. I think it's gross. I like red, I like green, but put them together and I want to smash things.

So you can understand that Christmas collections from indie polish brands are a mixed bag for me. They're almost always where the best sparkly reds of the whole year make an appearance, and I'm a terrible sucker for any and all sparkly red polishes. But it can also get deeply monotonous - Christmas in and of itself isn't really a terribly wide pool of inspiration to draw from. Which is why I was so delighted when Powder Perfect announced their Christmas collection would be inspired by Home Alone, one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

(The best Christmas movie of all time is, of course, Die Hard)

Powder Perfect very kindly sent me Decorate A Palm Tree*, Kevin! and Don't Flash Those Babies Around for review, and considering how much I loved the last polish I bought from them I had pretty high hopes. Happily, I was absolutely delighted with every single one - a pretty rare occurrence when being sent things randomly for review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Community College

I know I said I was going to continue this the day after my last post, but..well...I say a lot of things.

As I said in my last post, for a long time I was without a community, as such. I had friends, of varying numbers and degrees, but after exiting the Goth community in my great Interstate Flounce and returning to Sydney a couple of years later, I never really found anything to replace it. 
At one stage, I dabbled in the local Sydney poly scene, but never really got properly involved. I met a few nice people, and one or two great people, but an awful lot of dickheads as well. I had some really interesting conversations, but also had WAY too many arguments with people about why polyamory isn't actually the One True Way of the world - to be honest, I just had way too many conversations about polyamory full stop. The poly people were (on the whole) lovely, and fun, but I was going to tear my eyes out if I got into another round table discussion of how best to negotiate sleepovers.After a while it started feeling really....well, small. And not just because there are only about 50 people in the Sydney poly scene. The types of people in it are also very likeminded, and not just about relationship configurations. I think this is what made the scene start to feel stale and small so quickly - we were all of a similar age, similar financial circumstances, mostly cis, almost entirely white. A lot of the guys had beards, and a lot of the girls had long hair and a fondness for corsets. There's nothing wrong with any of these things on their own - but the sameness of the community left me feeling uninspired.

One of the symbols used to indicate polyamory: while I
have infinite love, it turns out I do not have infinite patience

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thnks Fr The Mmrs

I've been thinking a lot about my past recently. A couple of things have brought this turn of thought around - the end of the year always involves at least a little soul searching and taking stock for me. It doesn't help that my birthday is in early January, so the whole Christmas/New Year period has a real turn of the page feel for me, which naturally involves re-reading the page before I turn it. I also went to a FANTASTIC concert by Fall Out Boy the other night, which brought back a ton of memories of being twenty something, furious with everything, and firmly believing more eyeliner was ALWAYS better.

I went to the concert by myself, which was a little odd because I don't go out on the town without Mr. Reluctant Femme that often these days. I used to travel to parties, clubs, and concerts by myself all the time, so being on the train alone, in an outfit that my 20 year old self would have LOVED, to see a band that are the very definition of teenage angst really got me thinking. I found myself wondering what that angry little girl would think of my life as it is now. Would she be happy? Would she be proud? Or would she be disappointed?

I've been thinking about it for almost a week now, and I don't have anything like an answer. Perhaps there isn't an answer, really. There are so many ways my life could have gone from there - so many conversations I could have had or skipped, so many decisions I could have made differently. Or maybe I was always going to end up here, now, exactly how I am. Just like the great Captain Janeway, pondering the ramifications of theoretical consequences of altering time gives me a headache.

I'm on the far right - my cohorts shall remain nameless.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - Spooky

 This post is just RIDICULOUSLY late, but hey, better late than never!

As a not entirely unreconstructed Goth, I was pretty excited when the "Spooky" theme came up on Antipodean Beauties. While I'm still not 100 per cent clear on what a "neutral" eye is actually supposed to look like, spooky makeup I can do with my eyes closed.

So I got out my palest foundation, my whitest powder, and my blackest eyeliner and set out to recreate a look I was obsessed with as a little Gothling.

