August 30, 2011

Review: Linnaeus Cosmetics - Axolotl Collection

So recently I found out I won a giveaway over at Toxid Lotus for Linnaeus Cosmetics' Axolotl collection. I was beyond ecstatic because I've been wanting to give Linnaeus a try and also two out of the three colors are ones that I don't have anything even remotely similar in my collection. I had originally shied away from pinks but as you'll see soon, I love these.

Unfortunately, I was a dolt and forgot to take pictures of the packaging but it was simple and something that I would expect from a company that uses wildlife as inspiration. It came in a canvas drawstring pouch with a rabbit stamped on it. It was also tied with natural raffia and had a little MOO card with all of the company info on it. I detached the raffia and put the card on the drawstring so that when I show it off, the information is right there.

From L to R in natural light: Puerile, Branchial, Archetypal
Puerile - This is the lightest of the colors. The website says:

The name of this eyeshadow references the perpetual immature state of the Axolotl; they do not developmentally advance as far as most salamanders. Puerile is a delicate, pink rose shade. It has a hint of a warm yellow-toned background that is overlain flecks of white and pink.

Puerile is a shade that is sheer and light. The main shade that is great to wear alone for everyday or pair it with one of the other colors for a little more depth. It also makes a wonderful highlight color. I agree that it has a bit more of a yellow undertone which is why it goes great with both the cooler Branchial as well as the warmer Archetypal. The formulation is very smooth and light which surprised me in a good way. I had very little fall out over Too Faced Shadow Insurance as well.

L to R with Flash: Puerile, Branchial, Archetypal
Branchial -

“Branchial” is used to describe the gill filaments in vertebrate anatomy. This became the name of this particular eyeshadow because Axolotls keeps their gills their entire life, unlike other salamanders. Branchial leans a bit toward a brick red; it has orange undertones to it. It has a cardinal red shimmer with flecks of deep pink sparkle throughout.

This description was a smidge off to me. Especially when placed next to Archetypal Branchial seems to be on the cooler side of the spectrum. The photos on Linnaeus' website were very true to what I received though which surprised me. For a moment, I thought this description was for Archetypal and I had to double check. Despite this, I like using this color on the top half of my lid over Puerile. It deepens it just a little bit and works as a great in-between color for when I am layering all three. Yet again, a smooth application with little fall out.

Archetypal -

Archetypal is a maroon based red with a gorgeous, subtle sheen. There are glints of dark and light pink dusted over top. This shade was coined Archetypal due to the fact that unfortunately, Axolotls are excellent model organisms in research. This means that they are ideal to study because among other reasons, they have a relatively well understood development pattern and also have the ability to regenerate limbs.

Hmmm... I'm not sure I would have picked out maroon as the base for this. It looks a lot more toward the coral/copper end of the spectrum and actually seems to be a great dupe for the sample of Rockeresque Beauty's Beating Heart which isn't available yet. It's warm, orange-y, and full of glitter. This was the color that I had the most issues with fall out. This wasn't necessarily because of the amount of shadow that ended up on my cheek so much as what little did end up there made my cheek turn copper. Just something to be aware of and keep some makeup remover handy and do this before you apply blush to your cheeks.

Overall, still a very squee worthy set. With the light formulation and sheer, glittery colors this is something that stands apart from most of the other indie products I've tried. Definitely worth taking a look at and I love the inspiration behind the collections. A lot of these colors could possibly be found elsewhere but on the same token if you enjoy conservation and wildlife, these are for you.

August 25, 2011

LotD: Bejeweled and Bedazzled

Okay, with all of the buzz lately about Win or Die from Geek Chic Cosmetics, I knew I wanted to experiment with two of the darker colors in the set. These are also the two colors that I received as full sizes from a friend of mine. Across the Narrow Sea and Born in Fire are two amazing jewel tones that go amazingly well together and with a color such as The Imp also in the same set, you really can't go wrong looking like a bejeweled beauty the next time you go out.

I didn't use The Imp in this look but it still remains one of my favorite colors.

Although the focus is on my eyes in this photo, there's a lot more to this look than just the eye color. First I used Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Porcelain from Laura Mercier. It's not too heavy but gives me some of the coverage I need.

