Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Break

Hey, guys!  I'm going to take a week off because I have to work in the morning and I really don't have anything to post about at the moment, besides the fact that my boyfriend of 3.5 years is now my fiancé!  I asked for a pair of boots for Christmas. I got a box that contained a pair of my own boots, filled with Styrofoam peanuts and tissue paper. Inside the toe of one boot was a little box; this was inside.

It was a complete surprise. I thought it was going to be an I.O.U. or a gift card to pick out my own boots. I totally bawled when I peeled back the tissue paper and saw the box. I hope you all have had an amazing Holiday season, and I'll see you next year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best and Worst Products of 2011

Today, my lovelies, I'm going to write a post about a few of my favorite (and least favorite) products.  Some of them I've already mentioned here, some of them I haven't really touched on before.  And no, they aren't in any particular order.  It would be kind of unfair to compare and rank  products that serve completely different purposes.  So let's get this show on the road, shall we?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unrelated: Detox

Hey, guys!  Sorry this post is later than usual (and off the usual subject matter,) but I've spent most of the day trying to put a bigger dent in my Christmas shopping.  So here it is...

My boyfriend and I started doing a detox diet at the beginning of the month.  There have been some cheats here and there, but for the most part it's a modified version of the Crazy, Sexy Diet.  We bought a juicer, and we've been having green juice every morning (okay, okay, all but two) and eating vegan meals for lunch and dinner.  You can read all about the detox here.  Before we started our detox, I was drinking 48-72 oz. of Coke every day.  I surprised myself when I  had a 24 oz. bottle on the first and second day, then cut it completely.  The first day I got a headache, but after that, I was fine.   Dave's son is very picky, and we like to eat as a family, so we tend to cheat the most when we have him on the weekends.  Otherwise, the cheats have mostly been unintentional because of poor label checking on my part on our first grocery trip.  We have actually been enjoying the food, save for the faux shrimp and miracle noodles we tried one night.  We have had soy tacos, rice and beans, "creamy" vegetable pasta, vegetable and barley soup, hummus and pita chips, "Quorn" cutlets (a cheat due to my assumption that meat subs wouldn't contain byproducts) with teriyaki sauce white rice and vegan mashed potatoes, and have yet to try recipes I found for tofu "bacon," "buttermilk" biscuits, and a spinach pastry called spanakopita.  I've had a couple of nights where I can smell/taste green juice even though it's nowhere to be seen, so that's kind of odd, but I definitely feel refreshed and alert when I have one in the morning, and it's actually pretty tasty!  I'm surprised at how good I feel, and how easy it was to accomplish.  We've actually decided to continue doing green juice in the morning after we finish the detox.  Dave had lost three pounds within the first week, and while my measurements remained the same my cellulite has become much less visible as have the dark circles under my eyes. If you've been considering a detox, I really recommend this one.  Just make sure you're checking your labels very carefully!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Noella Beauty Works Swatches

Okay, honestly I don't remember how long it took to receive this order, and I wasn't quick enough to snap a picture before the packaging got all crunched up and un-photographable.  So I'm just going to tell you what I think and post some swatches after the jump.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lost In Makeupland Swatches

I literally just received this package today.  I ordered full-size jars of Weed, Smurf, and Bruised, as well as sample sizes of Whipped Reflects of Pink, Man in the Box, Trunks, Dawson, Lamu, and Yuu.  I received three extra samples of Libertine, Beverly Hills, and Sweet Valley.  Whipped Reflects of Pink, Sweet Valley, Beverly Hills, Trunks, Dawson, Lamu, and Yuu are part of the new Nostalgia: When I Was Young collection.  I've already posted swatches of Smurf and Weed in my original review.  New swatches after the jump!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lancôme Beauty Box 2011 Swatches

So I guess every year, Lancome does a purchase with purchase promotion where you can buy a beauty box filled with full-sized products if you make any purchase.  This year, the beauty box is $57.50, and you get two color options: Pretty Plums or Beautiful Bronzes.  I will be posting swatches of the Beautiful Bronzes collection.

The Beauty Box includes two Juicy Tubes lip glosses in Bolole and Simmer, two Color Design Lipcolors in It Girl and Sugared Maple, Blush Subtil in Cedar Rose, Le Crayon Khôl eyeliner in Black Coffee, Définicils mascara in Black, and three Color Design eyeshadows in Latte, Kitten Heel, and Mannequin.  Additionally, the box includes two brushes - a round shadow brush and a blending brush - and Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover, which I will talk about.  I purchased a La Laque Fever lip gloss in  Glitterstick as my qualifying purchase.  On to the swatches!


