Thursday, January 27, 2011

NOTD/FOTD: Flaming Pink Sugar

Because I work in a pretty upmarket shop, I have to get dressed up and made up every time I have a shift. Doing a full-face of makeup with a conventional lip and toned-down eyes gets boring for me. Even sneaking a pop of colour onto my lashline or lid gets old, when I can't use neons or reds.

On my 'days off' I like to play around with makeup, and that often means breaking 'rules' like:
Don't wear red lipstick without a flawless base!

I painted my nails with Nubar Pink Flame, a red-orange-pink duochrome. After three coats I still had a bit of VNL, so I decided to break out my Konad supplies again. I was floored when I successfully Konaded my left thumbnail.

Twenty minutes later, I'd managed a full (if messy and occasionally lopsided) manicure. Eyeliner, matching lips and some face powder was all I wanted to complete the look.

Eyeliner: Savvy by DB Luxury Eyeliner in Shimmery Slate.
Lips: Poppy from Savvy by DB with Fyrinnae's Lickable Lip Lustre patted/blended over the middle of the lips (so it matched the polish a bit better).
Powder: Sassy Minerals Finishing Veil in Medium.

More shots of my much neater left hand. I was thinking about trimming my nails today, so glad I didn't or the Konad designs wouldn't have all fit! I'm going to have to buy some more plates now, I'd nearly given up on the whole thing.

I made a new word: konadrenaline, when you're so excited that you've successfully Konaded.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lazy Down-Under Day

You know it's Australia day when you roll out of bed at 11am and eat Doritos for breakfast.

I hope all my fellow Aussies have a great day! Get to a body of water or an air con STAT, and give a wide berth to any pesky druken bogans.

Real blogging will resume shortly :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NOTD: Moonlight Hearts

This mani was an experiment, using two new polishes and some goooorgeous holographic heart sequins which I believe came with an Evil Shades order a while back. I've been meaning to use the sequins for ages, but could never quite decide on a colour to pair it with. In the middle of my white polish bonanza (a post on that later) I came up with this combo. It's not anywhere close to my usual manicure style, but after a month or so of treatments and some very careful, laborious shaping with my new glass file, I felt like I could pull off something a bit dramatic.

Three coats of a white creme from The Face Shop (boyfriend: "what's that colour called?" me: "these don't have names, they have codes." boyfriend: "that's boring. what's the code of that one?" me: "this is WH002." boyfriend: "woo two!")
One coat of Rokk96 Moonlight (I had intended to buy the white creme from Rokk as well, to compare, but this was the only whitish polish that they had out at Price Attack and it was SO PRETTY), which is an off-white with blue shimmer.
Blue holo heart sequin adhered with a generous blob of quick-dry topcoat, then brushed over with a thick coat of it. Edges still stick out a bit so I'll have to be mindful of them. I was originally going to put the sequins on my ring fingers, but I dented my right middle finger pretty badly and figured the sequin would cover it nicely.

The Face Shop polish is a very stark white, made sort of ivory/bone-ish by the Rokk polish. The blue pearliness is GORGEOUS, it's subtle enough to keep the focus on the hearts but just gives the mani a little something extra. Have not tried the polish on its own, I imagine it will be quite sheer.
 Moonlight in a bottle.
 The second photo is the most colour-accurate, the mani is a definite stark off-white with blue shimmer. It makes my skin look quite dark and olive, which I like. The sequins did start to get a bit annoying, since I fiddle with my hands a lot and the edges of them stick out quite sharply. I think it would have been a lot better if I'd put them on my ring fingers. I'll definitely do this combo again without the sequins, but only when I have a lot of time to spare - 4 coats of polish is a lot for me. It lasted really well through a day of light housework, no chips, dents or damage to the sequins at all. We'll see how it lasts through work today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Brag #5

This blog is run by a lovely young lady by the name of Elimy. She is one of the few people I know who I've shared this blog with, and I haven't regretted it for a moment ;)

Elimy is an aspiring Australian historical fiction writer. If you like it when I do book reviews, but wish I'd get away from the fantasy and scifi genres, go and visit Em. She's been doing a bit of blogging about the books we read at uni, and she blogged her heroic attempt at reading Ulysses as well. Don't worry, it's not all about literature - she does share some personal things as well, which as well-written as they are, are very engaging and touching.

