Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hi-Fi swatches, part 1

What seems like ages ago, I placed my first order with Hi-Fi Cosmetics. I haven't used them enough yet to give a full review, but I do have some swatches for you! The Hi-Fi shop is on Artfire (http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/hificosmetics), eyeshadows are $6 for a 5 gram jar.

First, for the jars:
Slime and Snails

Lost and Lonely

Between the Stars

Pale Jewel

All swatches done over Too Faced Shadow Insurance, in natural light unless otherwise noted.

Left: Slime and Snails, Right: Lost and Lonely
 Soo much glitter in these two shades!  It's hard to avoid fallout.

Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely

Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Slime and Snails, Lost and Lonely, Between the Stars, Pale Jewel (with flash)

Overall, I do like these shades. I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of Slime and Snails because glitter ends up EVERYWHERE. I think Lost and Lonely would make a great liner. I was expecting Pale Jewel to be more...pale, but I do really like the orangey shift.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musings Vol. 4

After a nice Thanksgiving holiday break, it's back to the usual insanity. I only have 2.5 weeks left of this semester- time certainly has flown. In approximately 6 months, I will be moving once again. It's bittersweet. I've loved my time in the lovely green pacific northwest, but the southwest is where I grew up. I'll be finishing my music degree this coming spring, then moving south to work on my degree in sign language interpreting.
I've been toying with the idea of having a blog sale, as I have quite a few products that have not, and most likely will not, be used by me. I really need to focus on consolidation right now, as driving a car full of mica approximately 1,500 miles doesn't make much sense. I've certainly acquired a lot of things (makeup and otherwise) since I moved here 4 years ago.  (Though I've spent summers and such back in the southwest.) And with the amount of stuff I have now, I have no idea how I would possibly transport it back other than renting a moving truck, which I don't want to do.
I really just need to get all this extra stuff out of my apartment, which means cheap sparklies for sale! I know I have a lot of Aromaleigh looking for good homes, since I went a bit overboard when they closed. I'll probably wait until after the holidays to put the sale up, unless people tell me they would like it sooner. Any thoughts?
Also, I am officially not allowed to purchase any more body wash, soap, lotion or perfume. Ever.
Or at least until I use up about half of my stash.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Swatches and Review: Too Faced Who's Your Poppy

In last week's Friday favorites, I briefly mentioned one of my favorite blushes, Too Faced Full Bloom Ultra Flush Blush in Who's Your Poppy. It's a warm peach with delicious golden shimmer, and can be found at the Too Faced website here for $19. Too Faced is my go-to brand when it comes to large companies. I love their products and their branding. I suggest you like their page on Facebook (here), as they frequently post great deals. Keep an eye out for their "Manic Monday" deals each week.

Back to the blush.

I love the packaging- it's cute, sturdy, and functional. It's great for travel (which I do a lot of), since it's not overly bulky and includes a mirror.
(All photos in natural light.)

Hello, mirror!

I like the formula of this blush, as the product can be used to create a subtle glow or built up for a punch of color.
All swatches in natural light, product applied dry to bare skin.

I enjoy how versatile this blush is, it can be quite demure or wonderfully bold, depending on application and what else is on your face. When I travel, this is the blush I bring with me. I'm confident it will work for just about any look. I usually apply it sheerly, giving myself a nice warm glow. I'm in love with the glowy look I get with Who's Your Poppy.

Overall Thoughts:
Fabulous blush! It applies smoothly with no noticeable fallout, and can be applied sheerly or built up. Versatile, travel-friendly, and beautiful. If you like warm peach and gold shimmer, I highly suggest you check this blush out.
Would I repurchase? In a heartbeat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Favorites, Vol. 4

This week, I'm doing my Friday Favorites a little differently. Instead of three of my favorite posts, I'll be sharing the three products I've been loving recently.

1. Too Faced Ultra Flush Powder Blush in Who's Your Poppy?
I love this blush. I'm always drawn to peachy blushes with gold shimmer and/or glitter. I also love NARS SuperOrgasm blush, but it has a bit too much glitter for everyday wear. Who's Your Poppy has such a beautiful golden sheen and creates a natural-looking flush.

2. Too Faced Smokey Eye Shadow Collection
On days that I just don't want to have to think about my eyeshadow, or just want a basic look, this palette is the first thing I reach for.

3. Hard Candy Glamoflauge in Light
This is my main under eye concealer these days. I think that the light shade might be a bit too light for me, but the medium is definitely too dark. I like that this product doesn't crease under my eyes.

What products are you reaching for the most these days?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Long is Too Long? A TAT Rant.

