Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Swatches: Evil Shades

I placed my first order from Evil Shades when they were having 48 hours of free shipping. I got the sample set of all the glosses and lippies. I loved them so much that I placed a second order of eyeshadow samples shortly after the new Mythology collection came out. Then a few days after that order shipped I found out that the Nightmare polish was available, so I quickly bought that. AND I GOT ONE. MUAHAHAHA. (It was incredibly limited edtion and is all sold out now).

All swatched over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy (which I will need more of soon). Mythology collection shades are denoted with an asterisk.

Coffin: glowing burnished copper, liquidy and lovely

*Gryphon: deep chocolate brown with hints of violet glitter/shimmer. It's a lot more brown than it looks here.

Mordant: sort of a reverse of Gryphon, this is deep plummy purple with coppery glitter.

*Kharon: shimmery dark bluey-purple.

*Phoenix: I don't know why I didn't just get a full-size of this. Matte charcoal base with red and gold-orange glitter. It is AMAZING.

Double Barrel: shimmery silvery-grey (I think this is supposed to show other colours but just looks quite plain to me. Still lovely though!).

I also got a (free) sample of the new glitters, in Midnight Star, and it's glitteriffic alright! Silver, pink and blue.

I haven't actually gotten around to wearing any of these on my eyelids yet, but I have heard many great things about their longevity etc. 

And finally, Nightmare: a blue-violet holographic duochrome nail polish:

This was a bit more sheer than I was expecting, but it dries really fast, and it's so worth layering to get the max effect. This swatch was four coats. The holo aspect looked great in the million photos I took, but I wasn't able to capture the duochrome, so visit Evil Angel's blog and drool over her amazing nails. I'll also get some shots of it in the sunlight and put it up with the follow-up Evil Shades posts.

After Aromaleigh stopped shipping internationally, I was completely devastated because I had wanted a full-sized version of Serenade from the En Pointe collection, which is a soft denim blue with violet duochrome. I messed around with some unused samples and my TKB pigments and managed to successfully dupe it! Now I have the equivalent of a full-sized jar. It is actually pretty freaking similar to Nightmare, I can't wait to wear them together. 
Yeah, that's the same eyeshadow with different angles/lighting. Awesome, huh?

I placed another order from Evil Shades yesterday. I got the Halloween limited edition nail polish, some more Stars samples, and a sample of her new cuticle balm. Can't waaait for those to get here.

Coming up next in makeup: Swatches of the entire Evil Shades lipstick range, two Morgana LE swatches plus more pictures of Blueberry lipstick (I got a full-sized tube), and some High Voltage swatches.

Coming up next in not-makeup: 2 webcomic reviews/recs, a post about ebooks, a possible guest post from my wonderful boyfriend (I'm still negotiating with him, heh), and some photography.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


My head is a mess because of uni at the moment (assignments, ah! Study, ah!), so I thought a nice pic-heavy post of all the things I'm drooling over at the moment might be a bit of fun.

Underbust corset
Corsets are suprisingly comfortable, if you get a good quality one. Unfortuately a good quality one can cost anywhere from $200-450. Corsets-uk, where this simple beauty is from, is SO cheap! I can't yet speak to the quality of the corsets, since I don't yet own one from there, but they are hand-made. I'm in the works to pitch in with some friends for a corset or two. Combined shipping FTW!

I've heard so many good things about Scott Pilgrim, and they're pretty widely available now. Not that I need more comics to buy into!

I am deliriously happy to have found some unique, affordable, pretty goth shoes. These are on sale at my local smoking and subculture shop. There's about 3 other pairs I also like, but these are the most unique.

Castle is a witty crime-and-literature show starring the sublime Nathan Fillion. 'Nuff said!