Hey, everyone!
I wanted to do a quick update today to let you know I'm still around.  I don't normally have to work on Mondays, but for some reason I was scheduled yesterday.  I thought I had a trade worked out with one of the other girls from my department, but she flaked out at the last minute (I was fully prepared to come in and work all day on Sunday when it came up randomly in conversation and she said she made plans with her mom), so I had to work yesterday and there just wasn't enough time to put together a good review post.  I also have a small patch of skin on my right eyelid that is very irritated, so I didn't really want to do a look of the day, either.  I'm not sure if it's just dry skin, or what exactly is going on, but it isn't spreading so I'm not too concerned at the moment.  My apologies, and I will try to get a little something up before the next regular update!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Followup: Crush Cosmetics

Last week, I reviewed an Etsy shop called Crush Cosmetics.  In that review, I noted suspicions of certain colors not being original, i.e. repackaged.  So I placed an order with TKB, and I feel my suspicions have been verified.  While I did not find a match for every color, I still wanted to put my results out there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Linnaeus Cosmetics is Coming Back!

If you follow Linnaeus Cosmetics already, then you probably saw this yesterday.  If not, allow me to fill you in.  Marin of Linnaeus Cosmetics announced yesterday that she will be reopening from November 25th through November 28th for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.  Limited quantities of individual shadows and shadow collections will be available at discounted prices.  Marin will be moving in December, so this is only going to be a small window to snag some LC goodies for a great price.  Marin has projected that LC will relaunch full-time in late January.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crush Cosmetics Swatches + Review

What I Ordered: A sampler pack of 5 shadows in Honey, Vixen, XXX, Poison, and Crush and a Lip Tint in Blood Orange
Packaging: Crush Cosmetics is based out of Canada (not the open resale company based out of Australia,) so I expected some extra shipping time.  I placed my order on 10/26/11, and it arrived on 11/4/11.  It arrived in a plain orange mailer, with the samples together in a plastic baggie in their own individually labeled plastic baggies, and the lip tint in a separate organza bag with a piece of chocolate.  I also received a business card.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Beauty Addiction Swatches + Review

Packaging: My order arrived in a bubble mailer just four days after I made my purchase, so shipping was super-fast.  My full-size colors came in cute stacking jars that were wrapped in additional bubble wrap, and I got a sample of Crushed Diamonds in a separate baggie.  My package also included a printed invoice with a handwritten note from Sherrie, the owner.  The stacker has a sticker on the top, and and each individual color has a sticker on the bottom with the color name, ingredients, company name, and address.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shiro Cosmetics Death Note Collection Swatches

My package from Caitlin came yesterday, but for some reason my desktop compy wouldn't recognize my SD card after I took the pictures, so I had to E-mail them to myself from my netbook in order to add text on my desktop.  As usual, colors in the top row are swatched on bare skin with a foiled stripe down the center and colors in the bottom row are swatched over My Beauty Addiction's Shadow Poxy.  Top photos for each pairing were taken under normal indoor lighting, bottom photos were taken under HD fluorescent lighting.  So without further adieu, the Shiro Cosmetics Death Note Collection!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cosmetic Psychiatry is on Kickstarter!

I was just checking out Kickstarter, and I found this awesome project!  The idea is a lipstick line to fill the color gaps in current lipstick offerings.  The company is Cosmetic Psychiatry, in reference to a) seeing makeup as an alternative to cosmetic surgery and b) the feeling you get when you use your favorite lippie.  It's headed by a professional makeup artist, and there are to be 13 colors in a core line, but you'll be able to request your own custom colors.  Another great thing is that the lipsticks will contain SPF 15 to keep your pout safe from the sun's harsh rays (and if you're prone to cold sores like I am, using lip products that contain sunscreen is a great preventative measure.)  He's still got a long way to go before he makes his goal, and this is something that I think is a great idea.  I mean, how many times have you been searching for a new lipstick, and everything you found was just not quite right?  I'm not sure about you guys, but that happens to me ALL the time!  If I'm looking for orange, one color will be too yellow and another will be too red.  If I'm looking for Pink, one color will be too mauve and another will be too coral.  Head over to the Kickstarter page and pledge if you think this is as amazing as I do.  Pledges will be forfeited if the goal is not met, and if it is met, you can get a custom lipstick (or a variety of other thank-you gifts) for your contribution.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Battle of the Primers!

