Monday, August 30, 2010

The Hub Productions Presents: OMGSTARGATE

One day while browsing in one of my favorite comic book shops, I noticed a flyer with the indubitable Chris Judge on it. Enough to get anybody's attention. Whilst I'd never heard of the company involved, they were claiming that CHRISTOPHER JUDGE and CORIN NEMEC were coming to PERTH in AUGUST.

That also got my attention.

So on Sunday, armed with GPS (to not get lost) and DVDs (to maybe get signed) my boyfriend and I trundled down to The Hub's location to see the shiny people. If you have not been introduced to the Stargate franchise yet... well, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that you're not into scifi. It's a staple of the geek diet. It contains lasers, mythology, hot aliens, weird aliens, explosions, a bit of romance, a lot of humour, and it boasts the badge of "longest running sci-fi series" (the Star Trek franchise doesn't really count because each series was seperate). There's a reason it went on for 10 seasons and the spawned two spin-offs and a plethora of movies, people!

My camera being what it is (crappy and broken), and me still getting used to my new Blackberry, I did not manage to get any decent photos :( sorry dudes! If you're curious for a more informal blow-by-blow, I tweeted frantically during the actual event. Most of it went to the con feed which can be found at #sg1ozcon.

I was totally unfamiliar with the location that the con was being held at, so I had no idea what to expect when, thermos flask of coffee in hand, I threw myself into my boyfriend's car at 11am on Sunday morning. It was being held at a small conference center near Curtin Uni - small being the operative word. Where we were in row E, I found it hard to see the speakers onstage over the tops of people's heads. I felt really sorry for people sitting in the back, espeically the few kids that I saw around.

The event was nowhere near as militantly organised as Supanova was. We wandered around for a bit, before I finally found an event staff member to ask where we should pick up our tickets (we paid online and because we only bought them the weekend before, it wasn't enough time for them to be posted out). There was really not a lot of signage around the foyer - when I say 'not a lot', I actually mean 'there wasn't any'. We milled around and looked at all the merch while we waited for the official start time. They had some really great stuff - I so wished I had saved more money as there were signed shirts, signed FIREFLY photos and a really awesome photo from the 200th episode, of Vala, Daniel, Mitchell and Teal'c in the Wizard of Oz costumes, and signed by all four of them. I can't remember how much it went for exactly, but it would have definitely been around $200.

The staff are at the event were quite friendly, though disorganised. During the welcome speech, Corin Nemec came out to say hi. He said we had a great city which I giggled at because Perth is so small and boring! Because the photo sessions were estimated to take a while, they put on a Stargate episode - one of my faaavourites, Window of Opportunity.

We were told that, while we were discouraged from asking any 'inappropriate questions'during the Q&A sessions, "Chris Judge will answer anything." Boy, they weren't wrong! Literally the first thing Chris said was about farting. Anyway, I'm getting off-track!

Basically, the way the day went was:
1. Photo session with Corin Nemec ($40).
2. Duo photo session ($80).
3. Photo session with Chris Judge ($40).
4. Q&A with Corin.
5. Auctioning off a date with Corin. This was a half-hour, chaperoned drinks affair. All proceeds to the Starlight Foundation.
6. Short break for lunch.
7. Q&A with Chris (which ran 20 mins overtime, he is SUCH a character).
8. Auctioning off a date with Chris, which did NOT happen in Adelaide, hahaha!
9. Charity auction of signed photos and various props, again all proceeds to Starlight. 
10. Raffle draw.

During the photo sessions they played some fan-favourite Stargate SG-1 episodes, which I thought was a good idea, buuuut they still could have handled things a little better there. I mean... these tickets were $75, and we were sitting watching old episodes?! It could have at least been, I dunno, some interviews with Corin and Chris, some behind-the-scenes stuff, even some footage from the Adelaide con? 