For the eyes, I used a multi-layered technique. First, I primed my eyes with Too-Faced Shadow Insurance and then I went over that with the Caviar Creme Eye Colour from Laura Mercier in Amethyst. Over the creme color, which is a warm taupe, I patted Clinique Color Surge Eye Shadow Trio in the base Lilac color over the base to wash out the color a bit. Then, I took Born in Fire from Geek Chic Cosmetics and blended it into the crease. That's the smoky purple that you see on my eyes. Then, I wet my brush and patted Across the Narrow Sea on just a little of the inner corner of my eye and blended it out.

That's it for the colors on the eye. I lined it in Wet n' Wild Mega Liner in black and just slightly winged it up at the outer edge. I tried to make sure that the wing followed my lower lash line. Then I finished with Full Blown Mascara from Laura Mercier in black and as I applied, I brushed my lashes toward the outer edge of my eye.

For my cheeks, I just barely touched my blush brush into Kingslayer from Geek Chic Cosmetics (which is also from the Win or Die set) and tapped it on each cheek and blended. I didn't want too much as that would wash me out a bit. This just added a little bit of warmth and sparkle.

For my lips, I just used a few swipes of Tokidoki Lip Balm Stain in Pink Martini. It enhances my natural lip color to look more pink and it's not as dramatic as straight up hot pink lipstick.

Product List:
For the Face:
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 - Porcelain
For the Eyes:
  • Too-Faced Shadow Insurance
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Creme Eye Color - Amethyst
  • Geek Chic Cosmetics - Born in Fire
  • Geek Chic Cosmetics - Across the Narrow Sea
  • Wet n' Wild Mega Liner - Black
  • Laura Mercier Full Blown Mascara - Black
For the Cheeks:
  • Geek Chic Cosmetics - Kingslayer
For the Lips:
  • Tokidoki Lip Balm Stain - Pink Martini

August 24, 2011

Review: Geek Chic Cosmetics - Win or Die (6 out of 8 colors)

Disclosure: The two full size colors I am reviewing were bought for me as a gift by a friend with no affiliation with Geek Chic Cosmetics. The four samples I am reviewing were a prize from winning fan favorite in GCC's Look of the Day contest.

Oh A Song of Ice and Fire, what a history you and I have. Not to say this is a bad thing but some friends of mine have been trying to get me to read the books for about six years. Little did they know all it would take to get me hooked was a single episode with an all-star cast. As soon as I realized Geek Chic Cosmetics was coming out with a Game of Thrones inspired set, I knew most of them had to be mine.

Win or Die, the new set, contains mostly colors with a shimmer and I'm not complaining at all. I tend to wear glittery and shimmery eye shadows regardless so this set is right up my alley in that respect. The colors I received were Across the Narrow Sea, Born in Fire, The Imp, The Pointy End, and Kingslayer. Two full size and four samples respectively.

Since I owe you some Geek Chic swatches from my previous purchase, I have included some that are in similar color families for comparison.
A lush, rich turquoise as deep as the sea at the end of the world. More green than blue, with gleaming seafoam highlight and a glimmer of aqua sparkles. Goes on opaqaue and smooth for even coverage. Can be used wet as an eyeliner. Not lip safe.
I think they got this description spot on. The color does go on opaque and smooth and it only took one or two swipes to get a good, solid color even without primer. I don't own any other turquoise colors like this so I was eager to try it out and I'm very pleased. I can see myself using it for LARP or even for an evening look.

With Flash
In Natural Light

Other than the inspiration, this color makes me think of mermaids, sirens, and other sea creatures of myth and fantasy.

The rich, regal violet of the Targaryens with smokey indigo depths. Silky, with a pearlescent sheen and a scattering of glittering ruby embers. Born in Fire goes on opaque makes for a smoldering smoky eye. It can also be used wet as an eyeliner. Not lip safe.

The swatch looked only slightly brighter than what I got but this was 100% a pleasant surprise. I own three other shades of Geek Chic purple and what I love is that each one of them is unique. You'll see all of them swatched side-by-side below. I think that this would go great paired with Naked Wedding, Game Over, or What's Under the Helmet? equally well although it's on the warmer end of the spectrum with Naked Wedding.