I am trying to cut down on my cosmetics/make-up buying since I have actually run out of room to store it all! I don't have a huge collection like most beauty bloggers, but it's still bigger than average and I know I'm not using a lot of it. I did just buy some Evil Shades and High Voltage samples, and got two of Morgana's LE shadows (as well as a tube of Blueberry lipstick, yay!) so I'll do some haul/swatch posts when I can.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Poor Asimov, he should've used capital letters

Scifi and fantasty fans will probably be quite familiar with Asimov's famous quote: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation, if we are to be saved at all." For those of you who have followed Stargate SG-1, you'll probably remember when the awesome parody character Grell expanded on this, saying "Science fiction is an existential metaphor, which allows us to tell stories about the human condition."

I definitely agree with this statement, more so when it comes to books of both science fiction and fantasy (there is a BIG difference between the two genres, and I will probably do a post about that soon). TV shows and movies are arguably more constrained by expectations of profit, and the rigidly conventional gender standards of those 'in the industry' who perpetuate the notion that Sex Sells and More Explosions Make A Better Trailer.

Science fiction and fantasy both work off the premise of creating a different world, with different rules, customs, cultures and laws. So why do the fundamental aspects of those cultures so closely reflect our own, when it comes to gender roles and expectations?

The reason I ask this, is that 'the impossible' is the core of the plot, the story and the civilisation of these books. You have people who can fly (Sarah Douglass), people who can live for thousands of years (David Eddings), sentient robots (Isaac Asimov), animals who talk and plot and come up with political slogans (George Orwell). So, when creating these fabulous and imaginitive worlds, why do we have the same damaging social tropes that plague our own society here on earth? Why, if people are shooting lasers, putting chips into their brains and casting spells to speak all languages, do Boys Not Cry and Women Belong In the Kitchen?

I have seen inspiring examples of authors who choose to step outside the gender bounds and let their characters be characters, who turn society as we know it on its head in new and fascinating ways. I have seen examples of authors who create a new and beautiful society... and then have all the men go off to war, without even giving a thought to the fact that they are not writing about humans, they may have given medieval technology to their races, but that doesn't mean that they have to have medieval-level understanding and expectations of gender, either.

An example of the former (an author who rearranged gender priorities) which is a personal favourite of mine, and thus not necessarily THE best example, would be David Eddings, in his series The Belgariad. In these books (and the follow-up series The Mallorean, and the prequels Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polgara the Sorceress), not only does Eddings create a matriarchal society (which is ironically destroyed by another society's desire for gold), but he has the women in his story actively push and mutate gender boundaries at will. One of the most powerful sorcerers in the series is a woman. During rough political times, the queens and other female characters step up and firmly tell the male ones that they will be part of the decision-making process even if it makes the men choke on their beer. Here, instead of forcing a wildly different society down our throats, Eddings uses the characters to point out the fallacies in our unbalanced thinking.

An example of the latter - an author who wrote a wonderful world, with a good plot, and then without explanation very blatantly reverted to traditional earthy gender roles: Christian Tamblyn, in his first novel, The Dragon of the Second Moon. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As a first published work, it is of a fantastic standard. And yet, we have men turning away their faces because crying isn't manly. We have it pointed out that only one woman is going to war. Yes, there is a queen in the series, but she really doesn't do a lot. One of the main female characters is so busy being the Understanding Love Interest that she doesn't have time to do anything else (except get pregnant. Not that I am saying motherhood isn't a worthwhile pursuit. If my mother hadn't decided to have children I wouldn't be here).

I get that gender expectations are so ingrained into some people, that they don't think to question it. I sometimes feel that I am hyper-aware of the inequalities, because they bother me so much and other people just seem to unquestioningly accept it, even when it's damaging them. It also bothers me that people fall back on "oh, it's just biology", when science is, at its core, theoretical. It is also a huge possibility that our belief in the 'scientific fact' of something which causes behaviour may lead us to socially and psychologically reinforce behaviours which aren't biologically pre-determined. If that sentance was confusing to you, let me give an example:
1) We are told that, scientifically, men are less capable of verbally expressing their emotions, because of thinner connections between their logical and emotional halves/parts of the brain (very basic explanation).
2) The media, our family and friends all tell us that "guys can't express their emotions well".
3) Men and boys are raised without being encouraged to express their emotions verbally because "it's not what guys do".
4) Consequently, men are raised with a much more shallow understanding of how to explain their feelings. This may, in fact, be mostly biology, but it's reinforced by societal expectations, and practise. Thus a scientific belief, which may in fact be false, or at least much less significant than we think, is compounded by outside factors.
5) This seemingly widespread epidemic of men who just don't know how to explain why, or even that they are upset, reinforces the scientific myth.

