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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Indie Feminism

Last Sunday, an amazing hashtag sprung up on Twitter, in the wake of the horrific killings in Santa Barbara (allegedly) committed by loud and proud misogynist Elliot Rogers. One brave woman (who's now predictably had to go into hiding) started an online conversation talking about how widespread male violence and harassment of women really is, using the hastag #YesAllWomen. Stories poured in, much faster than anyone could possibly read them all. @RahRah wrote a deeply moving piece that I think captures the sheer overwhelming volume of this outpouring, and naturally, I got good and involved.

At first it was thrilling to be a part of a conversation so huge, to know that there were so many other women out there with experiences just like mine. But then the trolls arrived, and it quickly turned from exciting to frustrating, to stressful, to distressing. By Friday I was just DONE. I couldn't handle one more man telling me how I should do feminism better, one more asshole calling Mr.Reluctant Femme names for defending feminism, one more cowardly deadshit telling my friends who've been assaulted that they deserved it. I usually put a great deal of effort into remaining reasonable when I talk about feminism. I don't actually think saying things like "Kill All Men" is all that helpful. But I was burned out, angry, hurt, and just DONE. I was really starting to feel like killing all men. So I made this, because it made me laugh and I needed a laugh.

In case you can't read it, the little label says "Male Tears"