I really admire her dedication to the craft. I'm a bit of a flaky writer, I'll admit, always putting off rewriting and leaving projects untouched for months at a time! Em is frequently published in our uni's magazine, and she has won some awards for her fiction, the clever thing. I'd do well to take some lessons from her, haha. She has graciously allowed me to read some of the novel she is currently working on - when I say 'currently', I mean she has been working on it for the last several years, and it shows. I look forward to telling people I knew her before she got all published and famous.

She is currently on holiday in Barcelona (lucky thing!) so tune in for some wonderful photography and jokes about jet lag.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Artifacts #3-4

Review of #0-2 here.

Issue #3


This issue was quite the whirlwind. There's an absolutely amazing sequence in the second half, with Aphrodite talking to several different Artifact bearers. My only gripe is that it's WAY too much info and too many characters at once. It's the kind of issue you'll be referring back to several times so you can remember characters' names and just what the heck they're doing in the series anyway. Also, Aphrodite's suddenly a much darker green than before.  Because they keep introducing new characters, they have to keep reiterating the main plot points. Since the issues are being released a month apart, if you're only reading them as they come out, it's a good refresher course. However if like me, you tend to re-read, it gets a bit... "We've done this!"
On a more positive note, the fight scenes in this are fantastic. Lots of fire, debris, and no gratuitous blood and gore.

There are character pages at the back of each issue, with thumbnails, history and description. This is a really handy reference, but it feels a bit like they're rushing so much with the story, even TC know that the characters are going to get lost in the plot development/reinforcement.
By now you should definitely know the following:
*There are thirteen Artifacts.
*The light and the darkness don't get along.
*Aphrodite IV looks awesome.
*The thirteenth artifact is the most mysterious and the most important.
*The defrocked priest Tom Judge was let out of hell and doesn't know how or why. Oh and also there's a horde of demons after him trying to drag him back.

The constant fight scenes and glowy artifacts make up for the repetitive exposition.

Onto the December 2010 issue...

Issue #4

Epic battles. Reiterating the mission statement. Lines are drawn. Is Aphrodite's hair shorter?

Oops, sorry, I got distracted. Basically, this issue is a bit more 'beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-storyline', jazzed up with some fighting, and then finishes with a twinkly supernatural cliffhanger. It's a bridging issue. Maybe if I'd read it after not just having re-read the previous 4 issues, I would have enjoyed it more. As it is, I'm kind of wishing I'd picked this up at the same time as Issue 5 so I can move onto the next interesting development.

Interesting: good mythology, some nicely rounded characters, mysterious bits.
Pretty: has great colouring, an awesome green-haired cyborg, and some flashy-but-not-gory fight scenes.
Cheap: 13 issues over a year, so you're not going to get bogged down whether you come in late, or start early and settle in for the long haul.

A bit repetitive, loads of exposition.
A bucketload of characters to keep up with.
There are several co-series that you'll be tempted by.

Pick up Issue #0 if you can, to help you decide whether or not this is something you'd want to read. I promise to do my best to review #5 shortly after I get it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Savvy by DB (part 3)

Part 1 (lipstick) here, part 2 (nail polish) here.

Note about the nail polish: it wore for 5 days and has only JUST chipped. That is an absolute record for me! Also the location of the two chips (outer corner of my thumbs) lead me to believe I was bashing my fingernails against the Xbox controller during last night's Fable II marathon... So maybe the polish would have lasted even longer if I hadn't been all "MUST. FINISH. SPIRE. QUEST."

Liquid liner

Pretty standard packaging, but I was really surprised when I swatched this and instead of the pretty, creme purple colour of the bottle, I got a deep metallic purple instead.

The applicator was really weird - somewhere between a sponge and a brush. The liner dried really solidly on my hand - I mean REALLY solidly! It didn't budge when I rubbed it, I had to use a makeup remover wipe and scrub a bit to get it off. It was a bit worrying since I don't want to have to be too rough on my lids to get it off when I used it.