That is just one very general, un-researched example of what I call a 'gender myth' - or a possible one, anyway. There are research papers, academics, scientistic and intellectuals who have done far more research and used far bigger words than I, and I will not attempt to compete with them. My point is that science fiction and fantasy authors bend the laws of science, physics and reality. They do this extremely well, and we enjoy reading it, for escapism, if nothing else. Why do so many authors fall into the trap of perpetuating society's flaws, if they're writing so far outside the world that we know, anyway? I have only seen/read a handful of examples that play with or openly defy gender and sexual expectations. Some of them do this, sadly, to the eventual detriment of the series, especially in the case of TV series. I have read one book series which attempted to create a martiarchal society, which had some of the same issues of abuse of power for personal gain. The series ended up being not only confusing, because of a really unclear chronology which eventuated in plot holes, but I was unable to even concentrate on this (until my boyfriend pointed it out) because of the horriffic amount of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that went on in the society. Women used their political power to sexually abuse men, who in turn took their frustrations out on women and even children of lower class. What I hoped would be a brave, thought-provoking look at a society where the power was in the hands of the women, and an attempt to portray how power was changed by a more feminine-driven value system, ended up being a confusing story filled with rather graphic sexual exploitation of children!

The only TV series and movies I have seen which toys with gender roles in a perceptible way would have to be the works of Joss Whedon. I will make a quick breakdown of them, and apologise if it's confusing to those of you unfamiliar with these series:
1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave immense physical power to the female lead character (Buffy). The two main male characters were put in nurturing, emotionally supporting roles. One of the main male characters, Xander, accomplishes great things, turning the plot in big ways, through his emotional contribution to the lives of the other characters. His physical prowess is negligible, and his personality is not domineering in a 'traditional' masculine sense at all, but he is still a valuable and complex character whose humanity is prized by other characters. It is his ability to engage with his emotions that actually brings back Willow from the brink of destroying the world with her immensely powerful magic abilities, which she abused in a state of raw grief (that was a beautiful episode, by the way).

2) Firefly showcased two female characters in usually masculine pursuits - one career army, a strong and sometimes cold fighter, the other a talented and hard-working engineer. Zoe, the ex-military woman, was married to a joking, and laid-back pilot. He was comfortable with her 'commanding' personality, and did not object to her protecting him and the rest of the crew physically because that was where her skills were, and his frankly weren't. (A running joke in the series is that his contribution to the war was to do shadow puppets). The engineer, Kaylee, spends a good deal of time romantically pursuing a young doctor, who has given up both career and fortune to rescue his talented sister from a sadistic government program - a clearly nurturing and emotional response he doggedly pursues throughout the series. Simon and Wash were two characters who were very family-focused, which anchored them and made them much more rounded characters than the hard-nosed, wandering Mal and Jayne.

3) Dollhouse's contributions to this trend were sadly overshadowed by the complicated and very 'grey area' sexual politics it explored. In brief, it features women posessing political and physical power (Adelle), in addition to men actually having romantic emotions, being (for the most part) asexual (Topher; until the end of season 2), and putting personal power aside for matters of social and legal justice. An awful lot of male characters are made into villains for choosing to do 'anything' to gain personal or political power; this series balanced that out by having three male characters (Topher, Paul and Boyd)) jeapordise their own prospects because they saw a wrong and did all they could to correct it. Meanwhile, one of the female leads (Adelle) is  betraying everyone at every turn to keep her position as CEO!