First of all, let me just explain a little bit about what a primer is and why it's useful for those of you who may not know.  A primer provides a base for your eyeshadow to adhere to, making your colors more true to what they appear in their containers and keeping creasing to a minimum.  They are especially useful for ladies (and gents) who experience excessive creasing due to oily eyelids.  Usually you apply a thin layer of primer to your lids and wait for it to dry before applying your shadow, then apply your shadows as usual.  Patting shadows on over a primer instead of sweeping usually yields the best results with color payoff and minimum fallout.  I should mention that your own results may vary, as these are my own personal findings based on my skin type and my results using these products.

So here's the lineup:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coming Up!

Okay, guys, I know you're getting antsy about the Death Note collection, but it hasn't arrived yet.  It's only been a few days, so we will all just have to be patient.  I DO, however, have the huge primer post slated for Monday.  So those of you who have been excited about that will get to read all about the different primers I tried (and see before and after pictures!)  Stay tuned for the new Shiro, though, because they'll be swatched and posted as soon as they are in my clutches!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Stuff

I noticed that a lot of people have been finding my blog in search of Shiro Cosmetics swatches, so I placed an order today for samples of Caitlin's new Death Note collection!  So if you're a Shiro fan or a Death note fan, stay tuned because I'll be swatching these colors and they look amazing on the website.  Can't wait!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lancôme Swatches + Reviews

Yesterday at work, I stopped at the Lancome counter because they are in the middle of their gift with purchase promotion. I got a Color Design lipstick in Studded ($22) and a Color Fever Gloss in Metallic Sunburst ($26). I've looked at high-end cosmetic brands before, but never really purchased any; I don't think I've ever paid more than, I don't know, $12 for a lipstick before. But now that I'm writing a weekly blog about makeup, I feel like I owe it to myself and to my readers to broaden my horizons. Initially I had been considering buying their eyeshadow base, but I happened to see these lip colors and once I saw the tester tubes swatched I really didn't have a choice. I've mentioned my quest for the perfect orange lipstick here before, and I thought Studded was absolutely gorgeous.  I had a Maybelline Wetshine Diamonds shade about six years ago that I really liked, and more recently took a shining to Palladio's Toasted Orange lipstick (link to swatches above, or you can search for "Palladio".) I walk by the Lancome counter pretty much every day at work, but haven't really stopped and taken a good look at the products. I can't believe with as many times as I've walked by those lipsticks that I never noticed that pretty golden-orange! The gift with purchase at our counter right now is your choice of six trial-size products (out of a pre-selected assortment) with your choice of a pink of black bag. I picked the black bag, a Blush Subtil compact in Aplum, two Hypnôse Drama mascaras in Excessive Black, a Black Coffee eyeliner pencil, a Juicy Tubes lipgloss in Beach Plum, and a Rénergie Lift Volumetry moisturizer.  I also got a free sample of the Cils Booster XL, because my representative is awesome.  So here are some swatches of everything except the moisturizer!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moi Minerals Swatches + Review

The Shop: Moi Minerals

What I ordered: A set of the new MOI Minerals Dazzlers
Packaging: I placed this order 9/12/11, and I believe it took a little over two weeks to arrive.  Not bad considering that MOI is based out of Canada.  It came via air mail wrapped in paper and some sort of sticky stuff keeping it all tightly bound together, sealed with a custom MOI sticker.  I've never encountered shipping materials quite like this, but it wasn't off-putting at all.  Inside the package was a business card with a handwritten note, and a baggie containing all of my sparkly pigments.  I received a complimentary shade because of a printer malfunction that resulted in a shipping delay.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Update: Fantastic Faces Cosmetics