Turn around time is something that we all love to obsess over. It's easy to be impatient when you've indulged in something but then have to wait for it to arrive at your door. We all want instant gratification. Sometimes I like the fact that I have to wait a bit- I get excited when I purchase something I've lusted after, continue to be excited while waiting for it to arrive, and am even more excited when I finally get my paws on it. However, especially when ordering from a company for the first time, the turn around time can be daunting, frustrating, and leave you wondering, "was it really worth ordering? I hope the products are worth it if/when they arrive". I don't think I'm alone in this thinking, but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Where is all this coming from? I won't divulge the company name at this time, as I am waiting for response on my most recent message to them, but I'll give you the story.
I purchased a Heartsy voucher for an indie makeup/bath and body shop around the beginning of September. I don't purchase many Heartsy vouchers, but some of them are hard to resist- especially if it's for a company that I already love or have been wanting to try. I try to avoid getting too deal-crazy, especially when it comes to small businesses. I understand the strain something like a Heartsy/Groupon/LivingSocial deal can put on a small, independent company. I've experienced it first hand in my workplace, and it left us all saying, "Never again." I get it. It's hard when, all of a sudden, you have a huge surge of new customers, many of them not particularly patient or understanding. I can't even count how many customers yelled at me over the deal my workplace ran, and we were doing all we could to try to keep up. I've been there.
So I always feel a little dirty for purchasing a Heartsy voucher, and promise myself to never turn into the crazy "WHERE'S MY STUFF!!!" kind of customer.
At the same time, my patience and understanding starts to face after about a month and a half.
Like I mentioned above, I purchased my voucher around the beginning of September. I waited until the beginning of October to place my order, since I know that the initial few weeks after a voucher is made available tend to be the craziest. I wanted to give the company a chance to deal with some of the avalanche of orders made the days immediately following the voucher appearing on Heartsy. At the time of my order, the shop stated that their TAT was "at least 14 days".

First lesson learned: You probably shouldn't purchase if a shop only has a minimum TAT, and not a stated maximum. Technically, I suppose they could take 6 months to ship my order and it would still be within the stated TAT.

Here we are, approximately a month and a half later. As I'm typing this, I just got a response to the message I sent them this morning, asking about the status of my order. In theory, my order will be shipped today. However, I've gotten a bit skeptical, as the previous two times I contacted the company, I was told that my order would be shipped "tomorrow". There have been numerous tomorrows. I'm a cynic sometimes.

I've been arguing with myself about posting this, because I want to be understanding. Most indie companies don't have a way to sanely do a Heartsy deal. I'd probably strongly discourage any indie companies from taking part in Heartsy. One company I used a Heartsy voucher with, Brazen Cosmetics, blew me away with their customer service. I actually placed my order during the pre-Halloween rush, and it shipped within a day. My hat's off to Brazen for that one.

The company I've been waiting on for more than a month and a half, clearly is in over their heads with the Heartsy deal, and for that I am sorry. At the same time, I can't be responsible for what may have been a bad business decision. By no means is the customer "always right", but the customer isn't at fault for taking part in a sale. This isn't only an issue seen by indie companies- anybody remember the NYX sale that turned into an enormous mess several months ago?
To this indie company's credit, they have responded to my inquiries promptly and with great understanding of my potential impatience. I imagine they're doing just about all they can, but at the same time, I'm getting impatient.

What's the longest you've waited for something from an indie company to ship? Do you think it was worth it?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Musings Vol. 3

Happy Monday my lovely toucanets!
I feel like everybody around me right now (and myself as well) are feeling pretty sluggish these days. I have a feeling that it has to do with the weather and the end of the semester getting close. All the students I know are longing for a break. I haven't worn much any makeup since last Tuesday- but some sparkles are definitely what I need right now. Tomorrow I'm definitely going to make glitter a priority.
Speaking of sparkles, have you seen Aromaleigh's latest collection, "Starry Night"? When I first saw the shadow photos, I didn't think there was anything that I had to have. Then I saw the Aromaleigh swatches:
(from http://aromaleighv2.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/starry-night-our-newest-limited-edition-eyeshadow-collection/)

I'm pretty convinced that I need Bellatrix, Shaula, Altair, Izar, and Saiph. Especially Bellatrix and Altair.
Sample sets, individual samples, and full sizes can be purchased here: http://www.aromaleigh.com/newsniliedey.html
I'm pretty sure I see a sample order in my future...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Favorites, Vol. 3

Another week! Time certainly is flying these days. I had fun performing as a soloist in a concert Tuesday. It was fairly stressful, and I'm looking forward to unwinding tonight.

I love that gown.

