Thursday, December 4, 2014

Moonstone Polish Review

You might remember Moonstone Polish from an introductory review I did many moons ago, but unfortunately given the exponentially increasing indie polish market in Australia and my slowly shrinking polish budget I haven't had much of a chance to explore their range since then.

I was delighted to hear they were having a big sale for the creator's birthday, since this gave me the perfect opportunity to go back and scout out just what I'd been missing!

Another reason I couldn't resist the Moonstone birthday sale is because the creator added a special limited edition polish to the tempting array of goods. This stunning purple flakey is called Birthday Girl, and surprising no one, I'm absolutely in love with it.

While this was a limited edition for the sale, I'm pretty sure there are still a few bottles available if you get in quick. If you're a purple lover, you'd be a fool to let this one get away!

This delicious red jelly glitter is Bacon/Strawberry Jam, part of a Berties Every Flavour Beans collaboration with Shades of Phoenix. Both labels released polishes that each had two names, and which one you get is entirely up to chance. As with the Beans, one "flavour" is theoretically good and one is bad, but in this case, I was pretty delighted to get a bottle labelled Bacon.

Everything should be bacon.

This next polish is from a set of five - a rainbow of microglitter and holo dust called the Unintended Collection. This blue beauty is called Starlight, and I love it almost as much as I love Birthday Girl.

It doesn't have as much complexity as Birthday Girl, but oh man, SO MUCH SHINY.

And finally, we have Malachite - I spotted this one a while ago twinkling away on the Aussie Indie Polish Appreciation Society Facebook page, and have been lusting after it ever since.

This one wasn't quite as jewel toned as I was hoping for, but it's still a wonderfully unique colour. The formula is also superb - actually, the formula for all of these was great. I didn't need to use a base colour for any of them, and two coats was plenty for full, glittery coverage.

All of these and plenty more are available currently from the Moonstone Polish site. If you want to make sure you don't miss out on the next Moonstone sale, be sure to swing past their Facebook page for regular updates!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Can You Blog It? Yes You Can!

Someone asked me about starting their own blog this morning, and asked specifically, "But isn't starting a blog cliche?" To save that poor person from having to read a barrage of Facebook messsages, this post is my response. 

Short version: No, it's not. If you want to do it, do it. It doesn't matter if a million other people are blogging, or none. If blogging means something to you, if you have things to say that you need to say, then just say them. Damn the man, damn the haters, and blog it anyway.

Long version: I feel like the question "Isn't it cliche?" is actually a couple of other questions in disguise. What you're really asking when you ask this is, "Isn't wanting to force my opinions on other people obnoxious?" and "Do I really have anything worth saying, when so many other people are talking already?"

The first question is easy to answer. No, it's not obnoxious to start a blog. It's just opening a Blogger or Wordpress account, typing in some words, and hitting publish. There's nothing inherently obnoxious about it, it's a neutral action. There are obnoxious ways to go about it - insisting everyone refer to you as "Blogger Extraordinaire", or refusing to talk about anything else with anyone for months at a time, for example. But the act of starting a blog, of carving out a little space for your voice, is not obnoxious. This fear of being obnoxious applies to men as well, but I've noticed it's particularly prevalent in women. Women are specifically taught by the patriarchal society we live in that their voices are less important, that their thoughts are less worthwhile, and that they should take up as little space as possible. 

As Chimananda Ngozi Adichie put it, "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man." Putting our thoughts in a blog is audacious, and in direct opposition to this idea that we should be small. That's why it feels uncomfortable - but also why you should give it a shot.

Which brings me to the second question -"Do I really have anything worth saying, when so many other people are talking already?" Honestly, I don't know. Maybe you don't. Maybe everything you want to say is already being said in exactly the same way you would say it, by someone else. But somehow, given the variety of humanity, I doubt that.

You don't have to be an expert in whatever you want to write about - oftentimes writing about the journey of learning how to do what you want to do can be just as interesting as a flawless How To. You want to write a baking blog, but you can't bake? That's okay, write about your baking disasters! People love cake wrecks, they really do.

Maybe no one will read it. I can't promise you massive readership, or popularity, or huge mainstream success. But if you're blogging about what you want to see, expressing the things you feel you need to say, then I can promise you one thing: satisfaction.

If you're wanting to start a blog because it seems like the thing to do, but you don't have anything you really want to say, then my advice is don't. If you don't bring anything of yourself to your blog, then it will be boring, and it will be obnoxious. But if there's something you need to say, that you want to say, something you want to see in the world that you can't see out there yet, then go ahead and do it. Are you a plus sized person of colour with a physical disability who wishes there were more beauty blogs from your point of view? (Hell, considering how whitewashed beauty blogging is, you might feel this way just for being a person of colour) Then do it yourself! Start that thing, make what you want to see real. 

