Thursday, September 29, 2011

Op shop mini-haul

I am a total op shop junkie. That's 'thrift store' for my American readers. So when my mum offered to take my Auntie and I on an op-shop spree, I couldn't say no.


Adorably, ridiculously tacky shoes:

I don't understand why somebody would throw these out! Usually anything with rhinestones or diamantes is missing a few... not these babies. The soles are marked so you can tell they've been worn a bit, but from the top and front they are perfect. I never wear tan/beige but I couldn't say no to these, especially since they fit my teeny feet!

A dress to go with said shoes:

Funky pinstripe vest:
I'm slowly building up a vest collection, so far I have a denim one, a black leather one, a brown-y steampunk-ish one and now this cute pinstriped thing.

Awesome fancy lacy gothy dress:

LOVELOVELOVE. I probably won't be able to wear this for a while, since I don't go out much and it's rather cold at the moment.

Ridiculously cute denim crop jacket with oversized buttons:

Not pictured: long-sleeved shirts in purple, red and orange for layering.

There are a whole bunch of op-shops near our new house which I plan on checking out in a few weeks. If you'd like to see more op-shop hauls in the future, let me know! :) we have a cream fitted sheet on the bed that is PERFECT for photographing larger items like clothes, and we also have a little white side table which is the best backdrop for smaller things like makeup. It was totally unintentional, getting both of those things, but they're both very handy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Born Pretty haul

I pretty much covered all the details in my NoTD post, but here's pics of what I got from Born Pretty.

Set of dotting tools

Double-ended stamper, and scraper

Five (!) stamping plates. Lots of simple, cutesy designs like flowers,
butterflies, bows, hearts etc. and a few of the full-nail designs like
fishnets and swirls, which I will need to learn how to apply properly.

Stamping polishes (god I hope these work well) and nail glue.


I'm definitely going to be getting more plates and Fimo. I've gotten the hang of Konad-ing now (mostly) and Fimo is dead easy, if you don't mind having weird protrusions on your nails for a while. Born Pretty have free shipping internationally and there's usually a 10-15% off coupon floating around cyberspace somewhere. If you're interested in nail art at all, they're a great resource.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September Box Battle

Lust Have It vs. Beauty Box!

I'm a sucker and signed up for both of these (don't tell my boyfriend!) Having been far too intimidated and overwhelmed by the offerings of high and even mid-end skincare and makeup brands, I've stuck solely to my indie and pharmacy brands for years. Both of these companies/organisations/offers looked too good to be true - monthly samples of various lotions, potions and sparklies, for $15 a month including postage?!

I received my Beauty Box first since the kind postie left it in the meter box. The Lust Have It box required me to go on an epic quest involving several buses and a stroll through Curtin University's campus so I could get it from the post office, but in the end I got it, only a week or so after ordering. SUCH a change from all my international goodies.

Photos of the packaging are all over the internet and I'm not patient enough to take pictures before I open things ;) so if you're curious:
Beauty Box packaging.
Lust Have It packaging (and a review of the August box, which I didn't subscribe in time to get).
There's even another comparison here at Lucinda's Beauty Blog.

I have to admit that the Beauty Box was a bit disappointing for me, but only because it contained 3 items I knew straight away I wouldn't be using. The Lust Have It box was much more 'me'.

Beauty Box for September

1. Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Sleep
I've started using this, putting it on mostly at night but also in the morning if I've forgotten. No results as yet, I'm mostly hoping this will fade some of the pigmentation spots I've noticed under my eyes from sun exposure. I'm not entirely sure that it will, the claims are kind of vague.

2. Marc Jacobs Oh! Lola!
Since discovering indie perfumes I haven't looked back. There were three incredibly generous sample vials of this fragrance and I haven't even touched one of them. I'm just... so not interested? If anybody (within Aus. since it's perfume) wants these, let me know - you can seriously have them.