Yes, I did actually go out like this. Rather a lot actually. Usually wearing cheap PVC. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Knowing your Nose

I've got something a little bit different for you today - my very first ever guest post! The author of today's post is Sam, a fascinating lady who's been globe trotting as long as I've known her, and really should write more often than she does. I've been prodding her to write something for me for a little while, and after having surgery on her nose for sinus issues, she's very kindly put some thoughts together on what her new nose means to her.

Two weeks ago I had surgery on my sinuses and my nose.  As a result I was adorably helpless, and this made me miserable. 

I have never aspired to be a quirky supporting character in the story of a man's life, but rather a walking, breathing person of my own.  But I happen to have been a long-term relationship with a 'real-adult' so while I resent the idea, the quirky supporting character descriptor  may not actually be that far off.  I often feel as if I am not a 'real adult' and that I am faking it.   It's hard to feel fiercely independent when you lived with someone who is so ridiculously capable.  I sometimes think that if I was going to write about my experiences in our relationship I would call it 'Being Lois Lane'. This fear of being a supporting character is something I carry with me most of the time in my everyday life.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fly Me To The Moon - Introducing Moonstone Polish!

The Australian indie polish scene is absolutely EXPLODING right now, which on the one hand is awesome, but on the other hand is turning out to be really rather unfortunate for my wallet. Happily, the lovely lady behind newcomer Moonstone Polish was kind enough to send me some of her lovely goodies to try!

Moonstone Polish is the brainchild of a very enterprising young lady from the Central Coast, Caitlin Vine. The name of the company is apparently a reference to a commonly used ingredient in potions in the Harry Potter universe, since mixing polish is pretty similar to mixing potions. Caitlin sent me three potions polishes to try, and I'm really very impressed by the quality she's producing right from her very first collection.

Radioactive was the one I pulled out of the package to try first, because I'm always going to be a sucker for a good purple. And this is a VERY good purple. It's described by the creator as a "soft" violet, but to be honest there's nothing soft about this polish to my eyes - and I LOVE it. This is going straight in my "makes me feel like Molly from Neuromancer" pile along with my Color Club holographics.

Three coats alone, in my trusty lightbox

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From The Depths - Pretty Serious Crystal Lake Review

I haven't gotten as many Halloween posts in this month as I would like, so let's see how many I can pump out in the next week shall we?

Pretty Serious Cosmetics is run by die-hard horror fans, so I was pretty darn excited to see their Halloween collection this year. As it turns out, they actually went pretty crazy with the Halloween themed polishes this year - there are actually two collections! Till Death Do Us Party is monster/zombie wedding themed, and I'll be showing you one of them later. The other collection is called The Killer Fangirls, inspired by classic slasher film villains, and that's what today's post is all about.

The clever cookies at Pretty Serious chose three images out of a series by artist Leigh Young, created polishes inspired by these awesome images, and have released them with a signed trading card of each image. Leigh drew the logo and all the incidental art for Pretty Serious, and I'm a such a fan of her work I seriously considered buying the whole collection just for the cards.

Image courtesy of Pretty Serious

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Time To Squash The Bug

(Because a lot of outside material I've used for this post will be triggering in terms of trans phobia, hate speech, and violent threats, I've linked them instead of putting in screenshots. Please don't click through if you feel these links might be harmful to you)

I'm going to get into some pretty heavy feminist politics today, so while I know some of you are tempted to flick past this entry, I'd ask that you stay and hear me out, at least for a little while. This is super important stuff, and the whole point of this post is to try and spread information about some of the heinous shit going on out there in the name of feminism to people who might not be aware.

A lot of my readers will already know a lot of what I'll be writing out here, so consider this a primer that you can link to people who ask what the hell you're on about when you talk about TERF's. But if you're one of those people who tries to stay out of politics, to stay out of "Capital F" Feminism, I'd ask that just this once, you listen for a minute. I promise there will be more pretty pictures later - but today I want to get serious.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - Avant Garde

This is actually last Monday's theme, but I like to think I made up for my lateness in quality of effort. I was pretty damn excited by the theme for this week - I love avant garde art, and I was determined to try and do something out of my comfort zone, beyond what I would normally assume I am capable of. Avant garde is all about pushing boundaries after all!