Can You Blog it? Yes You Can!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shades of Phoenix Blogger Collection - featuring me!

That's right, I've been lucky enough to have another polish shade named after me! Well, specifically "inspired by" and named by me, but still absolutely thrilling. There are polishes for a bunch of other really talented and lovely bloggers as well, so we best get started!'

This black and teal bombshell is Bats in a Blender, inspired by the original black and teal haired bombshell herself, Kierra from Look What the Bats Dragged In.

I used two thick coats alone to get maximum sparkle, but if you're not especially patient I would recommend using this one over a base colour so you don't have to fiddle with getting it to sit evenly.

This deep red, star filled jelly is Impossible Planet, inspired by Bettina from Bettina Nails. The inspiration for this one is pretty obviously the fantastic Doctor Who episode of the same name.

This swatch is three coats alone, just so I could get a sense of how squishy the jelly base is, but I would probably wear it over a base colour next time.

You'll be shocked to hear this iridescent purple beauty is my second favourite of the collection. This one is called Iridescent Adolescent, and is inspired by Caitlin over at Muggle Manicures, who also runs the delightful indie polish brand Moonstone Polish.

The formula for this one is as delightful as the colour - the base leans more crelly than jelly, which means you won't need a base colour. These swatches are three coats alone.

I wasn't sure about this polish, because putting gold glitter in a grey base isn't a choice I would have thought of right away. But it comes together surprisingly well! The mixture of gold, bronze, and black glitters mesh well with the grey base and makes for a really lovely, unique polish. It's called Medusa in the Morning, and is inspired by Relle from Lazy Lacquerista - who is allegedly a lot like Medusa before her morning coffee.

As with Iridescent Adolescent, the formula for this one is A+. Shades of Phoenix seem to do really good crellies, and Medusa in the Morning is no exception.

Next up we have the contribution from Kaz, the unbelievably stylish blogger from Pretty Random and founder of indie polish label Pretty Serious. This dark, vampy delight is called Secret of the Ooze.

This polish is a bit of a chameleon - in the bottle and in sunlight it shines quite olive, which makes it probably the only olive polish I own. In artificial or dimmer light though, it appears as an inky black, full of shimmering iridescent flakies in a rainbow of colours. I swatched this as three coats alone, and you can see taking the time to build it up lets the flakies really shine.

And finally, drumroll please, for MY POLISH!

Obviously I went for something sparkly, because when given the choice, as if I wouldn't. Mine is called Paint Me Blue, and is a light blue crelly packed full of as many holo glitters as would fit.

I know some people have been wondering why I chose to call this Paint Me Blue, and it's actually pretty simple. I've been listening to a band called Something Corporate a lot lately, and their song "She Paints Me Blue" really speaks to me for a lot of reasons - I can really relate to the kind of love described in it.

The Bloggers Who Inspire collection is open for presale right now, and should be open for regular orders shortly, from the Shades of Phoenix website.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Darling Girl Blogger Pack and More Review

Darling Girl, based in the US, has been on my wish list for a long time, so I was super excited to get my hands on some at last. Happily, this is one brand that definitely lives up to the hype.

Even the packaging is utterly adorable!
I ordered the Blogger Review Pack, as well as some other bits and pieces just to fill up the bag, and Darling Girl also have a very generous gift with purchase program, so I ended up with quite a few different things to try!

Swatches over Nyx Primer
The shadows I got in sample size were, from left to right, Faux Pas, Basket Case (I can't resist a 90's theme), Adoration, Rendezvous and Lefty Loo Who. The formula for all the shadows was great - they stick well without clumping weirdly, and blend very smoothly. The standout in terms of formula was definitely Rendezvous, which is one Darling Girl call "semi loose". It feels a tiny bit damper than the rest of the shadows, but glides on like an absolute dream. The richness of the colour is absolutely breathtaking, and the duochrome works brilliantly with the slightly richer, moister formula.

Faux Pas over Nyx Primer

Basket Case over Nyx Primer
You wouldn't think it from the swatches, but Basket Case and Faux Pas go surprisingly well together. This is Basket Case all over the lid and blended up into the crease over Adoration, and Faux Pas made into an eyeliner with the Darling Girl Superstar Serum.

Adoration is the absolute perfect blending base for my pasty pale skin, and the Superstar Serum seems to have at least as much staying power as my much more expensive Illamasqua Liner Gel.

Adoration over Nyx Primer
Rendezvous over Nyx Primer
Seriously though, how bloody gorgeous is Rendezvous? The amount of colours visible in just a quick swatch on my arm is fantastic, and as you can see from the shots the range of colours means it's a perfect product for a one-colour eye. I'll definitely be going back for more of this.