Hi, readers! So it's been awhile since we all heard about the antics going on over at Fantastic Faces Cosmetics. Ms. Stephanie said she was discontinuing the neon pigments, and then said she was shutting down completely to take a short break. However, as anybody who has been following this company knows, Ms. Stephanie is about as trustworthy as you can expect somebody to be when they continue to sell harmful dyes as eyeshadow after repeated warnings that they are not intended for cosmetic use.  So she's still selling and she still has the soap dyes listed in her store as eyeshadows. No surprise there, but there have been a few new developments.
Since our last encounter with FFC, Ms. Stephanie appears to have purchased a domain name, and has posted an ingredient list which you can find here.  She has, once again, listed mica as an ingredient and we all know that's not an ingredient according to INCI standards.  The only other additives she lists are titanium dioxide, iron oxide, ferric ferrocyanide, and tin oxide.  Titanium dioxide is a white colorant approved for eyes, lips, nails, and face.  Iron oxide can be red, orange, yellow or black in color (although the only color I saw when I searched for it on TKB was red,) and it is approved for eyes, lips, nails, and face.  Ferric Ferrocyanide is a blue pigment that is approved for eyes, nails, and face, but not lips.  Nothing came up when I searched for tin oxide on TKB, and from a quick Google search, I found out that it is an abrasive that can be absorbed through the skin.  Sounds totally safe to me.  So all in all, Ms. Stephanie's ingredient list includes a white colorant approved for all areas, a red/orange/yellow/black colorant that is safe for all areas, an eye-safe blue colorant that is not lip-safe, and an opacifying skin irritant.  No carmine, which is found in many brighter red-toned pigments, and no chromium oxide green, which is found in many green-toned pigments.  Nothing that would act as a base for a lip product, and certainly nothing that would be a UV-reactive, so we know she's still not disclosing all of her ingredients.  Wonderful.  Now I'm not saying a skilled formulator couldn't mix a yellow pigment with a blue pigment and make a green pigment; that's plausible.  It's already been established, though, that her supplier purchases from TKB, where the only iron oxide available is red.  As most children in preschool would be happy to point out to you, having only a red pigment and a blue pigment limits the colors she is able to produce to reds, blues, and purples.

On a slightly related note, remember up there how I said ferric ferrocyanide is approved for eye use but not for lip use?  Do you also remember the green pigment I mentioned up there, chromium oxide green?  That colorant is also considered safe for eye use but not for lips (it is not considered eye OR lip safe in the state of California.)  Ms. Stephanie has formulated several lip glosses that happen to be blue and green in hue.  If her disclosed ingredients are correct, the blue lip jellies contain an unsafe blue pigment, and the greens contain the same blue mixed with a safe yellow pigment.   So either way they aren't safe, but I speculate that the blues were formulated with ferric ferrocyanide and the greens were actually formulated with chromium oxide green.  If evidence is provided that these are not the colorants used in these lip glosses, I will happily retract that statement (although that would still mean her ingredients list is incomplete.)  There ARE lip-safe blue and green colorants out there, but you do have to look for them; TKB has conveniently placed lip-safe items in a lipstick section, and there are no green or blue micas in that section that match the jelly colors.  I'm certain that reputable companies producing green and blue lippies are doing their homework and using safe colorants, but since Ms. Stephanie has been caught selling soap dyes as eyeshadow and falsifying ingredient lists, I wouldn't put it past her.

Lastly, for those who haven't seen the "micas" being used in the neon set, which is now conveniently being referred to as the bright set, I want to provide links for the neons available from TKB, (all of which have a clear disclaimer stating that they are soap dyes and not approved for cosmetic use,) and cite which FFC colors they match. - color match to the sold out FFC yellow, which I believe was called Sunnyshine - color match to Phizzle - color match to Baybee - color match to Outrageous

I sent Ms. Stephanie an E-mail on 10/3/11 with the above links to the neon pigments and also informed her of the possibility that she may unwittingly be using unsafe pigments in her lip glosses.  I think it's safe to assume that she has nothing to say to me, given that her website states that all E-mails will be answered "with in 24 to 48 hours " [sic].  She has threatened and harassed both bloggers and potential customers just for asking about her ingredients, she posted a horrendously incomplete ingredients list, and is claiming her "bright" pigments are "100% safe" with the disclaimers "if you do not feel comfortable with these products please do not purchase them." and "if you feel you may have an allergies to any of the listed ingredients use at your own risk" [sic].  If you are claiming a product is safe, while at the same time telling your customers to use at their own risk, chances are that said product is not safe.  The moral of the story is: do your homework and go with your gut.  If a company seems suspicious, it's very likely there is a reason you feel uneasy with them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Giveaway Winners

Drumroll, please!

And the winners are...