This stuff goes on wet. I don't mean like pixie epoxy or liquid foundation wet either - it feels like I just ran a sopping wet cotton bud over my eyelid. This stuff is so runny it spreads from a nice neat, straight line to a squiggly, bleedy one in about five seconds. After it dried it felt like I had paint on my lids - it was stiff and made my lashline feel really weird.

No mascara or other products on my eyes today, I curled my lashes and then applied the liner.

In my inner corner where I had made the line thinner and a bit lighter, the liner was... Cracking? Almost like the formula was separating on my lid. LAME. Two hours later it had gone crackly and flaky all over and looked awful.

Luckily I'd had the foresight to bring makeup remover wipes and my Sleek palette with me to work, as I had planned on testing the longevity of the liner. I didn't have to scrub at my eye like I had my hand swatch, but the liner didn't dissolve back to a liquid on contact with the wipe. It came off in little flakes like paint, which fell off my lids and stuck to my cheeks. After I got rid of all the residue, I lined my upper lids with some dark green shadow from the Sleek Safari palette - let me tell you, having soft creamy shadow on my lashline after that paint-y crap was so nice!

Conclusion? It may just be this colour, or that I got a bad bottle, and they ARE only $2.99, but I'm just not interested in trying any more of the Savvy liquid liners. This was an utter disappointment after the lipstick and the nail polish (which I'm still wearing and hasn't chipped after me typing a 1,000-word comic book review, Twittering and typing email correspondance for work!)

Pencil liner

I tried the BYS liners a few months back, and when I went to swatch them they were so hard and scratchy I just threw it out without even trying to use it on my lid. This pencil was a bit underwhelming - it wasn't horribly hard but I did have to go over my hand a few times to get it opaque.

I bought this in white to use on my waterline, which is a really tough test of a pencil. Too hard and it won't go on, too soft and it won't last. Pigmentation has to be perfect.

This is ok for a subtle daytime look, but I really wanted a bright, opaque white like Nyx Jumbo Eye pencil in Milk.

Because the Savvy liner is just a pencil, it doesn't hold shadows at all like the Nyx Jumbo pencils do. I don't own an opaque white shadow to layer over a pencil base anyway. The Savvy pencils have a smudger on the opposite end to the pencil and I'm really not sure why! Smudging something that sheer would probably take it all off.

If you're going to try Savvy, stick to the nail polish and the lipsticks. (I may or may not have gone and bought more polishes and lipsticks anyway...)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brisbane and Queensland: please help

Right now the East Coast of Australia is experiencing flooding, expected to become more disastrous than the 1974 flood, which affected much of the same area.

The last figures I heard were:
9 dead
62 missing
300 people being airlifted out of Forest Hill
15,000 homes and businesses affected

The flood levels are expected to continue to rise this week. I have seen some truly horrifying footage both on TV and online today - cars being washed away in Toowoomba, a clip on the news of a floating van careening into a tree that a man was clinging to (how he managed to hang on, I don't know. Rescuers were able to get to him shortly after. They had to half carry him out of the water, he was dazed and completely exhausted).

Brisbane and Queensland are in chaos. Homes and businesses have been either completely lost under the water, smashed by torrents, people's belongings and loved ones carried away. The death toll will only continue to rise and the damage count is already in the hundred millions.

Kira, a fellow blogger, is actually in Brisbane but she's in a suburb which is safe (for now). Jerry's also on the Gold Coast. I never thought I'd be so happy about living in Perth, but right now I am.

Please donate if you can, and pray if you're the praying type. We were not prepared for this. Surviving the next week is going to be incredibly difficult for thousands of people, and once the waters have receded, the grieving and rebuilding is going to be even harder. I'm donating what I can when I get paid on Thursday.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: Artifacts #0-2

Because I got so horribly behind on my comic reviews, this is going to be a 5-issue review, done in 2 parts.

Issue #0
On Free Comic Book Day last year (if you haven't heard about it read this) I picked up this gorgeous thing:

I found the cover extremely intriguing, and the intro even more so. In it, the story of the Thirteen Artifacts is being told to Aphrodite IV, a state-of-the-art, absolutely lethal cyborg.