Here are my Friday Favorites!
1. Another beautifully written post from Krystal, in which she shows us how beautiful she is naked. And by naked, I mean without makeup. Check it out here.
2. I love the look Luna did here!
3. Ethereal Beauty's post on makeup organization storage here reminded me that I really need to organize my stash. Most of it it literally thrown in baskets and train cases, one basket is for the things I use regularly. The rest is a nightmare to look through to find any specific products.

Happy Friday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes review

I've had my eye on Lots of Lashes for a while, so I was excited when an opportunity to review it came my way. Ever since I heard about Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara (which can be found here), I've been thinking about how great it would be to have a brush small enough to get to those pesky little lashes that always seem to get missed by my mascara wand. I really liked the looks of the Lots of Lashes from Maybelline, though, because of the tapered wand. I was skeptical of a mini mascara wand doing what I wanted it to with the bigger, fuller lashes, and it seemed silly to purchase a mascara that would only work on the itty-bitties. I figured the tapered wand would do the trick. Plus, it's cute! I've never found a mascara to be "cute" before, but this one is. Maybelline is calling the wand "heart shaped". It's not really heart-shaped, but it's a cute way of describing the tapered wand.

I received the mascara in "Very Black", though it also comes in "Blackest Black" and "Brown Black". I'm assuming that "Blackest Black" is supposed to be darker than "Very Black", but I'm not entirely sure. It's available at mass retailers for $6.40.

I expected the bristles/teeth to be a soft rubber, but in reality they are made of fairly stiff plastic. Not all  sides are created equal on this wand, and I'm not quite sure why. Probably to reach more lashes.

So if you hold it one way, it looks like this:
 Turn it a bit and BAM!

Interesting little brush they have here. But how well does it work?

Well, here are my naked lashes:

And this is with about three passes of Lots of Lashes:

Maybelline claims that this mascara will provide lots of volume, no clumps, and no mess.
I found the lengthening to be far more noticeable than the volumizing, and I did have a hard time keeping my lashes from sticking together. I don't think that it's noticeably clumpy unless you're looking at it extraordinarily closely. I managed to not smear extra mascara anywhere, so it was indeed mess-free. I was underwhelmed when I studied my lashes at extremely close range, but I like the overall effect. When viewed at a normal distance. My main gripe is that the end of the wand has no functional bristles. Let's take a look at it again.

I feel that the end bristles are just too sort to do anything- I feel like I'm just wiping the mascara off the end instead of combing it through my lashes. I'd like to see Maybelline come out with Lots of Lashes 2.0 with better bristles on the last quarter of the wand.

I plan to keep using this mascara, hopefully I'll get a better feel for how to use the tapered wand. Would I repurchase this product once I'm through this tube? Probably. It's a good mascara and I really like the concept behind it. I think that with a bit more careful application, I can avoid some of the sticking together lashes. If Maybelline released one with the improvement I mentioned above, I would absolutely try it out.

Side note: My roommate just tried her own tube of Lots of Lashes and loves it. She told me that she loves that it's bold without clumping.

*The product featured in this post was provided for consideration by PR through the BzzAgent program.  My commitment is to my readers and I will always give my honest opinion*

Stay tuned for my review of Maybelline's Baby Lips Lip Balm!

Monday Mail Call!

The day started out a bit rough- with me cursing the college online course registration (registering for my last semester!), but two boxes in the mail today made it all better. I've been a bit on edge since I have a big performance Tuesday (on the oboe), but I'm also excited to have a great performance opportunity. It's been a few years since I got to perform as a soloist with a large ensemble- I'm also happy to get to wear a beautiful gown! I even have some diva-worthy bling to go with it.

My Target beauty bag arrived, I wan't even sure my request got through, so I was excited to see that it did! It contains samples and some coupons, which I'll write a post about in the near future.

I also got a box of Maybelline goodies sent to me for consideration by PR through BzzAgent, I'll be reviewing the Great Lash Lots of Lashes Mascara and the Baby Lips Lip Balm. Stay tuned!

How's your Monday going?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday Favorites, Vol. 2

What a whirlwind week it's been!
Here are some of my favorite recent posts:
1. Lillian of Funny Face did some awesome upside-down looks here! Fun idea, beautifully executed by the lovely Lillian.
2. Beauty's Bad Habit wrote a fun post outlining the wierdness of us beauty bloggers here. I especially relate to numbers 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12. And pretty much all the other ones too. Great post, great read for beauty bloggers and non-bloggers alike.
3. Luna has swatches of the new Aromaleigh fall tapestry collection here! Some of those shades are certainly tempting, especially Celine.

Happy Friday!