Sara, Alicia, and Caitie!  Congratulations, ladies, and thanks to everybody who entered!  I will be contacting each of you in the order I just listed to arrange delivery of your prize packs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Facebomb Cosmetics Swatches + Review

What I ordered: A Random Grab Bag (not available to link at the time of this post)

Packaging: I placed this order 9/12/11, and it arrived 9/17/11 in a bubble mailer.  Inside the bubble mailer was a cute little cellophane bag tied with ribbon, and a copy of my invoice with an ingredients list stapled to it.  I got two colors in jars and three samples in baggies.

Today's Swatches:


These swatches were done on bare skin (top row,) and skin prepped with primer (bottom row.  It's UD Primer Potion or MBA Shadow Poxy, but I prepared these weeks ago so I honestly don't remember which one I used.)  I made an additional swatch of Electric Avenue over primer with Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy.  Here's a few shots of a quick look I did with them.

Overall: These shadows adhered pretty well to my bare skin, which is a plus, but the primer set them off exponentially.  And my order shipped really quickly, to boot!  The look I did was pretty soft, but overall these colors are pretty intense with a good deal of sparkle.  Link is a sparkly deep, olive-forest green.  Powder Keg is a sparkly bright blue.  Electric Avenue is a sparkly, glittery medium purple.  P.S. I Love You is a sparkly frosty pink that reminds me of cupcakes.  Lollipop Chainsaw is a shimmery white with blue glitter.  The only thing that I didn't like was the generic ingredients list stapled to my invoice; I would prefer to have individual lists on my jars so I know exactly what's in each pigment.  Shipping was fast, the colors are interesting, and they blend quite well. 

Would I recommend them?:  Absolutely.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brands I Do Not Support

This is a list of brands I do not support.  The reasons vary from one brand to the next, ranging from nondisclosure regarding repackaging to poor customer service to unsafe products to legal threats, harassment, and charity fraud.

Bitchslap and/or Ruthless Cosmetics - Marketing private label products as their own formulations, selling paint wheels as eye-safe that contain colors that are not eye-approved, extremely unprofessional behavior (including profanity and legal threats) in response to videos or blog posts calling them out and asking them to be honest about what they sell, stealing photos from honest indie companies.  See more here.
Crush Cosmetics -  Not the Australian wholesaler, the Etsy shop.  I had a not-so-stellar experience with Crush Cosmetics and found TKB micas that strongly resemble the shadows I received from CC.  Read about my first impression here, then see my followup with the TKB micas here.
Fantastic Faces Cosmetics - Nondisclosure regarding repackaging, marketing UV pigments as eye-approved when they are not, potentially using other unsafe colorants in lip products (although this is not proven, only speculation)  See more here and here.
Glittersniffer Cosmetics - Nondisclosure regarding repackaging, marketing UV pigments as eye-approved when they are not, extreme packaging and shipping inconsistencies, cursing at customers and threatening legal action, editing negative customer reviews on the GS webpage, deleting negative comments from the GS Facebook page, posting GS Complaints blog author's personal information in an effort to remove the blog, lying about charitable contributions, lying about refunds, lying about ingredients and whether or not they are safe and/or vegan-friendly, and the list goes on and on...  Basically the customer service, business practices, and products are sub-par to say the least.  Glittersniffer has repeatedly closed and come back with grand re-openings, probably in the hopes that she'll be able to escape the criticism and that the "rumors" will go away if she lays low for awhile.  Although the GS Complaints blog has not been active in a great while, there are still many accounts of Lela's behavior.  See more here.
Hi-Fi Cosmetics - I had a very negative experience with this company; I somehow was able to make a purchase from a shop that was supposed to be closed, waited almost triple the stated turnaround time, and when I received my order one of my items had leaked (I also questioned whether that product could be used for its intended purpose due to the size of the particles,) and despite three separate contact attempts I got no reply of any kind from the owner.  See my review here.
Kupcake Kutie Cosmetics - Defunct as of 1/26/15 update.  The owner of Kupcake Kutie is related to the owners of Bitchslap/Ruthless Cosmetics.  More repackaged Lady Burd, claiming products are eye-safe when they aren't, in addition to bullying and harassment on behalf of Ruthless.  See more here.
Lime Crime - Almost all of their pigments at one point turned out to be repackaged micas from TKB.  When asked for a response, owner Doe Deere then accused TKB of copying her even though TKB had been established selling the same products long before Lime Crime came into existence.  Doe also sold a dress hemmed with duct tape and responded very inappropriately when it was brought to light later.  See more here.  More recently, there was a huge security breach on the Lime Crime website due to a lapse in the SSL that put all of their customers at risk over the course of several months.
MYO Makeup
- Another seller using what appears to be soap dyes and selling them as eyeshadows.  A reviewer on that Amazon listing says the product burned their eyes, while another on this listing reflects poor customer service including name-calling.  You can see in this listing that the ingredients listed on each color are exactly the same, so clearly the ingredients do not reflect what is actually in the products.  Sketchy, sketchy, sketchy! 
Orglamix - Owner Cheri Tracy was selling repackaged private label mineral makeup on Etsy, branding it as her own handcrafted, vegan-friendly, all-natural, no-nonsense-or-yucky-stuff product.  It came to light, however, that there were second and even third labels on many of her products, some of which listing parabens and animal byproducts in the ingredients (which Cheri claimed not to use in "her" formulations.)  She also purchased stock photography which she claimed was her makeup being modeled, took to deleting comments from the Facebook page before eventually disabling fan posting, stopped sending products (leaving many customers without their money and without their purchases,) and wrote an official response to the allegations that cleverly skirted around the issues at hand.  Oh, and she lied about Etsy shutting down her shop for non-delivery and disappeared on "vacation," surfacing again several months later with a new brick-and-mortar store called Three Twelve Tudor.  Orglamix is now back up and running, and as far as I can tell, still lying about ingredients, repackaging, and stock photography.  See more here.
Pure Luxe Cosmetics - Repackaging, unprofessional behavior in response to a blog post featuring a photo from the shop (which did not disclose where the photo came from, therefore not pointing fingers in any way,) violations of Etsy TOS (listing the same item in more than one shop, listing private label items as handmade.) See more here