Corin's Q&A was pretty good, he is very funny. I did get the feeling that not a lot of people knew much about his work outside of Stargate and Parker Lewis. I'll admit I'm one of them! So the questions were mostly Stargate-related. There was one about Supernatural, and a few generic sort of ones. 
Highlights of Corin's session, as briefly mentioned in my twitter feed:
*The most bizzare rumour Corin's ever heard about himself is that he loves laser tag. He's had it mentioned several times and he has no idea where it comes from, because he actually doesn't like laser tag!
*"Life is a mystery sandwich - and I'm hungry!"
*It was actually Corin's idea to bring a banana on the ship in "that" scene with Teal'c! Hahaha.
*Jonas was going to be on Atlantis :( hearing that made me a bit sad. How awesome would interactions between Jonas and McKay have been?!
*He wouldn't say no to a guest  spot on Sanctuary.
*"Which character on Stargate would you have liked to play, besides Jonas?" [immediate reply] "Teal'c! I'd be a skinny, white Teal'c."
*Corin likes to paint! I wanted to ask him if he'd ever had his paintings in an exhibition, or wanted to, but unfortunately I didn't get time.
Corin went for $316 - there was this fairly young teenage girl who kept increasing the bid by .50c increments once it passed $200, it was hilarious. Eventually the auctioneer and the other bidders just let her have him. It went for ages!

Chris Judge. Oh my. He is a dirty, dirty man! Fart jokes, penis references, joking about Bra'tac hooking up! I tweeted the most during his session, there were all these quotes and moments I wanted to capture.
*Chris actually changed his diet to be able to 'fart better'... and as such, one day of shooting they had to clear out the control room. For half an hour. The crew got in trouble from MGM because it delayed shooting!
*Chris re: his new show Rage of Angels, "I'm gonna be naked all the time!" [I do not know how accurate that link is, but if it is accurate, I am beyond excited because Michael, Jay and and Alexis are three of my favourite Stargate men. Ok, well, they're all my favourite, but this looks like such a cool concept!]
*Discussion on the evolution of Teal'c speaking voice.
*Imitation of Amanda Tapping. Hilarious. Example of how he would drag out two lines so he had more to do ("The birds..." "What birds?" "Exactly. There are no sounds whatsoever"). Witnessing the change back and forth from Teal'c to Chris Judge was absolutely amazing.
*Chris, um, likes codpieces. 'Nuff said!
*A fan asks a question from his brother. Chris sees that he has a page of questions with him. Chris brings the fan onstage and  starts to read out and answer the questions. Chris sees that the fan has been taking notes (presumably for his brother) and starts to read them out. Chris is laughing and compliments the boy on his note-taking, "You better be doing well in school!"
*Chris tells us a story about being surrounded by reporters, all asking him generic 'actor's questions', and then suddenly a female reporter asked him what the size of his... [audience erupts into laughter]. "Kids, my shoe size." Fan's note about this story? "Reporter asks him the size of his dot dot dot!"
*The Jaffa armour could only be washed once a year. EWWW!
*Someone's phone rang. Chris answered it and wished the guy on the other end good luck on his test!
*On voice-acting: "It's great because you don't have to shower, or shave, and you can just be fat... and your voice still sounds exactly the same!"

Chris did talk for about five minutes about the utter lack of roles for black men in Hollywood, hence his reaction: "I decided to write my own", hence Rage of Angels [some much more accurate and recent info there]. Chris said that he was quite offended to hear that 2010 was apparently 'the most diverse' year for movies and TV pilots. Chris said out of 200 pilot episodes he'd read, only 4 had significant roles for black men. He said any scripts he sees have "already gone by Denzel, and Will, Samuel L. and Larry Fishburne, and have been scrapped but my agent thinks he should send me the script anyway!"

There was lots more, but you had to be there, and some of it was really quite dirty!

Chris Judge had apparently decided he was feeling left out and wanted to be auctioned off too. About $350 into the auction, he took his shirt off. He actually ran down our row and did a G-rated lapdance for the lady who had just bid - so I can tell you that not only was I about 5 metres from a shirtless Chris Judge, but he has a pierced navel! Chris went for $500. Lucky, lucky woman. My boyfriend had actually told me he was going to bid, but our collective limit was about $300 since he paid for tickets and I'd bought him a good-quality leather wallet (it was our four year anniversary on Wednesday). We were sad.

The merch auction was pretty fierce, with costume pieces, signed scripts and awesome signed photos. We didn't stay for the raffle as we hadn't bought a ticket and it was 5pm. 

Chris and Corin totally made the con. Compared to Supanova... well, honestly I was a little bit disappointed with this con. At Supanova, you didn't have to pay loads to come away with a great experience. The Hub Productions chose a really bad location with negligible facilities (all we had for refreshments were two vending machines and a coffee van). I did pay the $40 for a photo with Chris. A signed photo with both actors would have cost me $160, and I wasn't really keen on paying that. Supanova was much, much better organised, had a way better location, and had much more to it. This con was more of an "I have lots of money to throw around" sort of thing, as I noted to my boyfriend in the car. 