The Artifacts themselves have been the subjects of several series in the Top Cow comic universe: the Magdalena, Witchblade, and Broken Trinity (among others). However, this series is not just for old TC fans - it's being touted as a good introduction for newbies as well. Issue #0 contains information on the Artifacts and their bearers. All but four of the bearers are named and described. One Artifact, the thirteenth, is lost. Two Artifacts have unclear locations and the final fourth is held by the narrator, who does not reveal himself or talk about his Artifact.

The artwork is just wonderful and I love the way Aphrodite looks - in fact, her lips, eyes and hair are the exact same shade as my High Voltage Lip Whip in Iron Butterfly! (Do I smell a makeup look in the works?)

Issue #1
I strongly dislike black and white covers, and I just realised why - they remind me of children's coloring-in books. The urge to grab a pencil and just go at this is almost irresistable! The first page of this issue more than makes up for the cover, though - dramatic, full-page, strong female character! If that wasn't enough, there's some great banter and the main female character has a kid. Realism ftw!

The art in this is great. It's not photo-realistic, but it's not sketchy or cartoony either. There's a real depth to the color palette - each page has great mood, there's variety but not so much that it disrupts the tone of things.

There are four panels featuring Aphrodite that irritated me a LOT (panty shots. Real classy) and totally blew my happiness about the first page out of the water. I guess you can't expect the entire comics industry's portrayal of female characters to change overnight.

There was a pretty thorough storyline intro in this issue, if a few too many un-introduced characters who are sort of floating on the peripherals. It was enough to make me buy issue 2.

Issue #2
Again with the black and white! *grumbles*

There's some really nice - if rather blatant - symbolism in the first few pages here. The artwork pulls it off beautifully - again a muted, but not dull colour palette.

There is a really beautiful  intertwining of supernatural and mundane happening already - my absolute favourite element of any fantasy/sci-fi story. Saving the world doesn't mean a character is exempt from or should be unaffected by things like family squabbles, bickering and friendship drama. If you can successfully intertwine or at least balance these two types of conflict, you've got me hooked. There's some blunt but well-appreciated exposition, telling us a bit of backstory of the holders of the Artifacts, and how they're all connected (besides the fact that they're all bearers).

This issue ends with a nice cliffie, so I was glad I picked it up at the same time as the next issue... except you'll have to wait to read about that in part 2 of my review.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: Savvy by DB (part 2)

Part 1 here.

(If my pics look a bit weird, it's because I just got a new lamp. I'm still getting used to it, it's very different from the old one).

Onto the nail polish! I picked this up because it was a beautiful plummy purple with BLUE duochrome shimmer. The brush handle is quite oddly shaped. I didn't find it too cumbersome, but some people might.

First coat went on quite fuschia, with very violet shimmer. Formula was fairly thin and a bit streaky, even over base coat. Second coat evened it up quite a bit, and the third transformed it into the deep, opaque plum of the bottle color. The shimmer remained purple - no blue to be seen, under either artificial light or sunlight. The resultant manicure was GORGEOUS anyway!

I banged my nails up a little overnight, and would have smoothed the mani over with a topcoat, but the only one I have is Orly In A Snap. When I put it on, MY TIPS WENT MATTE. I kid you not, I don't know what happened or why, it was really weird. Another coat of polish fixed it fine, so I guess... just don't use an Orly top coat with Savvy polishes?

Other than that, I really loved this polish - it's gorgeous, really glowy and eye-catching but still subtle enough for work or a fancy party. I'll definitely be buying more Savvy by DB polishes. $2.99!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blog Brag #4

Phew! It's been quite a while since I've done one of these, which is a shame since I actually have several drafts backed up. Anyway, onto the brag.

Defeating Mediocrity is a project being run through a blog. One of my long-time friends, Adam, is setting out to achieve twenty one goals to be completed by 11:59 pm, December 31, 2011. Not talking cheesy new years' resolutions, either. Here are the goals:

1. Record a five song EP
2. Get my motorcycle license
3. Donate blood
4. Busk for a day
5. Take a solo road trip
6. Cook dinner for me and five friends
7. See a game of sport, a concert, a comedy show, a musical and a theatre production
8. Paint a self-portrait
9. Learn a song on piano (or any instrument that's not guitar)
10. Read 12 important books
11. Create a 10-minute arthouse film
12. Do a 365 Photo Challenge
13. Ride the Indian Pacific
14. Do City 2 Surf and the Perth Freeway Bike Hike
15. Spend a month following a type of meditation
16. Write a NaNoWriMo novel
17. Get a tailor-made suit
18. Get kissed on a beach at night
19. *Hidden goal*
20. Begin learning Sign Language
21. Spend New Year's Eve at Times Square, New York

He's running a vlog (weekly, I think) to keep followers/curious bystanders apprised of his progress. Like me, Adam is an avid writer and not-yet-reformed drama student, so the blog itself is very conversational and the vlogs should be quite entertaining once he settles into the rigmarole of talking to a camera.