Edited 3/20/15

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hi-Fi Cosmetics Swatches + Review

The Shop: Hi-Fi Cosmetics
My Order: I ordered a full-size Shimmer Dust in Famous, and Paparazzi Flash Powder in RIOT
Packaging:  I placed my order on August 5th, and received shipping information via PayPal on September 21st, but the package does not show as accepted at the Post Office until the following day.  More on that later.  My order arrived in a bubble mailer, with the two full-size products in a ziploc baggie and a business card and two bagged samples in another ziploc baggie.

Today's Swatches:
Look at the size of some of those particles... Eye-safe?

So the shadows are nice enough (although I did expect more sparkle from Famous.) but the size of the particles in RIOT is dubious...  Some of them are very fine, but the larger particles are about four times the size of the small ones.  It's not the huge chunky glitter you'd find in a grade school craft closet,  but it looks very comparable to the glitter I used to make locker signs for cheerleading in High School.  I don't really want to put that on my eyes...  Swatched on bare skin with a foiled stripe down the center (top row) and skin prepped with My Beauty Addiction's Shadow Poxy (bottom row.)

Overall: I understand (after making my order and doing some research as to what might be taking so long) that Hi-Fi did a Heartsy deal in early July, just two days shy of a month before I placed my order.  Normally, I wouldn't mind a long turnaround time.  I understand that things get crazy sometimes and it's really hard to stay on top of things.  I have no problem with having to wait if I know what's going on.  However, if Veronica was still in the wake of her Heartsy madness, there should have been some sort of announcement in her shop.  I do not recall seeing any such announcement for an extended TAT, because if it had been prominently posted somewhere I probably would have held off on ordering.  So I placed my order and sort of forgot about it until I was looking through my Etsy purchases and noticed that over a month later this one hadn't been marked as "shipped."  I tried to send her a convo through Etsy, but that didn't work and the link to her shop brought up a 404 error.  So then I tried to E-mail her, and received a form letter about her extended TAT, the first I had heard about the Heartsy deal.  In this E-mail, Veronica states that "My 12-15 business day TAT has been extended.  I'm doing everything in my power to get orders out the door and emails answered as quickly as possible" and also that "Hi-Fi Cosmetics will be temporarily closed for ordering starting on Monday, August 1."  These pieces of information would have come in handy when I was perusing her totally-not-closed Etsy shop filled with products on August 5th.  Having gotten no response through E-mail, I looked up Hi-Fi on Facebook and noticed many others were missing orders.  I made a post on the Facebook page on September 12th that went completely ignored.  Six days later, Veronica started posting on the Facebook page again, but had still not acknowledged either of my contact attempts.  She posted that the remaining orders would be going out that week, and listed the order numbers.  My order number was not on the list, so I responded asking why and included my order number.  No response, but I did receive shipping information from PayPal three days later and my package was accepted at the Post Office the next day.  Honestly, I don't know what her usual turnaround time is; I assume based on the information in the automatic reply message that it's 12-15 days, and that's fine.  However, given that I had no idea there was an extension, or how long the extension was (the E-mail did not give an estimate on a timeframe) I would expect some sort of response.  It's also noteworthy that the Facebook post I responded to first, dated August 31st, she said she was waiting on lip gloss tubes to get the remaining orders out.  