I was a little torn as to what exactly to do for this challenge, until I was lucky enough to see Dave McKean's very avant garde performance Nine Lives at the Opera House as part of the Graphic festival. I've been a fan of Dave McKean's artworks since I first saw them on the cover of The Sandman, probably my favourite graphic novel series of all time. I find his obsession with tactile textures, uneven surfaces, shapes that aren't quite right, and images that aren't quite there endlessly fascinating, and in a lot of ways I wish my paintings were more like his.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Space Oddity

I've been reading The Beheld again, which means inevitably, I have far too many thoughts running around in response to Autumn's most recent post to fit in a comment field - which means you guys get them all, you lucky things!

(Incidentally, if you're not reading The Beheld, you really should. It doesn't update as often as it used to because the author is in the middle of writing a book, but it's always worth a look. I don't always agree with Autumn's point of view, but she has the most delicious brains and over thinks everything in the most delightful way)

Autumn's most recent post was about her experiences moving in with a partner; how that's effected her perception of public and private space, and how that in turn has effected her beauty regime. You can read all her thoughts over at the blog, but my thoughts and experiences are so different I felt like they really deserved their own post. I totally agree with her observations that the amount of primping and "beauty work" women do in various spaces is very closely connected to how public or private we consider that space to be. If you're headed somewhere you consider to be public, you're much more likely to, for example, stop and put your hair up or change your shirt. If you're somewhere you consider private, you're less likely to be concerned about how what you're wearing looks, and just go with what's most comfortable.

Of course all women look this cute just bumming around at home.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are You Scared of the Dark? Pretty Serious Poltergeist Puddle Review

Getting back to my overall Halloween type theme I've got going this month, I wanted to show you a polish from Pretty Serious's last Halloween collection. They do have a new one out this year, and I do have a review coming up, but I wanted to take a little trip back in time and cast some much deserved light on this older collection that is still available, and still well worth getting your mitts on.

Poltergeist Puddle is a really gorgeous purple, with hints of a slight pink duochrome shimmer. It reminds me of a purple version of Galaxy Invader - a colour that seems relatively plain on the surface, but that actually has a lot of depth and a bit of a foily shimmer to it as well.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hide And Seek

When I started this blog, I intended to do more outfit posts. I'd looked at some of the stuff people were putting up, and while a lot of them were WAY more stylish than anything I ever put together, it seemed simple enough. Put on some nice clothes, take some pictures, list where you got everything, boom, a whole post! Even better, just by being the size I am and putting pictures of my body on the internet, I felt like I was striking a little itty bitty blow for body acceptance every time I did it. I figured even if the pictures that came out weren't the most flattering of me ever taken, that was okay, because I was still contributing to a diversity of image available for women to look at when trying to determine if their body is "okay". Yes, my head told me. This is a Good Thing, and an Easy Thing, and let's do it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - Red

Hurrah! I managed another AB challenge! I'm pretty proud of myself. The theme this week was "Red", and since I knew that everyone was going to go for red lips, I initially tried to do a red eye look. I hear it's "on trend" or something, but it just make me look like I had a nasty infection, so I scrapped that and went for red lips as well. BUT, for flavour, I decided to do a whole red outfit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Presents: Aussie Indie Emporium

I've blogged here before about how awesome the Femme Fatale brand polishes themselves are, and also about the fantastic overseas indies they're now stocking. But did you know they're also stocking a wide range of our lovely Aussie indie polishes as well?

This might seem kind of redundant, until you take a look at just how much postage costs even with Australia. Australia Post, kind and generous souls that they are, charge a minimum of $7 per parcel, which doesn't seem like much until you start ordering from a couple of places at once. I, for example, being the Aussie indie junkie that I am, will often order from three different brands. I only pay 7-8 dollars postage to each one, but it adds up to nearly $25 all up just to get the damn polish to me. Femme Fatale, however, have come up with a solution to this annoying conundrum, by stocking a huge variety of popular Aussie indies all in the one place. This means you can throw them in with all the other lovelies from Femme Fatale, without incurring a chunk of postage for every bottle. I think it's a brilliant idea, and Femme Fatale were kind enough to provide me with some sample of the Aussie indies they're currently stocking.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rocky Horror Nail Show Part 3 - Loki's Lacquer Science Fiction Double Feature Collection

At last, we come to the last part of my little showcase for Loki's Lacquer's Rocky Horror themed indie polish collection, Science Fiction Double Feature. I've only got two polishes left to show you, so I'll just have to make up the extra space with extra anecdotes - which I'm sure you'll all just HATE.