Science fiction and fantasy have the option of creating their worlds from scratch. The sky is no longer the limit. Yet, no matter what technology authors invent, no matter how amazing and innovative special effects makeup and CG are at creating new aliens... we seem stuck in this rut of perpetuating the narrow gender expectations of the so-called liberated, equal-opportunity Western world. It baffles and saddens me. I want more male empaths, I want more female warriors (who can be sexual without being a Xena-esque manifestation of male heterosexual fantasy), I want more societies that break these nonsensical gender boundaries that we have to deal with every single day. I want more fantastic in my fantasy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Dynamite Entertainment

Hi. I wrote a review about your Vala comics a while back. Then after your Daniel Jackson series came out, I sent you an email about the cover art. I wanted to know how you'd managed to find the SINGLE most talented cover artist, talented in that he managed to make Michael Shanks:

Look like this:
I was fascinated, in the way that you can't tear your eyes away from roadkill because it's so horrendous. I asked if you could please, please find someone who knew how gorgeous the man was and actually, well, draw him rather than... that.

Today I went to my local comic book store. I saw #2 of the Daniel Jackson series and grabbed it. I didn't actually look at it until I got home (the new Dr. Horrible anthology took preference).


I must congratulate him. Daniel Jackson does not look like an unfortunatley butch woman on this cover. However instead of the blue-eyed, dark-haired geek with a gun that Stargate fans came to know and love over the 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1:

He is now, apparently, blond, and with a rectangular head:

So... I'm not sure I can continue buying these issues. At least without tearing the covers off and burning them.


Friday, September 10, 2010


On my quest for indie prettiness, and supporting local artists, I discovered Madeit. It basically amounts to an Australian version of Etsy, which I think is fantastic. Obviously, it's a bit smaller than Etsy, being exclusively Aussie. I do recognise a few sellers from there, mainly being Rhasalda who's bath stuff I've been umming and ahhing over for a while, especially her Barista soap (that's the Madeit link, here's an Etsy one). There is just as much skill, passion and creativity to be seen on Madeit. There's loads of stuff want, and loads of sellers I admire on Etsy, but I'm definitely interested in purchasing from Madeit. It's faster, the prices are a bit better, and I love the idea of supporting Australian artisans and creators. When I finally actually purchase something from there, I will be making an in-detail comparison of the two websites, and reviewing whatever product I get. I think it's a great and little-known resource, both for artists and artisans, and for those who like to shop indie.

On a related note, Etsy have started showing prices in Australian dollars! Woo! It's based on, as far as I can tell, the same tech that eBay uses, meaning it's loosely based on as much of the current exchange rate data as they can grab online while you browse. It's not always 100% accurate, but it's damn handy.

What I am most interested in - besides the Aussie exclusivity, which means faster and cheaper shipping for me - is the standard and enforcing of the 'handmade-only' clause. I have seen and heard a lot on Etsy about the seeming laxity of their standards. This means that it's really easy for make-up repackers, poor quality (to the point of being unusable) items, and things that are obviously not handmade or vintage. I'm hoping Madeit might be better.

On an unrelated note... I emailed off my first submissions to a magazine last night!!! Very exciting :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Social Media Musings

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and to a lesser extent, Tumblr, Flickr, and blogging platform sites (blogger, wordpress): what do they all have in common? They fall under the category of social media. They condense our social world, bringing us together globally like never before. Are you as tired of hearing terms like "global village", "global economy" and "OMG the internet totally brings us together lol" as I am? Yet, it's still a subject that bears some examining, because it has changed us, both on a global and individual level. It's had a huge impact on the way we relate to each other. Sites like Facebook and MySpace have a different dynamic to the rest because they ask for real information - they (supposedly) reflect and enhance our real life 'connections', though more and more, through gaming, pages and groups, they are connecting people who would not have met off-line, who now connect through text and trawl each others photos even though they have never, and probably will never meet face-to-face. Forums, blogging, Tumblr and to a lesser extent Twitter, are more anonymous - they provide a platform for virtual relationships to blossom, where people know each other by nicknames and handles and may not, for months, or ever exchange photos and 'real' information, though they consider themselves friends.