Several people commented on that post, myself included, who were waiting on orders with only eyeshadows, and our questions elicited no public response from Veronica.  My reply was almost two weeks after the original post.  My second post was six days later, once she reappeared and was actively posting about re-opening, price changes, and selectively answering any questions that didn't have to do with missing or incorrect orders.  It took three more days to receive my shipping information, and another day to actually get my package in the mail.  The original, already-pretty-long TAT of 12-15 days was nearly tripled, and I had no idea there was an extension in the first place.  And not a word from Veronica, even after my package arrived.  No apology or personal note of any kind was included.  Aaaaand as icing on this disaster cake, one of my jars wasn't closed properly and leaked considerably.  I know others have had wonderful experiences with Hi-Fi, and I hope for her other customers that this is an isolated incident, but this is a business I will not support in the future.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giveaway... Just Because!

Okay, guys, here's the deal.  I'm hosting a giveaway.  There are three fabulous prize packs featuring indie companies I use frequently.  The first place winner will receive the wallet of their choice from Tinymeat, the 3g sample trio of their choice from The Starshine Company, and a full-size Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics.

Wallet Options

Sample Trio Options

Bouffant Shadow

How to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me which item(s) you are most excited about.
2. Follow the blog with Google Friend Connect.
3. Follow the blog with Networkedblogs.
4. Follow @UrbanCritique on Twitter.
5. Follow The Urban Critique on Facebook.
6. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per entrant, please.)

Please use a separate comment for each entry; if you put all of your entries in the same comment, you will only be counted once.  If you follow, please tell where you are following and leave the name you used to follow, i.e. I followed you on Facebook with the name Jane Doe.  If you tweet, you must provide a link to your tweet.  Please provide a valid E-mail address with all entries so that I can contact you if you win.  Open to fans who are 18 or older, no residency restrictions.  Winners will be chosen at random using a number generator.  Each prize has an approximate value of $22, and all prizes were purchased by me using my own money.  Open for entries immediately, closing 10/3/11.  Winner announced 10/4/11.  Good luck!

My Pretty Zombie Swatches + Review

The Shop: My Pretty Zombie

My Order: An OMG You Pick 5 Sampler pack including Henrywinkle, Unicorn Pee, Vanity, Hangover, and Bettie

Packaging: I actually had intended to make a post about MPZ awhile ago, but my shadow jars disappeared after I set the open box on the bathroom counter.  I waited awhile to see if they would resurface somewhere, but they never turned back up so I re-ordered.  Both orders were sent quickly in a small box.  Inside the box was an invoice, a fake finger, and another box filled with goodies.  Pink plastic grass was inside of both of my boxes, with shrink-wrapped jars inside and three sample baggies that coordinated with one of the colors I chose.  The samples were labeled with color names and the website; the full-size jars were labeled with color names, ingredients, company name and address, and net weight.  From what I understand, this is the proper FDA labeling procedure and not a lot of smaller businesses include everything (no address, no net weight, etc.,) so it's awesome to see an indie business playing by the rules.  I placed this order Monday, it was marked shipped on Thursday, and it arrived Saturday.

Today's Swatches:

 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent
 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent
 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent

Swatches applied to bare skin (top) and skin prepped with MBA Shadow Poxy (bottom.)