Time Warp and Science Fiction Double Feature

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rocky Horror Nail Show Part 2 - Loki's Lacquer Science Fiction Double Feature Collection

Welcome to the second installment of my little fanfest dedicated to Rocky Horror and Loki's Lacquer!
Here are the three polishes we'll be looking at in between my rambling reminiscing.

From left to right, we have 274306 (cookies for anyone who knows this reference off the top of their head), Even Smiling Makes My Face Ache, and Say Hello to Oblivion.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rocky Horror Nail Show Part 1 - Loki's Lacquer Science Fiction Double Feature Collection

I am so SUPER, totally excited to show you guys this collection. I actually "used my connections" for the first time ever and bullied  begged Tara from Loki's Lacquer to sell me a set before they were officially released just so I could get my hands on them sooner. You see, I am what they call a Rocky Tragic.

You've probably seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or at least heard of it. It's had the longest continuous release in history, largely due to good old fashioned midnight screenings where fans show up in costume and shout agreed upon funny lines at the screen in between (and over) dialogue. At some screenings, they have a cast of people acting out the movie as well, and I was part of one of these casts for three years. Every single Friday night I would put on my neon satin button up shirt and bow tie, I would sing and scream and do The Time Warp, and I fucking LOVED IT. I met wonderful, weird, amazing people and gained so much confidence that I don't think I ever would have gotten any other way.

Funny thing is, being a part of something like that never really leaves you. I was showing these polishes to a friend who was also in the cast, and between us we just started reciting great chunks of the movie and callbacks. We just can't help ourselves. Whenever I see people doing the Time Warp the "wrong" way (there is a dance that was popular in clubs, and the dance they actually do on the screen, and they are actually quite different) I get all twitchy. I can't watch the movie without muttering the callbacks under my breath, and despite having seen the movie so many times I've seriously lost count, there are sections of dialogue and lyrics I don't actually know the original words for because I always shouted callbacks over them.

Needless to say, I have a lot of feelings about Rocky Horror. So I'm going to regale you with tales of my multicoloured, cross dressing past, in between the pretty pictures. Science Fiction Double Feature is a collection of 8, so to stop the length of this post spiralling wildly out of control, I'm going to split it into three posts - which I guess is a way of saying if you don't give a damn about Rocky Horror at all, maybe go somewhere else this week.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cuticle Balm Showdown - Powder Perfect versus Rainbow Honey

As I mentioned in my last post, the lovely people at Femme Fatale Cosmetics sent me a delightful little package of goodies to review for them. As well as a selection of foreign and local indie polishes, they also sent me a cuticle balm from Rainbow Honey to try. I was pretty darn pleased with this, because I've heard all sorts of good things about it, and since I got another cuticle balm from Powder Perfect recently, I've been doing a side by side comparison. The most obvious difference between these two is that one is a stick, and the other is in a little pot. For some people, a stick is FAR more convenient, especially if they have long nails and don't want to end up with a ton of product under your nails from trying to get it out of a pot. However, I personally tend to put on cuticle balm with a little eyeliner brush or a cotton bud, so the packaging actually doesn't make that much difference to me. So I decided to take a closer look at the ingredients, side by side, to try and determine which is superior.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rainbow Honey Pink Cloud Review and Swatches

Just a very quick, very straightforward post today!

I'm currently off work for a week, so I am planning on getting some serious work done so I can bring you some really in-depth posts in the coming weeks. But I'm also wanting to squeeze in a bit of R'n"R as well, so I've been alternating research on sumptory laws in 16th Century Italy with watching movies like the delightfully ridiculous Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters while stuffing my face with chips.