3. Sally Hansen Everyday Strength Medium Nail File.
I have three glass nail files - one to use, one to lose and one to break. Only half kidding. But after reading nail blogs and doing my own research, plus testing, the benefits of glass files was just too amazing to ignore and I'm not letting an ermery board ANYWHERE near my nails ever again. Not sure what I'm going to do with this, then. Personal bias aside, isn't Beauty Box supposed to be a collection of "luxury" samples? Why is there a $4.95 nail file in here?

4. Playboy Play it Spicy Body Spray
Pretty much an echo of my Lola! and nail file complaints. This is a cheap item, and I'm not using it.

5. Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil
This is pretty much the reason I haven't cancelled my subscription yet - oil cleansing is something I've developed an interest in but haven't managed to try yet. I've only used this once since the bottle is only big enough for 4-5 uses, but is was a sample I was actually interested in.

September Beauty Box Rating: 2/5. Dollar-wise, this box let me down by including two items which are NOT "luxury" at all. Additionally, the usefulness factor just wasn't there.

Lust Have It for September

1. Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara
YES! Lancome mascaras are the bomb, though I did drop them in favour of the more affordable and still very high-performing Covergirl Lashblast. I'm really enthusiastic about this sample and can't wait to try it!

2. Pure Fiji Coconut Milk Shower Gel
I'm not a big fan of coconut, so I'm dubious about this one. I'm definitely willing to give it a go.

3. Kerastase Elixir Ultime
I have yet to find a new hairdresser so my hair is definitely in need of a bit of TLC. This has some very promising ingredients, including the much-praised Argan oil.

4. Urban Rituelle Flourish organics hand cream
Hooray, something for my poor mistreated cuticles which isn't the smelly pharmacy cuticle cream I impulse-bought a while ago and have been regretting ever since! This bottle is so cute and small I'll be able to take it with me on the bus for pre-work applications.

5. Nicole by OPI Ultimate trend setter's laquer
Personally I've never bought OPI. I find some of their names very off-putting and occasionally offensive, which may seem like a silly reason, but there it is. However, Lust Have It peered directly into my brain and have supplied two adorably tiny bottles, one a blinged-out silver and the other an amazing metallic purple. My only objection to these is that I can't wear them to work.

September Lust Have It Rating: 4.5/5. Dollar-wise an amazing box, exactly what I imagine when I think "luxury". Usefulness rating very high - a mix of products I know I will use, and that I am definitely interested in trying out.

I won't be reviewing all of these, only the ones which are either awesome or terrible. Mediocre/undecided reviews aren't fun to read or write.

I should also note that there has been a bit of controversy about Beauty Box - a few people, like me, not too impressed with the contents of the box. Also apparently there is some confusion regarding terms of membership - on the card some people received it was written that posting reviews of the box contents "guarantees your continuing membership" - aka paying them for the box does not guarantee you'll continue to be subscribed. A bit odd. Also a few people have reported being charged more than once for a single month. After reading that I quickly checked my bank account and I have only been charged the once. Phew!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Furless Brushes

I am pretty bad with makeup brushes, I don’t like spending a lot of money on them and I’m not interested in brands whatsoever. My little collection of Ecotools brushes had me extremely content for quite a while. I purchased two stippling brushes from ELF, and since they were so good I decided to fill some gaps in my collection with some more ELF brushes.

A month later I was severely regretting it. They’d been a cheap buy and it showed. The crease brush was all wobbly around the ferrule and both brushes, I had to admit, were scratchy. Furless had some really lovely and useful looking brushes on sale and Suzanne had been raving about them, so I took the plunge. I got a lip brush (because I don’t have one) which was $7.95, a bent eyeliner brush (again, I don’t have one) which was $4.95 and a crease brush to replace the scratchy, coming-apart ELF one.  That was $8.95.

These are really similar to my Ecotools brushes (bamboo handle, soft dark brown synthetic bristles, pale brushed aluminium handle), which is great because I LOVE them. The ferrules are really well-constructed and the bristles are so shapely and soft. The bent eyeliner brush is seriously amazing, to the point where it allows me to create cat-eye liner! WOOHOO! The crease brush is amazing for creasework, lid application of lighter/neutral shades and for blending. The lip brush is so easy to work with, I’m actually going to be able to use all my potted lipsticks and samples now. The handle on that one is a little too long for it to be really portable, but I have a pretty big makeup pencil case so that’s ok.