I did have a good time at the con, but unless they get really great stars back (and I have a lot of time to save up for it), I'd rather wait for Supanova next year, and if there's a good line-up, (*coughFeliciaDaycough*) get VIP tickets, than attend another Hub Production event.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sparkles in the air (giveaway alert!)

Hello boys and girls!

There are a LOT of give-aways going on in some great make-up blogs. I thought I'd whack 'em in a post for those of you who may not know the blogs in question, but are interested in expanding/starting your collection, or maybe want to score a gift for a special someone in your life!

Grey's Get Naked giveaway (featuring Urban Decay's Naked palette)
Phyrra's Aromaleigh giveaway
Painted Princess's epic giveaway
Blix's huge sparkly giveaway! This will have FIVE winners!

Shuffle along and enter, there's some great prizes to be won. Also those are some really awesome bloggers.

I went to a Stargate convention today (!) so watch out for that post, coming up hopefully today or tomorrow. I do have lots of posts drafted, but I have to knuckle down and do some assignments for uni this week, as well as doing an extra day of work. Fun, fun!

How are you all, what's going on with your lives?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nude nail polish

On my quest for the perfect nude polish to wear to work, I've come accross some downright duds. I'm looking for something opaque, and not too pink. Unfortunately, a lot of nudes are intended to be used for French manicures, so they're really sheer. A lot of the opaque ones are decidedly pink as they're meant for decidedly Caucasian skin. I have an olive skintone, and I'm not really a pink fan. I thought I'd shove all the the 'nail polish disappointments' into one post to save time. There's ONE good one at the end.

Culprit 1: Australis Nail Colour in Satine.
Now this is the same company (Creative Brands) that owns Mode, so I had high hopes for these. I even liked the squat, tubular bottles.
Streak-free? Check. High shine? Check. Intense colour? Ummm.

This is two coats, so... yeah, not really. Hi, nail line! It has great shine, nice consistency and pretty quick drying time - it's just waaaaay sheer. It'd make a great French, and I wouldn't be averse to trying out sone of their other colours if they have the same smooth formula and finish.

Culprit 2: Cutex Quick 'N Go in Ice Coffee Rush
This polish claims to have '1 stroke, 1 coat application', and to either apply or dry in 45 seconds. Not sure which. The wide, flat brush was remarkably good after I got used to it, and it did dry lightning fast. However, one coat:

Sheeeeer. And not a nice sheer like Satine, this made my nails look stained. So by the time I layered it up to three coats:

IT WENT ORANGE. Not orange the-colour-of-the-fruit, orange. It looked like I'd put fake tan on my nails. Maybe it's just my skin tone, but that did NOT look like the pretty peachy-beige in the bottle.Also, you can still see my nail line. If it wasn't so utterly off-putting, I'd have tried other colours, because the drying time was really amazing.

Culprit 3: Mode Cosmetics in Ooh Baby.
This is a pretty, pale pink which I thought would do for those days when I don't mind being a bit girly. However, I had the exact same problem with this polish as I had with all the others. You have to layer this a LOT to get anything but a sheer, streaky mess. They have a white creme, So Parisian, which has the same application issues. This is three coats, and even though I was really careful, there's still bald patches and visible nail line.

Culprit 4: Revitanail in Barely There.
This I did not buy, thank goodness. Revitanail is expensive. I snitched this off my mother because my nails were splitting and breaking all over the place and it was driving me crazy. Well, this thin, streaky polish drove me just as crazy.

This is THREE coats. I did actually wear this for a while, in an effort to strengthen my nails, but I put a coat of Satine over the top of it to even out the colour before I left the house.

Culprit 5: Orly in Cosmic Kiss
Not technically a nude, but I thought the rainbow glitter might soften the starkness of the white. Yeah, totally not needed. I was really disappointed by this polish, as I've heard a lot of great things about Orly. It was completely sheer, the glitter went on really sparsely, despite the amount present in the bottle, and the glitter really stuck out when it dried. Needed a topcoat, but I couldn't be bothered wasting topcoat on how ergh it was. This is three coats here. I consider three my absolute limit; if a nail polish requires more than three coats in order to look good, I pretty much won't use it.
It's also a giant pain in the butt to remove.