(I like bad movies and I cannot lie.)

Today, in the spirit of taking it easy, having fun and not thinking too hard, let's have a look at a lovely little polish by Rainbow Honey. It's called Pink Cloud, and was sent to me for review by the wonderful folk at Femme Fatale Cosmetics.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dia de Muertos Collection - Shades of Phoenix Review

You might have noticed I'm kind of a not so reformed Goth; this means Halloween is a BIG deal for me. They don't call it Goth Christmas for nothing! So I'm gearing up for a big month of all things creepy, ooky, kooky and spooky here at the Reluctant Femme.
Shades of Phoenix very kindly asked me to review their Halloween season offering, a quirky little trio of Dia de Muertos themed polishes. Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday thought to have emerged from a collision of an Aztec festival around the same time of year that centred around remembering and celebrating the dead, and the Catholic holidays All Saints Day and All Soul's Day. There are similar celebrations in lots of different cultures, but in Mexico the declared Dia de Muertos is a public holiday, and there are often festivals on either side of the actual day. Dia de Muertos has also developed a very distinctive set of visual trademarks - skull motifs, bright clashing colours, and big bunches of marigolds everywhere they can possibly fit. Despite being a festival all about death, and remembering everyone we know who is already dead, Dia de Muertos is actually quite a joyous event. Traditionally, Mexicans don't like for the dead to be thought of as sad in their afterlife, or to be thought of sadly at all. They prefer to consider all those who've gone before us to be having one big party while they wait for us, and Dia de Muertos is an expression of how happy we are that they get to party on down in the afterlife, how happy we are to have known them, and how excited we are that we will see them again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chosen Ones and Ones Who Choose - Powder Perfect Indie Polish Review

To round off the week, I have a post for you today with something I love, and something I hate.

Let's start with the positives! You might remember the delightful lipstick I got from local indie label Powder Perfect that I posted about a little while ago. Powder Perfect also make nail polishes, so of COURSE I had to try out one of them as well. The one that really jumped out at me is called Children of The Moon, and is apparently inspired by the Mortal Instruments series of books. Honestly, I am NOT a fan of these books, and I'll go into more detail about why in a little bit, but this polish looked SO pretty that I decided I didn't give a damn about the association with the books, it was worth picking up anyway.

Children of The Moon is dark indigo jelly base filled with tons and tons of blue, silver, and grey hexes in various sizes. It's not quite as much of a glitterbomb as the average Femme Fatale, but it's certainly right up there. I decided to wear it over a plain navy base, but to be honest I probably didn't really need to bother.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Echoes - Cadillacquer Review

Recently I decided to take advantage of all the lovely international indies that are being stocked at Femme Fatale Cosmetics - they've had this up and running for a little while, but I had something of a backlog just working through all the amazing Australian indies I wanted to try. But finally I got around to checking it out, and I'm SO glad I did. There is some freaking awesome stuff there, that is really difficult to get any other way - Happy Hands, HARE Polish, Smitten Polish...lots of lovelies I'd been meaning to track down, all there for my browsing pleasure!

Among all the brands I was familiar with, I came across one I'd never seen before that really jumped out at me. Echo from Swiss indie label Cadillacquer is a stunning dark blue glitter in a jelly base. It was very easy to apply, and if you're one of those patient people who can do thin, even layers of jelly polishes this would do well without any undies.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How To Apply Indie Nail Polish (Without Going Mad)

I promised I would follow up my Indie Polish Buying Guide with a little tutorial, and finally, here it is! I did a basic How To Do Nails tutorial here a looooong time ago, but not only have I learned a LOT since then, it also didn't include the special peculiarities of using polish that's 90 per cent glitter. SO I've made up a tutorial that's start to finish - bare nails to sparkly goodness!

You'll see below a little video I've made for you, with the ever-patient help of Mr. Reluctant Femme.