The dynamic of these virtual relations are a little odd, if you think about it. The way we relate to each other online is markedly different to our 'physical-world' way, but we don't really think of it in those terms, do we?

Let me attempt to break it down, to compare it step-by-step, so to speak:
1. Two people meet, say on a forum. They would probably post in many of the same threads, directing comments at and referring to each other. They might read each other's post history to try and get a better sense of one another.
2. A private message may be sent, asking a question or proferring a comment, funny link or piece of information.
3. The two may arrange to meet online somewhere that they can chat in 'realtime'. This may be an independant chatroom, an email-based host such as MSN.
4. Cross-connection would begin; they would refer each other to the other social media sites that they use.
5. Facebook identities would be the final point of the connection - giving each other access to real names, photographs, and real-life friends.

1. The two people meet, say at a party. They will likely be introduced by a mutual friend. They talk, exchange stories, and by the end of the night will likely exchange phone numbers or email.
2. A mix of private and group interactions will now take place. The two new acquaintances will text and/or email each other, and probably go out with the mutual friend. They will begin to get to know each other independant of the mutual friend.
3. They will connect on Facebook, looking at photos, social history, likes and dislikes.
4. Now this relationship can go one of two ways: either the relationship will develop online, offline, a mix of the two, or it will not develop at all, and they will remain at the acquaintance stage.

Mentally and emotionally, humans are capable of maintaining only 150 relationships offline. Some sociologists are claiming that Facebook, whilst it does not help us expand that number, helps maintain 'weak ties' we would not ordinarily be able to have head-space for. I like to call this, very un-scientifically, the "Huh! I remember that person!" factor. People you knew in school but weren't close to, people you used to work with, ex-next-door neighbors, that sort of thing. People you wouldn't object to keeping in contact with, but somehow, you never quite made the effort to connect with them. These are your 'periphary' relationships. These are the people that are friends with us on Facebook, but there's no wall-to-wall talking. Maybe just a quiz invite or two.

Our circle of real, close friends is often very small. These are the people we will cry in front of, the people we may fight with, the people we want to tell important news to first, the people to whom we say, "Stop working so hard, I never see you any more!" and actually mean it. If I'm going to be brutally honest, I probably only have three of these sorts of friends, and one of these is my boyfriend, so he's in a category of his own. These people may actually not Facebook/Twitter with us very often - because they're so often with you, or you already called them and told them things that it would just be overkill to talk about it online!

Then there are the people that, for reasons of time, distance and scheduling, have the potential to become one of the really close friends. These are the people we really like spending time with, and have lots of thing sin common with, but aren't totally comfortable telling them all of the intimate details of our life yet. They may eventually become part of our 'inner circle', but for now multiple coffee dates and lunches giggling over TV series are the go. These people are probably very present in our online lives, where you chat and arrange meetings through tweets and messages.

Online friends, people who you meet through games, forums, blogs etc. may never hear your voice, due to the security risks and costs inherent with talking to a stranger on the phone. However, Skype, saviour of many long-distance relationships, is changing this. Some friends may be content with text-only relationships conducted through every social media available, but those who aren't may now talk aloud with new-found cross-Atlantic pals. These people, naturally, will be very present in your 'online' life and activities, because it is their primary form of contact with you.

As a media student with a very basic, amateur interest in sociology, I find the subject of technological impact on human relationships quite fascinating. It's also especially helpful in diffusing the grumbling surrounding how 'wired in' Gen X and Y are ;)

So... yeah. This post started off all nice and decisive and degenerated into me rambling and providing bad examples. SORRY!

LINKS  (stuff I read that gave me ideas)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blog Brag #3

Next on the brag-list is my internet pal Eudoxia. Like me, she has decided to let her blog roam free, covering many different topics, not being costrained by one label. Unlike me, her blogging style is thoughful, coherent, intellectual, and she's come up with a name for her bit-of-everything style: thoughtful eclecticism. How awesome is that?