Pleasant surprise: Natio Cosmetics in Brandy
Now, I have walked past Natio stands in chemists and pharmacies many a time, bypassing them entirely. For that I now apologise. This Australian-made, Australian-based company pleasantly surprised me. Resigned to another sheer bit of blah-ness, this $9.95 polish was not only the colour that the bottle delivered (take notes, Cutex) but BECAME OPAQUE. First coat was slightly less sheer than all the others, though quite streaky. Second coat: ahhh!

This stuff dries amazingly fast, as well. This still didn't stop me denting my right thumb and smudging my right index finger. It's not the polish's fault, though, I found out that a little company called The Hub Productions are bringing Christopher Judge and Corin Nemec (or, Teal'c and Jonas from Stargate SG-1 as some of you might know them) to Perth in two weeks. This revelation led me to call my boyfriend and squeak "Teal'c! Jonas! Perth!" over the phone to him a few times til I calmed down and was able to use important words like "in two weeks", "we have to go" and "I'm so stoked right now, this is amazing, I can't believe I didn't hear about this earlier, oops I smudged my wet nail polish."

This post took so long to do, becauseI don't really like swatching nail polish. I'm far too impatient! I will definitely keep it to one polish per post from now on. And yes, I will be blogging about the convention.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blog Brag #2

I have been promising this lovely girl a shout-out for ages. Sorry it's taken so long!

5-Twenty is run by Rouline, a beautiful Indonesian girl who has been living in Australia for about 7 years. She has a great eye for fashion and is a real sweetie. You can find her on lookbook here. She is very new to blogging, but still turns out great posts. Between her and her photographer friend, reading her blog feels like flipping through a really awesome magazine. She does OOTDs, commentary on new high-street collections, and snapshots of food that make me drool (I cannot believe I still haven't been to that bakery yet! Argh!)

Go check her out, and yes, she IS that gorgeous in real life :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We're Not Tasmania!

Here is a very basic map of Australia:

Right the way over on the lonely left hand side of the country sits Perth, the capital of Western Australia, where I live.

The population of Perth is approximately 2.25 million. The population of Canberra, the capital city of Australia, has 352,200 inhabitants. Sydney, with a population of 4.50 million, is bigger than Melbourne at 3.9 million even though Melb tries to retain its title of Australian shopping capital. Sydney is 3,301 km from Perth.

Wellington, New Zealand is 2,229 km from Sydney, across the Tasman Sea. Bali, the cheapest and closest holiday destination for Australian tourists, is 4,623 km away.

Not quite NZ but not Bali, and yet somehow, when it comes to retail companies with multiple locations across Australia, Perth is treated like the black sheep of the family. Those kilometers open up a social and emotional chasm which results in Perth stores getting things late, last and in some cases not at all.

Perth's population and smaller tourist clientele equal much smaller sales potential than their eastern colleagues. To those who have lived and worked in the east all their life, these lower numbers are associated with lazy or unskilled staff rather than a geographically-induced difference in lifestyle. Head office staff (or 'corporate' as they're known in other circles) treat Perth - intentionally or not - as a mixed bag, a risk or even a necessary
evil! I understand that often it does not make financial sense to pour resources into a shop that isn't doing so well, but as I have so often lamented to co-workers: how are we supposed to sell stock we don't have, to customers who aren't there? In what way can we keep up to date and homogenise the store's look with display/merchandising props we don't have, for weeks after other stores get them? Short of running up and down the street attacking people with merchandise and fliers and screaming, "We're down there!" how do we get more people in our shops?

An annual visit, or over-the-phone conferences may make Sydney-siders feel as if they're doing their bit to help Perth stores feel more included in the retail family, but frankly, it isn't good enough. It won't give them a solid idea of what Perth stores deal with every day. Those in the food service industry, no matter where they are or what they're selling, will always have busy periods. Depending on your location, your target market, your product, and your advertising exposure, some stores only pick up around Christmas time! The Perth shopping spirit is a very lethargic and selective one. Those in power in head office need to understand and appreciate this, rather than blaming a lacklustre income on staff.