(As a former film student, I take RIDICULOUS delight in using the absolute cheesiest, tackiest effects I find for these videos)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Suicidal Tendencies

This is a brutally honest post, with a great deal of raw emotion exposed, so please proceed with caution. I will be discussing points in time when I was suicidal, and talking to other people about their suicide plans, so if this is triggering you might want to stop now.
Here's a corgi puppy taking a nap to make you smile before you go
Still here? Cool, let's get into this then.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - No Makeup Makeup

 Good lord, two AB posts in a row! What IS the world coming to? It's actually because my last one was extremely late, and this one is more or less on time, so there isn't likely to be another until next Monday.

This week's theme was "No Makeup Makeup", and I considered being a smarty pants and putting up a photo with no makeup on at all, and try and convince you that I was wearing some complex "au naturale" regime. But for ONCE, I decided not to be sarcastic and actually do the theme as intended, mostly because I have a really lovely lipstick I want to show you that totally suits the theme.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Antipodean Beauties All About Eyes - Venomous Cosmetics Review

I have to admit, I've been putting this post off for a little while. You know when everyone else is super excited about something, and so you get it too, and then you wonder what the fuss was all about? Yeah, I finally ran into one of those situations. ANYWAY, I realised this post would fit perfectly with the Antipodean Beauties theme for this week, All About Eyes, so I finally got my crap together and got it done.

After attempting to pack up all my eyeshadows for a recent cross country trip, and failing to fit them all in the bag, I've realised I might have a bit of a problem with acquiring new eyeshadows.I just love them so, SO much. Discovering indie eyeshadows changed my whole attitude towards eyeshadow - I was used to years and years of grinding away at cheap palettes trying to get some sort of shadow of colour, and then I come across these rich, beautiful, opaque powders that could transform my eyes in the swipe of a brush. I've always wanted to be a bit more daring with my makeup, but I'm too self conscious about my teeth to go in for bright lipstick. Bright eyeshadow was the answer I'd been looking for, and indie eyeshadow is as bright as it gets!

I'd heard excellent things about Venomous Cosmetics, an American indie outfit, and checking out their colours it seemed they had some very bright colours indeed to offer me. They also had quite a large Alice in Wonderland themed collection, and lord knows I love any excuse to talk about Alice In Wonderland. So I ordered a bunch of samples, as I do when buying from a new company, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I tried to contact Venomous by email, and received no reply.

I waited some more.

Eventually by stalking their Facebook page, I realised the email address they had listed on their site was actually out of commission, and so I emailed again to a different address. Finally I got a response, and to be fair, an absolute torrent of apologies. The owner offered to resend my parcel as it was quite likely the first one had gotten lost, and stuffed it FULL of so much extra stuff I was a bit shocked with it arrived. Not a great first impression, but the owner was just SO NICE and SO GENEROUS I was willing to get over the long wait time. I mean, international postage can be a right bitch, and there's nothing anyone can do about that.

But anyway, at long last the package arrived, and out tumbled my pretty little pans of colour! Unfortunately in the meantime, most of these colours have been discontinued, but you will still get an idea of the sort of thing that Venomous tend to do.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pool Party!! Pretty Serious Party by The Pool Review

Here in my Australian corner of the world Summer has arrived with a great big bang! Most years we get a nice, slow transition from a cold, damp winter to the scorching humidity of summer, but this year it's gone straight from coat weather to t-shirt weather. I'm trying not to sulk about this too hard - I love winter and LOATHE summer - by brightening up my wardrobe and trying to put on a happy face beneath the sweat. While pawing through my untried polish pile (it's under control, I swear) I noticed this beautiful peacock blue jelly polish from Pretty Serious called Party by The Pool, and decided that this was where my Summerfication should begin.

Image courtesy of the Pretty Serious website
While not as uber-sparkly as more recent releases like Cybernetic, there is still a lot of sparkle swimming around in the squishy jelly base. As with every single Pretty Serious polish I've tried so far, I have nothing but effusive praise for the formula. Perfect consistency, perfect coverage -  the almost unbelievable consistency of this brand is one of my favourite things about it. Because it's a jelly base, it will remain a teeny bit transparent unless you layer it, so I put two coats over a base of Ulta 3 Get Teal.