I'll admit, I wasn't blown away by Lefty Loo Who, just because I have no idea when I'm going to wear a cartoon grass green eyeshadow. But I gave it a shot anyway, and I think it turned out okay, especially since it comes out a lot less saturated on the eye than in does in swatches. This is justLefty Loo Who all over the lid, with a bit of Tin Man in the corner to brighten it up a bit.
Lefty Loo Who over Nyx Primer

Next, the minis - or rather "petites" as Darling Girl likes to call them. These are, from left to right, Sphinx, The Swirl, Tin Man, and Melancholia.

Sphinx over Nyx Primer
The Swirl over Nyx Primer
Sphinx and The Swirl are honestly not that mindblowing, but they are good solid basic colours that would be perfect for someone building an indie collection. Sphinx in particular is dark, but not CRAZY dark in the way a lot of indie browns are, which makes it much more forgiving of inexpert application.

Tin Man over Nyx Primer

Tin Man was the only shadow in the whole lot I was actually disappointed in. It's sold on the site as a "champagne" silver, but to my eyes the green shift really jumps out. Perhaps I need to try this one under a few more lighting conditions. On the upside, it is FEROCIOUSLY sparkly. Like, seriously, one of the most glittery eyeshadows I own that isn't actually cosmetic glitter.

Melancholia over Nyx Primer

Melancholia on the other hand, is an absolute DELIGHT. It's just as pretty as I thought it would be, if not more so. I spent minutes just staring at the stuff in the damn jar, it's THAT pretty. Unfortunately, it was a gift with purchase for the month I ordered, so if you want some of your own you'll probably have to skulk around somewhere like Indie Makeup And More and see if someone is willing to part with theirs.

So what do you think? Will you be hitting up Darling Girl yourself?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Powder Perfect Christmas Collection 2014

I know, I know, a Christmas collection already! But Jacinta who runs Powder Perfect is so Christmas Crazy I'm frankly surprised she waited this long to release her collection. As with last year's hugely popular Christmas release, this year's collection is once again inspired by the Home Alone movies.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Enthusiasts - Wear your passion and pay it forward

I've refrained from using this blog to shill my crafty creations, but this new collection is just too good to not share in every possible medium I can!

A lot of my crafting designs lately have been...well, a little negative. I got angry, and sarcastic, and while I don't regret those designs, it was definitely time for something new. Introducing, all new from Femmecraft...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beauty Bohemia - Indie Goodness Emporium

Being a lover of indie cosmetics who happens to live in Australia can really suck. We have our own local superstars, the most well known being Femme Fatale Cosmetics. But there are SO MANY brands based in the US that we just can't access without paying a huge chunk of money on postage for every order.

But now there's a new player in town, who aims to bring all the shiny, geeky, cult goodies to us here in the antipodes. It's Beauty Bohemia to the rescue!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Blogger Confessions

I recently started trawling the interwebs for bloggers who write about nerdy fashion, in order to get some ideas on how to promote my jewellery. Among a veritable treasure trove of awesome people, I came across The Nerdy Girlie, a very fun US blogger. She started a fun little game where she encouraged bloggers to make a confession post, and I figured I might as well join in. To be honest, there's not a lot I hold back from you guys, but I managed to come up with a few things that might count as Blogger Confessions of note.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Glamour Doll Eyes - Indie Shadow Review

Over the last couple of months, I've been spending a lot of my downtime trawling a little Reddit community called Indie Makeup And More, because apparently I didn't have enough places to throw my limited cash at. Reddit as a whole has a pretty bad name for being...well, all around icky, but my experience with IMAM has so far been very educational. I've discovered more indie cosmetics makers than I ever dreamed existed, and I was lucky enough to be asked to review some products from a new-to-me company, Glamour Doll Eyes.

I'm such a sucker for a good pun
Glamour Doll Eyes are based in the US, and like so many other indie cosmetic brands are a one-woman show. They're very active in the beauty blogger community, and even have a whole sponsorship program in place! I love this kind of community building on the part of indie companies - it's such a great way to promote themselves without just spamming everyone endlessly.
Having such a great impression of the company off the bat, I was pretty impatient for my goodies to get here! Considering the perilous trevails of international shipping, the turnaround time was great, and everything was beautifully presented in perfect condition.

All my pretties in a neat little row!
I'm trying to do this thing with my eyeshadows at the moment where I at least ATTEMPT to balance out the brilliant purples and inky blacks with something resembling neutrals, so I requested a couple of shades I wouldn't normally have gravitated towards, as well as my favourite blue palette. Glamour Doll Eyes sent me (from left to right) RoxxCandy, Dusk, Celestial Crow, Heedless Heart, Undercover, and Brown Eyed Girl. Now, I'm not nearly as skilled as the bloggers Glamour Doll Eyes usually have to show off their products, but I put a few looks together anyway to show you what they look like in the hands of an enthusiastic amateur.