That being said, training should by no means be neglected just because a store is smaller and slower. If you want to uphold your standards, you need to give each and every employee the best preparation possible. And while you're at it, please stress customer service. Today, I bought a book which I'd had no intention of buying because the man in the counter was genuinely friendly, not only to me but to each and every customer who walked into the shop while I was there. Conversely, last week I swore off a certain retail outlet because I had been in there twice, and each time the staff did not smile or even make eye contact with me - when taking my money at the till! Training will either correct these bad habits, or hint which staff should have their hours cut down.

*gets off soap-box*

For the non-Aussies, there is a running joke that Tasmania isn't really a part of Australia, and the poor little islet is very often forgotten in political, social, economical... er, it's forgotten a lot. The title is meant to infer that, while Perth is far away and has a rather different culture to the rest of Australia, at least it's still not Tassie. Wink, wink.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm still alive!

Mostly... I have a pretty bad case of the flu. Thursday I started coughing a lot, Friday I woke up and felt like utter crap. Went to the doc's and got a certificate since I didn't go into uni. Saturday and Sunday were spent being utterly miserable, so much so that my dad (who was also sick) dragged me back to the doc's yesterday and we were both prescribed antibiotics. Yay! I got another doc's certificate for today since I didn't think I'd be in any condition to go into uni. I also missed two work shifts, which really, really sucks. But since I haven't left the house, and have had barely any concentration and energy, I haven't bought anything! Heh.

I do have some posts in the works, but unfortunately the blog may have to remain pushed to the side while I catch up on all the uni readings/study I have been neglecting (I tried doing some at the doc's on Friday... let's just say that I don't remember aaaaanything that I read now!)

This was a really, really sucky time for me to get sick. I'm supposed to be doing an in-class presentation on Thursday, I missed out on the first tutorial for one of my classes (which means I still haven't met my tutor), and work pretty much depends on me being available for my regular shifts, because none of the other girls are available for those days. There are two magazine submission deadlines coming up which I have scribbled down ideas for, but really desperately need to write so that I can make sure they're as polished and well-done as I can make them before I actually submit them. Oh, and I also made my boyfriend sick, even though I haven't seen him in four days. Go figure?!

I realise I haven't done any posts about comics, books, and basically non-makeup related things in a while. I just got my hands on a new Deadpool series which I definitely plan on writing about, because it's awesome. I still have the drafts of reviews of Chew, Changing Ways, some Blog Brags, and Lost Genius Part 2 lurking forlornly in the background. So hopefully when I get back to blogging, I will have some more variety for those of my readers who aren't into make-up. It's a significant part of my blog, because it's so much fun and I love supporting independant creators, but I never wanted my blog to become solely a beauty blog.

Four paragraphs! Wow, I must be feeling better today. Oh, one last thing before I forget: if there is a blog that you really like, which has under 100 followers on Google friend connect, tell me about it and I'll write a Blog Brag about it. Heck, if your blog fits that category, nominate yourself! I may have only 22 readers (which is stunning to me, by the way - hi new followers! Thank you very, very much for your interest in my humble ramblings, it means a lot) but in my eyes, that's 22 people who may not have otherwise found that blog. When you have a small followship, every new reader is exciting, and tells you that you're probably doing something right.

I'm going to go cough up my small intestine now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comparison: BYS & Sleek, pt 2

Part 1 is here.

So, in the interests of being fair and thorough, I went and bought one of the regualr BYS palettes even though the 'metallic' one was a giant disappointment. Here is the hopeful redemption.

On a side note, I am NOT going into Gloss ever again if I can help it. The girls that work there are really rude. The one who served me this morning? I smiled, attempted to make eye contact and just in essence be courteous. She did not smile at me or even make eye contact while she was ringing up the transaction. Sweetie, I don't care if you're having a shitty day, I work in retail. It's your JOB to engage with the customers, or they won't be coming back! I sure as hell ain't. That's happened to me before in that shop, with a different shop assistant. No thanks.

Anyway. This palette has 12 eyeshadows, compared to the 5 of the previous one. Obviously, this allows it to have more colour variety, though it still doesn't match up to what Sleek offers. Also the two on the left-hand side of the palette look pretty much the same (in indoor light, at night. I think they looked a bit more distinct in the shop.) It was $3.00, which is really odd, because it A) has more variety than the last palette, B) is bigger than the last palette, and C) I swear it was like $4.95 last time I was looking at it in the shop?!