I’ve had these for a while (let’s just pretend I was road-testing them and not being lazy) and have washed them twice. I experienced no loosening of the bristles and NO fall-out. They dry reasonably fast, the crease brush taking a while longer because it’s so fluffy and dense.

They sell make-up as well, but it’s at Australian prices (i.e expensive) and the last thing I need is more makeup.

All three brushes

Crease brush

Lip brush (needs cleaning, heh)

Bent liner brush
(splayed a little but I swear it doesn't affect application at all)

Close-up of all three

I am very seriously considering buying more Furless brushes, especially considering my order shipped the day after I purchased, and they’re located in Australia so I had my brushes within the week (!) They always have sales on. You can get brushes in sets, singles, and by golly are there a range of colours and shapes to choose from! On my list at the moment are the Bamboo Pencil Brush, Bamboo Eye/Concealer Brush, Fat and Furless Flat Liner Brush and the Fat and Furless Precision Concealer Brush. Those are all things I'm missing in my collection. If I was going to splurge on something kinda-necessary-but-mostly-just-pretty it would be the Purple Power Set. WAAAANT.

Blue Tiger Butterfly: NoTD

I have a metric butt-ton of draft posts but I'm so swamped with uni work, and moving stuff (we still have a distinct lack of furniture!) so here's a quick NoTD so you know I haven't forgotten about blogging.

I bought a bunch of stuff from as a celebratory "we got the house!", also using Lillian's 10% off code. Yay! It arrived just before my three-day break from work, so I pulled out a polish I bought a while ago but had yet to use. Blue Tiger from Australis. HOLY SHIT. I don't know why I never used this before! I mean, yes it's royal blue and I prefer turquoise/aqua shades but this is beautifully bright and OPAQUE IN ONE COAT.

A little snark about Australis polishes: "Intense colour with a high shine". The last polish I tried from them, Satine, was so sheer I didn't even bother trying to make it opaque. It was very shiny though. Blue Tiger is incredibly opaque, BUT it dries semi-matte. Obviously I have topcoat on in my photos, but still, I thought it was funny.

I got Konad plates, dotting tools, stamping polishes and some Fimo pieces from BornPretty and I honestly did not know what to do first, so... I decided to use a little bit of everything, minus the dotting tools. Please ignore the cuticle on my middle finger, I banged it at work and it's taking forever to heal up, despite twice-daily applications of cuticle cream!

Stamping done with China Glaze Millenium.
Layering on middle finger done with Mode Chillax.

The Fimo pieces have hard edges from being slathered in topcoat, and they do catch on things a little bit. I was SO tempted to do a French tip-esque line with the dotting tool, but LESS IS MORE. I think. Sometimes.

Another fun layering combo: Essie Demure Vixen topped with China Glaze Wireless holo topcoat. Subtle enough indoors that I didn't get in trouble at work, but SO GORGEOUS and sparkly outdoors! This does look a bit beat up, sorry.

The holo topcoat has the effect of almost merging the base colour (soft taupe-cocoa) and the shimmer (violet) into this lovely muted mauve-brown. The holo itself looks predominantly silver-green in the shade, but direct sunlight does give it more of a rainbow effect.

I think my bottle of Demure Vixen is reformulated, because it takes at least 3 coats to get opaque, and even then there's still a bit of VNL. I'm going to experiment with some of my nude/taupe polishes and see if any of them work OK as a base so I don't have to apply so darn much of Demure Vixen to get it looking good. It also develops tipwear really fast; I don't know if it's my base/topcoat or the actual polish though.

There you go, some pretty pictures! I'm off to Sydney next week for work training (boo) and a mini-holiday (yay!) so expect some posts when I get back. I should have some sporadic internet access while I'm there and I'll also be able to VISIT ILLAMASQUA! I'm so excited. I'm planning on getting an eye pencil and maybe a lipgloss as well.