In the glorious sunshine! One good thing about summer, plenty of sun for swatch photos.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Optional Highlights: Why Can't We Choose The Face That Fits?

There's been a little flurry of discussion in the last week on the "makeup-free" and "natural beauty" movements in the last week - my blogging hero Autumn Whitefield-Madrano from The Beheld was over at HuffPost Live sharing some insightful thoughts on the matter, and my journalism hero Clementine Ford has been talking about the same issue over at Daily Life. I'm not really sure what's really blown it up on this particular occassion, but it's been an ongoing discussion in lots of feminist circles for a really, really long time now.

Makeup Free Mondays over on The Beauty Bean

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shades of Phoenix In A World Of My Own Collection - Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of my swatches posts for Shades of Phoenix's new Alice in Wonderland themed collection In A World Of My Own!

Before we get started on swatches, I wanted to reiterate all the nitty gritty buying details, and let you know about a great giveaway that's running over at Shades of Phoenix right now.

The In A World Of My Own Collection will be available for full set pre-order TONIGHT from 7PM at the Shades of Phoenix Etsy store - there are a very limited number of these sets available, and the purchase price includes free shipping, AND a free pair of handmade polish earrings. If you're looking to pick up individual bottles, they will be available from the Shades of Phoenix Etsy store from 7PM on September 3rd.

Shades of Phoenix are also running a birthday giveaway on their blog with THIRTEEN indie polishes up from grabs! Not only have Shades of Phoenix put up three polishes of their own, MckFresh, Sayuri Nail Lacquer, Loki's Lacquer, and newcomer Smudged Polish have also pitched in too, so I recommend you trundle on over and get your entries in for that.

ANYWAY, back to the pretty pictures! Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat is a clear based glitter topper filled with an explosion of teal and purple stars and aqua bars. Shades of Phoenix don't often do straight up glitter toppers, but this one is a lot of fun. It's inspired by the scene in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland where the Dormouse recites a poem just before The Mad Hatter stuffs him in a teapot.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shades of Phoenix In A World of My Own Collection - Part 1

The lovely Teneil of Autsralian indie polish label Shades of Phoenix was kind enough to give me some advance bottles of her new Alice In Wonderland themed collection, In A World Of My Own, to show you all. Teneil is a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, and it really shows in this beautiful new collection.

Shades of Phoenix In A World Of My Own Collection

Isn't this a gorgeous lineup? They look so pretty all together I had to make the time to get a group shot of this delightful little rainbow. Each polish is inspired by particular characters or scenes, and I think Teneil has done an amazing job of translating these inspirations into polish form. Since there are seven polishes all up, and I have a great deal to say about the whole pop cultural influence of the original book in general, I'll be dividing this up into two parts.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Confessions of A Fat Girl

There is a book sitting somewhere in my lounge room right now - a friend kindly gave it to me because they remembered I'd been looking for it, and I took it home and promptly tried to forget I had it.

You see, it's a diet book.

The imprint from a wonderful badge made by the very talented Fancy Lady Industries
Yes, you read that right. I own a diet book. I was actively looking for a diet book. I have actually been expending time and effort researching different diets, and had decided the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet looked like it was worth a go. It's not really a DIET per se, I told myself. It's a healthy eating plan. It's not about losing weight, it's about feeling better and being healthier and maybe building my immune system up so I don't get every fucking cold going around. It's not about conforming to societal standards, I told myself. It's about helping my body work better. I mean, this diet is all scientific and shit! It's serious business, not like those trendy fad diets. It's a "smart person's" diet.

But still, the book remains in my loungeroom somewhere, untouched. You see, diet is a very complicated word for me. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Scaredy Cat Cosmetics Review - Subtlety is Overrated

On one of my trawls through Etsy for new and exciting indie cosmetics brands to show you, I came across American outfit Scaredy Cat Cosmetics. Compared to local creators like Femme Fatale Cosmetics and Eccentric Cosmetics, the range of colours available wasn't hugely inspiring - but I am a sucker for cute packaging, and thought it might be time to invest in some colours that aren't quite as...well, bold as the ones I already have.