She posts, very reliably, four days a week. I think that's very sensible. My favourite weekly topic of hers is definitely the Tea of the Week posts. As much as I rely on coffee to get me through the day, there's nothing like a cup of tea to help you wind down. Herbal teas are fantastic for a bunch of things, even if some of them don't taste the nicest (I love green tea with jasmine, but for some reason I can't stand peppermint).

If you like recipe-sharing, don't mind a bit of politics, and enjoy healthy discussion with a cup of tea, head on over her way to give your brain a bit of a poke.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sympathetic deja vu

DISCLAIMER: this is a very personal post. It is not meant to be construed as advice, I have not scrambled to be politically correct, I am not saying that this is what "should" be done. This is an account of my own experience, my own thoughts on the subject, and I ask that you respect that.

*             *                *

At uni this semester, I am doing a course called 'world writing today'. We were asked to read a play called 4.48 Psychosis, by Sarah Kane. The format of the script was not traditional. I had no idea how it would translate to stage at all, and as such ended up reading it like a poem. It was so hard for me to read. Not just because it was odd, dark and violent... but because those qualities reminded me of the poems I used to write when I was suffering from depression.

I'm saying this right now: I am not comparing myself to Kane's literary or dramatic merit. Ok? The reason that I so much identified with her work is the emotion; her use of visual poetry format; her wordplay, rich in alliteration, repetition, and strongly physical imagery. When I read her words, I could feel them roiling in my stomach and twisting through my veins like the words I used to try and exorcise my own demons with. It's awful, but I miss that... burn, that rush when it felt like I was able, with pen or keyboard, to bleed a little of my own darkness into form. My quality of life, and my relationships, are immeasurably better. My anxiety levels are that of a normal person and I'm utterly grateful for it. Medication and therapy helped me to cope, helped me to enjoy life rather than feeling like I failed miserably at everything and shouldn't have been born. The feelings that I needed to explain are, for the most part, gone... But I still miss the relief and the exhilaration of being able to put them on the page. Does that make sense? I am a writer, and I have in essence, lost a part of myself. But it was the emotional equivalent of a gangrene limb: not having it makes me happier and much healthier.

I want to read more of Sarah Kane's work, but I don't know if it's a good idea. A few months ago, my desire to write poetry again drove me to stop taking my medication. I crumbled like a derelict house. My emotional equilibrium was gone. I became so despairing and at times hysterical. I cried nearly every day. Work was unbearable. I hated the way I behaved towards my family, my friends and my boyfriend. I went back on the medication. I never even wrote anything during that period. My brain was so freaked out by the resurgence of my chemical imbalance, I did not know how to cope with it at all. Any and all tolerance I had built up over
the years was gone.

Funnily enough, we discussed this connection between creativity and mental illness in class. It was my second tutorial (I missed a week when I was fluey) so I was totally uncomfortable and didn't mention my affinity with Kane's work, my conflicted reaction to it or my personal experience with the subject of our discussions.

The fact that I take antidepressants is not something that I really share with people. Depression has been such a 'popularised' condition that it's almost something not taken seriously any more. Yes, some doctors are more quick to prescribe antidepressants to people who are lethargic, going through a rough time or have other conditions. But for me, personally - I was significantly depressed and anxious from the age of twelve onwards. I did not seek professional help until I was seventeen. I utterly resisted the idea of medical or psychological help, even after that. When I finally went to the doctor, nineteen and desperate, it became clear within a month that my problem was a chemical imbalance. However, I had mental and emotional habits which lingered after the medication, so reluctantly accepted, had stablised my emotional state.

Thinking back, it's easy to see why I didn't really want help for so long. I wasn't ready to let go of the pain, which utterly defined me. I was scared of what I would be without it. I was afraid of losing myself, or at least a part of me, if and when the pain went away (not that I could imagine what that would feel like). We humans don't like change, even if we know that it's a change for the better. It's scary. To accept help with dealing with depression and anxiety is inviting a massive change into your life.