Overall: Most of the shadows all have a smooth application and good color, and could stand to be used by themselves for more subtle looks.  Unicorn Pee is quite a glitterbomb; I couldn't seem to get it to stay at all on bare skin, and there was still a bit of fallout with the primer, but I think it would be great as a liner, or to pat over a bold shadow with Pixie Epoxy.  Hangover is a terrific matte hot pink.  Amacyst has a TON of glitter with pretty minimal fallout and a very rich purple base.  I definitely want to get a full size of it.  Gorgeous!  Quinsy, Disquiet, Gangrenous, and Anthrax all have an iridescent effect that's very pretty.  Vanity, Henrywinkle, Bettie, and 996 all have a nice shimmer without glitter.  I'm really exited about these colors and I definitely intend to order more when I get a chance.  If you haven't checked out MPZ yet, I recommend you do so!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sidebar Links

Tonight I'm going to go through and put links to all of my reviews in the sidebar so they're easy to find!  Tomorrow I post giveaway details AND a new review!  Yay!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


It's been decided, and everything has arrived!  All three winners will get something from Tinymeat, a full-size (5g) Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics, and a collection of three shadows in sample jars (3g) from The Starshine Company.  These are some seriously awesome prizes, guys, so be sure to tell everybody you think might be interested in winning some great indie products!  Full details (and swatches) on Monday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway Update

I have placed an order for the remainder of the giveaway prizes, but I haven't received them yet.  I'm thinking about having the giveaway around the end of the month, with a two week timespan for entries.  Each winner will receive a little somethin' from Tinymeat, a Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics, and an eyeshadow trio from The Starshine Company.  So that's going to be pretty awesome.  Tell your friends.

In other news, I am unsure as to whether or not I will be doing a review or look today.  I have an optometrist appointment at which I will need to have my eyes dilated, so they will probably be really sensitive most of the day.  And I know it will make my eyes very watery, and I will rub them a bunch, so I don't want to put anything on beforehand.  So if I don't post anything later today, I hope this little update will suffice for today and I will be sure to get something up during the week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This probably won't be as exciting for you as it is for me, but this morning I picked up an Ottlite.  It's an HD fluorescent lamp that provides bright, true color lighting, especially useful for detailed hobbies.  In our home, it will serve multiple purposes, and one of them is better pictures for my blog.  Here are some samples...

Left to right: Bombastico from Linnaeus Cosmetics, Metamorphosis from Scaredy Cat Cosmetics, and Petal from The Starshine Company.  Top row swatched with My Beauty Addiction's, Shadow Poxy, Bottom row over Urban Decay's Primer Potion in Eden.  I wanted to show you a pale color, a bright color, and a saturated color for variety.
Without Ottlite.  Notice the colors don't look particularly sparkly, and they're kind of flat.

With Ottlite.  Click to enlarge and you will really see the difference in the sparkle and depth of color.  Yay!

Monday, September 5, 2011

FOTD: My Face But Better

I see a lot of people talking about a shade of lipstick or gloss that's supposed to be "your lips but better," so I decided I should take that one step further and do a whole look based on the "_____ but better" philosophy: natural-looking and simple, not cakey or obvious.  The first thing I did was curl my lashes and apply mascara.  I use black since my brows and lashes are quite dark already, but if you have lighter brows and lashes, you may want to use brown for this look instead.  The next thing I did was use a white pencil on the inner corners of my eyes to highlight them.  If you have darker skin, you can opt for gold as a highlighter instead to keep your look tame.  I lined my eyes top and bottom with a dry neutral mineral shadow, Amber Dust from TSC.  I lined my lips with an NYX Peekaboo Neutral lipliner pencil, filled them in with NYX Diamond Sparkle Lipstick in Sparkling Beige, and put a clear gloss over the top.  I finished by applying mineral eyeshadow to my the apples of my cheeks and the bridge of my nose as blush; I used TSC's Petal.  Again with the lips and cheeks, if you have a darker or lighter skintone, these colors may not work as a neutral for you, so choose your colors accordingly.  I did not use any foundation, or primer, or concealer for this look, so my freckles show through, the darkness under my eyes is more apparent than if I had a full "face" on, etc. but it's supposed to look natural, right?

Pictures today from my new camera!  I decided on the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530 based on reviews, price point, and a perusal of images on Flickr.  I'm pretty happy with the quality I've seen from my shots so far, and I'd say that it's well worth the money for $100 on sale at Best Buy.  You can click on any image to enlarge; the only editing that has been done to these photos is cropping.

Lip Stuff

Whole look

Close-up Eyes

 Close-up Lips
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