Packaging: Sleek palettes look so much more professional. They feel so much sturdier.
You get 12 shadows in each palette, same as the BYS. You also get a mirror, and a little groove that could house a really thin brush, or the foam-tip applicators that I loathe and throw away.

BYS palettes have no mirror, they have a really flimsy-looking clear plastic top, and you get two foam tip applicators.

Alrighty, onto swatching! Here are some greens from the Safari palette, this time, compared to that of the BYS palette. Everything's swatched over Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer, with Sleek colours on the left and BYS colours on the right.

Greens (from Safari):

Dark blue (from Curious, vs. BYS):

I switched to Pixie Epoxy for the white comparison, because the BYS shadows were just so splotchy and sheer and eurgh, I wanted to make sure it wasn't just an incompatability with a certain type of primer. So, whites (found in most Sleek palettes):

Well now, that's better! Obviously it's an uneven comparison because the Sleek white is shimmery and the BYS one is matte, but the application and pigmentation was much nicer.

Peachy-orange colours from both, which actually look similarish in the pan, over Nyx Jumbo Pencil in Milk (TOP row) and over PE (bottom row):

So, the Sleek colour is a soft, golden orange, which is lovely but doesn't really stand out against my skin. The BYS colour, is, um... not something I'd pair with a Nyx Jumbo Pencil EVER again. Seriously, the camera made it actually show up and look kind of yellow. You could barely see it on my skin and it basically looked like rotten custard or something.

So in light of the favourable reaction to PE, I swatched just the greens and blues from the BYS palette again:

Yeah. Still chalky, streaky, sheer and blah. As you can see by the crumbling in the palette shots, it's not like I just swiped the brush once and declared these sheer. I tried to put lots of product on the brush! I patted, I tested different primers, hell, I even attempted to use the despised foam-tip applicators.

I had to mention this, because I think it's weird. The BYS palette smells. It's an 'ew, chemicals' sort of smell. Like playdough with too much sugar. It kind of grosses me out. Luckily, when I put my nose to the Sleek palette, all I can smell is the plastic of the actual palette - and that's putting my nose riiiiight up close to it. The shadows themselves don't smell. Yay!

*BYS is cheaper, but you are absolutely getting what you pay for.
*Sleek colours have more pigment, they are smoother, softer and more lasting.
*BYS's formula, though it has similar ingredients, is totally chalky, streaky and sheer. The colours do NOT translate from pan to skin, at all.
*Packaging is not high on my list of deciding factors, especially not when it comes to aesthetics - that being said, Sleek's looks better and seems far more durable and practical.
*BYS smells. Literally.

Tl;dr? If you have Sleek, don't bother with BYS. If you've been considering BYS, just spend a bit of extra money and get FAR better quality.

P.S: I have been buying local magazines left right and center, and have made a big table on my laptop of submission guidelines, dates and themes (nerd alert!) I hope to at least get some feedback from one of them. Fingers crossed to be published before the end of the year! I may do a summary post about them for my Aussie readers, because some of them are pretty awesome.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Brag #1

If you've ever chuckled, giggled, or shaken your head at the name of an eye shadow, nail polish, or heck even a paint sample, go check out Stupid Nail Polish Names. The madam who runs this blog has a wonderful biting wit which she uses to give a thorough dressing-down to ridiculous, borderline offensive and occasionally outright baffling nail polish names. Currently she's featuring Mode's Cool As, which I sent to her as a suggestion. She's even used the crappy photo I sent her, haha!

I'll be doing a few more Blog Brag posts, mostly of blogs I like that have a small readership Stupid Nail Polish Names doesn't really fall into that category, but she is such a wonderful read I decided to make an exception ;)

Feel free to send me any suggestions to be featured in Blog Brag! My own readership is very small, I know, but I'd like to think that a starting/obscure blog would be grateful for even one extra reader through a mention from someone. I know I still have a little squee every time I get a new commenter/follower!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Comparison: BYS & Sleek, pt 1

I was very naughty and purchased the Sleek Curious palette from eBay during my no-buy (c'mon, limited edition!) I'd been hearing such rave reviews about these shadows and was curious (pun totally not intended! Seriously, I groaned when I realised what I'd typed) to see what all the fuss was about. There are eleventy-million reviews and swatch posts of the Sleek palettes, so I decided there was no point doing one of my own, since I'd just be repeating everything. In a nutshell: everything you've heard about these palettes is true. Sturdy, slimline packaging, great mirror, superior pigmentation, mouth-watering blendability, fantastic variety.The day I got Curious in the mail, I was so impressed by it, that I ordered Safari. I'm seriously considering the Storm palette, since they're so cheap and I really don't have neutrals in my arsenal.