Sarah Kane's work, and her story, is just as wrenching as that of the better-known Sylvia Plath (I have not read the Bell Jar: same issue. I would love to read it but I am afraid it will be too triggering for me). Psychosis was actually completed, and delivered to her agent, two days before she killed herself. Some critics and academics have labelled the play her suicide note. While it is raw, shockingly emotive and confronting I think labelling it a suicide note takes away from the fact that it is art. It has all the qualities of a piece of art, but even the first page tells you that this is not just some fictive piece, an imagined world. With 4.48 Psychosis, Sarah Kane brought her world of chaos, pain and loss onto the page, so that it may be translated onto the stage. So that maybe someone would understand, and maybe... maybe then she wouldn't be so alone with her perception of the world. That's what I felt like when I wrote. Yet... after opening herself up to the world this way, she ended her life. I still don't know what to make of that.

Further reading about Sarah Kane here.
Downloadable and free copy of 4.48 Psychosis here, if anyone is interested in reading it.
My previous post about artists and suicide here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Not a proper review: flakie goodness

This is not a review, though it contains many review-like qualities.

I don't care what you've heard about Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure. Forget the hours you scoured forum boards, pharmacies or eBay pages in search of it. Feast your eyes on this!

Nubar released this piece of flakie goodness to celebrate 2010, as their "we've been creating nail polish for ten years, yo". It's just gorgeous. 'Big 3-free'* like all of Nubar's polishes, it's a clear gel-like base filled with flakes of glitter which shift from red to orange to green to yellow-gold. Toted in the blogosphere as the best Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure dupe, it looks most resplendant over black, (obviously) since you can see all the colours:

That's over China Glaze Liquid Leather, which has a weird but awesome consistency, sort of like a cross between a jelly and a creme. Sorry 'bout the sad one-broken-fingernail swatch, I'm just lazy like that! There are plenty of good reviews of this, so if you need more pics, just Google it. Or if you ask really nicely, I could be persuaded to do a full hand for you ;)

I put it over red (Mode's Racy, my absolute fave red polish, you can get away with a single coat of it if you're careful!) for work, which means on some angles it's very subtle, but the green and goldy-orange tones showed beautifully:
It pretty much takes one coat to get that layer of coverage - even and colourful, but not overwhelming. I have seen it swatched over purple, and I plan to try it. I also have plans to try it over green, over nude polish and maybe grey. From what I've seen/heard, putting on a bare nail is a good option if you're looking for something super subtle.

(Note: I have this over Natio Brandy now. I didn't like it at first but it's growing on me... it's very light and sparkly. I haven't taken a photo of it because A) my nails are really short right now and B) I could not get it to show up on-camera!)

The gorgeousness (and affordability) of this polish definitely dulls the sting of finding out that the only way for me to get Nfu Oh, the best and most colourful flakies in the nail polish world, would be to pay $30 a bottle - and that's not including postage! I've heard that Inglot's flakies are alright, but they are almost as impossible to find online as the Sally Hanson, and the only actual shop that stocks them around Perth is just a wee bit too far away for me to get to.

Surprisingly for a nail polish with 'bits' in it, this was really easy to remove - even easier than the glitter Mode polish I have. I thought I might have to go buy something with acetone in it to get my nails clean, but nope! It dries quite fast as well, which is always a plus in my book. I'm so impressed, I plan on buying more Nubar. It's pretty easy to find online, and they have a great big range of colours and finishes. I kind of wish they'd make some more flakies. I definitely want a purple one. And maybe a blue one.

*The 'big 3' of nail polishes are DBP (phthalate), formaldehyde, and toluene. These are pretty freaking toxic ingredients which were used in nail polish until some companies went, "Hmm, that's kind of not good... is there any way we can not use this stuff and still make good polish?" Now it's actually pretty easy to find 'big 3-free' polish, and most of it's good quality to boot.