This is Heedless Heart all over the lid, with a touch of Brown Eyed Girl in the crease just to darken it up a bit. I honestly didn't think I'd like Heedless Heart that much, given that it looks rather pink in the jar. It's still pretty pink on the lid, but there is a delightful gold shimmer to it that really tones down the girlishness and makes it look rather sophisticated.

Swatch of Heedless Heart over Femme Fatale Shadow Magic
I also noticed that unlike a lot of lighter shadows I didn't need to put a pale base under Heedless Heart to get a nice, bright colour. It reminds me a lot of Hot Cross Bunnies from Hello Waffle, except slightly pinker and less gold.

This is an astonishingly worksafe look for me, but I actually kind of dig it. I used Undercover all over the lid, with Brown Eyed Girl in the corner and crease again. Undercover is a quite grey toned taupe, so I wasn't sure how it would look with my skin. But it also has a very slight golden sheen that helps warm it up a little bit, and while it doesn't suit me quite as much as Heedless Heart, it's still very easy to wear.

Undercover swatch over Femme Fatale Shadow Magic
Unlike Heedless Heart, I can't think of any other indie shadows I've seen that are quite the same as Undercover, so I'd definitely recommend this as a must have if you're trying to branch out from the Naked2 palette into something a bit more interesting.

Brown Eyed Girl swatch over Femme Fatale Shadow Magic
Brown Eyed Girl is a warm, sparkly mid brown, and it blends out really nicely. It has a slight pinkish sheen in it, that reminds me really strongly of chocolate milk. But there are at least five dupes I can think of for this colour off the top of my head - three of which I own. If you've been looking for a mid toned brown, and you're headed to Glamour Doll Eyes anyway, by all means pop it in the cart - but it's not really original enough to inspire a special trip.

RoxxCandy, however, as seen here with a little Dusk in the corners and crease, is ABSOLUTELY worth a special trip over to Glamour Doll Eyes. It's got all the sparkle and icy blue shimmer I was hoping for when I got Diamond Dust from Geek Chic Cosmetics, but with none of the irritating downsides. Diamond Dust was falling in my eyes in noticeable clumps within an hour of applying, even if I used a sticky base, but RoxxCandy on the other hand stayed put perfectly all day over just a normal primer. As with Heedless Heart, it also shows up nice and bright without the need for a white base.

RoxxCandy over Femme Fatale Shadow Magic

It barely even creased, and my eyeshadow usually creases as soon as I blink! It's probably too sparkly for ordinary everyday, but I don't even care, I've worn it three times to the office already. It's just too darn pretty to save for a rainy day!

Dusk is, like Brown Eyed Girl, fine but not exactly mindblowing. If you're getting RoxxCandy (and you should), it's a perfect match in terms of putting a look together. There's a veeeery slight shimmer to it, but it's more or less just a nice navy blue.

I did notice this colour goes on rather more sheer than I was expecting, given it looks extremely dark in the jar. For me, this was a little frustrating because I had to go back a couple of times to get the depth I wanted. However, if you're more colour shy than me, this could be a huge advantage for you - you can smoosh it on quite generously and not end up looking like you've been punched.

Celestial Crow however, is the exact opposite in terms of intensity. I was pretty excited by this one, given that I have a terrible weakness for teal and duochromes, but it just didn't live up to my first impression.

Celestial Crow swatched over Femme Fatale Shadow Magic
Initially I tried using it as a crease colour, but the results were honestly so awful I'd feel bad sharing them here - it went EVERYWHERE, and yet somehow ended up patchy at the same time. So I went back and did another look, using Celestial Crow mixed with water as an eyeliner instead.

This look is RoxxCandy all over the lid, a TINY bit of Celestial Crow in the crease, with eyeliner made from Celestial Crow mixed with sealant. You can see the green duochrome sparkle comes up pretty nicely when you apply it this way. When washing the mixture of shadow and sealant off the back of my hand though, I did notice it left a rather prominent green stain on the skin. Makeup remover and a couple of soap washings more or less got rid of it, and I didn't notice any major discolouration on my eyes at the end of the day, but something to keep in mind especially if your skin is prone to staining.

I'd heard a lot of good things about Glamour Doll Eyes, and I was really glad not to be disappointed. Heedless Heart, Brown Eyed Girl, and Undercover offer an excellent indie alternative to mainstream worksafe mainstays like Urban Decay's Naked palettes, and Roxx Candy is an absolute must have for anyone with blue eyes who wants to make them really jump out. Celestial Crow would probably look much better in more skilled hands, and I will probably pick up a full size of Dusk at some stage to go with all my lovely light blues.

You can get Glamour Doll Eyes from their site, and shipping to Australia is very reasonably priced and quick.