Embrassingly enough, the only pressed shadows I've used before are by a cheap and crappy little Australian 'drugstore' brand called BYS. Now, BYS do have some nicely pigmented eyeshadows, but whenever I used my palette it always smelled sickly sweet and chemical-y, so after a little while (and a lot of mineral eyeshadow purchasing) I threw it out. For the purposes of a comparison, I ducked into Gloss (a budget makeup/accessories shop) and bought this palette:

'Metallic eyeshadow'. What a misnomer. I put this on in a rush to go out to dinner. Applying it over TFSI, I was like, "Huh? These are looking distinctly... matte. And sheer. And ew. Crap, I wish I'd brought my make-up removing wipes!" On the left here is the blue from BYS Metallic palette, over Pixie Epoxy, with the dark blue from the Sleek Curious Palette on the right (also over PE):
A tiny hint of glitter. Visible because I was using a macro setting. In person, I had to put my eye right up to my hand to see it. If your eye is any more than 5cm away, it looks completely matte.

Both blues, one swipe over TFSI (I bought a mini tube off eBay, it's seriously cute and tiny):

Ok, here's the really annoying part. Here is the actual eyeshadow in the Curious palete:

The eyeshadow from the Metallic palette:

Looks matte, right? Here's an untouched shadow from the Metallic palette.

All shiny! Now, here's the same shadow, and I have run my brush over the left-hand side of the eyeshadow.

WTF. Apparently these 'metallic' shadows have a nice shiny coating on them, so that they look metallic.. until you go to use them. Here is a close-up of the blue shadow over TFSI:

So not only is it matte, it's also stupidly sheer and was really hard to work with. BLEH.

I bought this metallic palette because I remembered the other BYS shadows being fairly satiny and straightfoward, and I wanted something shimmery, since most of the Sleek shadows in my palettes are shimmery. Fail and a half. I am going to pick up one of the regular BYS palettes this week, since I remember the quality of those being far better. In fairness, this palette was $3.95, which is dirt cheap. Sleek palettes are £5, which equates to about $8.70 Australian. I bought mine off eBay so I paid a fair bit more than that!

The difference in texture and pigmentation of these shadows really surprised me, because the ingredients are actually kind of similar. Both contain Mica, Talc, Magnesium, Stearate, Ethylhexl, Palmitate, and Propylparaben. Both are made in China, haha. Sleek does contain Kaolin, which surprised me, since I usually associate that with shadows being dull and foiling/going over PE funny. It does somewhat explain the much-lauded smoothness of the shadows, though.

Part 2 will discuss packaging, since it's late and I'm a bit tired! Hopefully the regular BYS palette won't be quite as disappointing, I'm chucking this so-called 'metallic' one in the bin.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Steamy Steampunk (review)

Two alt-y clothing styles I adore, but haven't the time or funds to properly try, are Lolita and Steampunk. But indulging in one or the other doesn't have to break the bank, as I realised when I stumbled accross KandKartistry on Etsy. This daughter-and-mother-in-law shop (how often do you get to say that?!) do a mix of steampunk and more traditional jewellry designs. The pieces are beautiful, wearable and so affordable, especially compared to other steampunk pieces on and off Etsy!

I ordered a necklace and a bracelet, which K was kind enough to put into a custom listing for me, as one didn't have an Aussie shipping price on it and thus Etsy wouldn't let me check out with it.



These pieces are so well-made. I have worn silver for most of my life, but these brass/copper and resin gems are really gorgeous. I have my eye on a few other things from their store (not telling you what in case somebody goes and steals them!) I thought that these would be quite heavy, but they're actually really light and wearable. The gears in in the bracelet links are quite smooth and well-attached, so they don't catch on anything. I adore the little resin 'cups' filled with little watch pieces. KandKartistry do rings and earrings in a similar style. I want some.

K's response to my request for a custom listing was fast and friendly. The low prices in no way reflect the craftsmanship or the customer service - K isn't a full-time Etsy owner, so she isn't after a huge profit margin. I would definitely reccommend these ladies to anyone looking to add to, or start a steampunk collection. Move over comic books, I think I have a new obsession!