I picked up a dark grey called Lir, a lighter grey called Nereid, and a lovely golden brown called Y So Sirius. The shipping for these three was around $10, which is kind of high, but relatively good for shipping from the US, especially considering how quickly it arrived.

I really love the little triangular bottles these came in - unfortunately after checking the shop it seems they've
discontinued these since I got my order. The new jars still have the same gorgeous illustrations though.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - Glitter!

I've put my hand up to join a new makeup challenge blog hop, the brainchild of the lovely Omega from Fashion Adjacent. After my appallingly inadequate attempts to keep up with Aussie Nails Monday, I wondered if maybe this was such a good idea, but I'm really keen to stretch my boundaries with makeup as often as possible, and this seems like a good way.

I used to always wear the same makeup simply because it was all I knew how to do - but since I've started blogging and researching and really diving into this whole femme thing, I've gotten a lot more knowledge about how to make cosmetics work for me. But I still find myself wearing the same things the same way over and over, out of complacency. BORING. Enough of that, let's brush the dust off the stuff I keep in the "Maybe Later" drawer and get this challenge started!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Animation Celebration - Love Thy Polish review

Maybe it's just rose coloured nostalgia, but I really do feel that there was something special about the cartoons of the 80's. I have what some would consider an embarrassingly large collection of them at home - Duck Tales, Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Rainbow Brite, I've got them all. I can't even explain to you how excited I was to finally track down a cartoon I hadn't seen since I'd hit Primary School, with only the vague memory that it was some sort of Ulysses in space story with a really annoying robot and a character that looked like a pixie. (In case you're curious, the show in question was Ulysses 31) So needless to say when I saw Love Thy Polish was doing an Animation Celebration collection, I was ALL OVER IT.

Yes, alright, it took me a while to blog this. I'm a bad blogger.
Because unfortunately I can't afford to buy ALL the polish, I picked out the three I couldn't possibly pass up - East Australian Current (inspired by Finding Nemo), No Ordinary Teddy (inspired by Superted), and How Do You Spell F.B.I? (inspired by Toy Story)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Beginners Guide to Indie Polish Part 2

Last time I had good long ramble about the things I think you should know before you get into the woinderful, sparkly world of indie nail polish. Today I want to go through what to do when good polish turns out to be, in fact, bad.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Beginners Guide to Indie Nail Polish Part 1

If you're here and reading my blog, I'm going to go ahead and assume you're aware that there is such a thing as indie nail polish, if only because I refuse to shut up about them. I'm obviously hugely in favour of supporting the indie nail polish community - I love helping people make their own businesses a success, I love the creativity and geekery in a lot of indie polishes, and I love the sense of community that comes from getting into a hobby so many other people hold so dear. It's kind of staggering to realise the industry is only about two years old - Lynderella was the first indie brand to go public in July 2011, and Hare Polish followed soon after. But since then the number of creators has expanded exponentially - what used to be a microscopic little corner of the cosmetics market is getting more and more crowded, and a broader customer base can bring with it exponentially more drama. I've been seeing a lot of customers flying off the handle on various Facebook pages and forums over the most nonsensical of complaints, and it drives me nuts.

I think that there are a few things that newcomers to the "scene" need to know, and a few tips and tricks I find myself repeating over and over, that will help you get the most out of the world of indie polish.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Snow Day! Glittering Elements Glacier and Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen

Glittering Elements are yet another new Australian indie polish maker I've stumbled across, and despite not knowing they existed three weeks ago, I now currently have four of their polishes with three more on the way. Needless to say, I'm a fan.
Today I wanted to go with a sort of ice theme, and show you Glacier from Glittering Elements, as well as a retelling of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. For the short of attention span, I'll start with the pretty pictures!

Glacier is a remarkably sparkly clear based polish, that works best as a topcoat over another colour. Theoretically you could probably make it opaque with four coats or so, but I think you'd lose a lot of the twinkliness, and that's what I dig about it. These swatches are two thin coats over a navy base, out in the sunshine to catch all the sparkle.

Glittering Elements Glacier Swatch

Glittering Elements Glacier Swatch