I have volunteered to help him busk - he's going to play guitar and I'm going to sing. Easy to type, but what an undertaking! I'm going to be practising a LOT in the upcoming months (in and out of the shower, hehe).

I'm thinking I might jump on the wagon for a couple other of his goals - I want to do another NaNo novel, I'd love to learn Sign, and a couple of his books are ones I want to read as well.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Savvy by DB (part 1)

After a horrendously boring day at work (it was New Years' public holiday and I think most of Perth figured the city wasn't open) I decided to buy some new eyelash curlers since my el cheapo ones are kind of dead. While in Priceline I spotted a big stand of $2.99 cosmetics. All its contents were clean and shrink-wrapped, so no returns or rejects! I grabbed myself a liquid eyeliner, a nail polish, a pencil liner and a lipstick. All the stuff was by the same brand. I figured if it was good, then I'd go back and splurge on some other colours, and if it was crappy I was only out $11-something.

The only info I was able to find online for this brand were raves on the Australian Vogue forum - a good sign, though I was a bit miffed at not being able to find a website. I like reading the 'story' behind a company, and looking at all the different products.

I got:
Pencil eyeliner in Ivory
Liquid eyeliner in Plum
Nail polish in Violet
Lipstick in Poppy

I got all 'safe' colours - I wear/use a lot of purple, I've been looking for something a bit thinner than Nyx Jumbo Pencil in Milk for my waterline, and I love red lipstick.

Poppy isn't anything new at all, but it is extremely pigmented for a $3 lipstick. Swatches, from left to right: Stargazer 127, Savvy by DB Poppy, Morgana Cryptoria Twinkling Rubies (lip swatch here).

Lip swatch of Poppy:

Poppy feels a little thinner and more watery than the Stargazer and the Morgana, but it's the same bright, blue-based red that I can't seem to get enough of. The formula isn't drying at all, but it's hasn't got the moisturising qualities of Morgana lipsticks either. Staying power is amazing for the price - after a roast beef sandwich (nom nom) and a glass of water, the inner circle of my lips were bare, but I still had a LOT of lipstick left.  I'm definitely going to go back to pick up some more tubes of this lipstick.

The tubes themselves are brushed-metal-look plastic, and they click when you close them, which I like. They also have that clear bit on the bottom which has a colour representation, so you can tell the tubes apart. No ingredients on the tube, though, and since I didn't get any packaging with them... Well, let's just say it's a good thing I'm not A) vegan, or B) allergic to any common cosmetics ingredients! Since Savvy/DB also don't have a website there's no way for me to follow up on that.

Eyeliners and nail polish coming next!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Same old eyes and nails

I wasn't going to do any sort of New Years' post - I didn't take any pictures of my night, or make any resolutions, but I'm still wearing and loving my manicure 4 days later so I thought I'd share!

New years' nails:

Mode Party Girl under Mode Glitterati under China Glaze Wireless.

Then because I'm a matchy-matchy freakazoid, I dismissed the 20+ purple eyeshadows I own, and mixed up another super-glittery one to go with the polish:

I don't remember exactly what I used, but there's definitely TKB Grape Pop and Fyrinnae's Immortality in there. I think I threw in another purple, and then some red and blue to brighten it up. Excuse the weird lighting - in reality it's a dead match to the deep purple of the polish combo :)

Anybody else not bothered with resolutions? There's lots of stuff I want to do this year, but I just feel like making the new year all about "OMG I WILL DO MORE STUFF" just creates unnecessary pressure. You can't magically break - or make- a habit just because it's January again. Take it one step at a time! It's easier and far more realistic.