Top to Bottom: Naked Wedding, Game Over, What's Under the Helmet?, and Born in Fire
With Flash

L to R: Naked Wedding, Game Over, What's Under the Helmet?, and Born in Fire
Natural Light

Born in Fire in Jar

An opulent, indulgent gold as rich as a Lannister and overflowing with silver stags, golden dragons and glittering ruby sparkles. As much bling as we could possibly fit into one chest.
Arguably my favorite color of the set. It's more than likely tied with Kingslayer because they both blend together so well and make an amazing glittery yet neutral look. At first, when I swatched it, I couldn't see the red glitter in it or the silver but when I put it on to wear it there it was! An amazing color for Gryffindorks and people who just like gold. Since my pic is blurry however I will warn you that, like the metallics of the Fang Banger's Quartet, The Imp contains metal alloys so be sure to order a sample a test for an allergic reaction before using.
The swatches will be below after my review of Kingslayer so that yuo can compare.

A pearly white cloak of the Kingsguard which shines copper and golden in the light. The Kingslayer is iridescent, as multi-faceted and complex as the man himself. Kingslayer makes for a lovely highlight color and can even be used on the cheeks to add a coppery glow.

My other favorite color of the set. With a pearl base and warm gold and copper glow, this is going to be a go to color for me. I even tried it lightly on my cheeks as suggested and it is amazing. It goes well with The Imp although the other is an outcast of the Lannister clan and both blend amazingly well and have a smooth consistency. It didn't take long for me to build up a nice color even without primer either.

From L to R With Flash: Eyes of the Werewolf, Viking King, Kingslayer, The Imp

L to R in Natural Light: Eyes of the Werewolf, Viking King, Kingslayer, The Imp
A taupe with a real edge to it, The Pointy End is your graduation from practice neutrals. Pearlescent and smooth as summer silk, with a sharp silver glint. The Pointy end makes for a lovely twist on a neutral smoky eye and can be used wet as an eyeliner.

These next two colors were interesting for me. I definitely wanted to try them but I wasn't sure how they'd look on me or how I would work them into my looks. To my great surprise, The Pointy End looks amazing both as a liner and also with Kingslayer for a smokey look. The Pointy End is a bit more cool toned as opposed to warm like Kingslayer or The Imp but a great color nonetheless.

Like a sword hidden beneath the black cloak, Brotherhood of Crows is a dusky black base with a glint of metallic gunmetal. In the light, it shines with a host of subtle silver shimmers. Goes on semi-opaque but is easily built up to full coverage. Can be used wet as an eyeliner.
Another go to color for me, as I play many different flavors of Vampire in the Camarilla Fan Club I see my Sabbat character wearing this quite a bit. She's a femme fatale and sneaky. When I first applied this color it took a bit to build up but I was okay with that. That means I can get a light dusting of gray without it looking like too much. When I used it as liner it was great and smokey. I'm not 100% on what I would pair it with but it's definitely going in my experiment pile.

L to R: The Pointy End and Brotherhood of Crows

L to R: The Pointy End and Brotherhood of Crows
Overall, I am very impressed with this set. So many of the colors, even if they're close to others have a hint of something that makes them special. The Pointy End adds a bit of sparkle to a color that I use often as a liner and The Imp adds a bit of spark to gold with it's red glitter. Although I have to experiment more with some of the colors I can say all of these colors are a must have for the smokey eye shadow connoisseur.

As you can see by how much I've been reviewing Geek Chic, I would absolutely order again and again. When I've put notes on something, I've gotten great suggestions from Chantel and Deb on how to improve my application and help me get the most out of my product. This time, with the sealed jars, I also didn't have as much extra fall out which made me feel a lot better and a lot less messy.

Thank you to Chantel and Deb for holding the Look of the Day contest in the first place and thank you to my friend Jeff Allen for buying the two full size jars. Also thank you to everyone who voted for mt Cortana inspired look.

August 23, 2011

Preview: OPI Muppet Holiday Collection

So I checked my e-mail today and I'm on the mailing list for OPI's Press Releases. As soon as I saw this one I knew I *had* to post a preview and some of my first impressions on the pictures they sent me. I am sure that the final product may look immensely different as these are renders.

First up, we have Animal-istic! The OPI press release says:

This wild bright red cannot be tamed!
 This color absolutely fits Animal (pictured to the left) in my mind. In fact, the color of his fur not withstanding, I've always considered red to be a wild color. I grew up watching Muppets Take Manhattan and in that movie, Animal was always chasing after pretty women.

Definitely a color I will be checking out.

Next we have Meep Meep Meep. The company says that Missing out on this fuchsia would make you weep, weep, weep! I'm not sure this color quite embodies the character it was named after to my eyes. However with it being a Winter Holiday collection, I don't think the orange I would have envisioned for Beaker would have worked either. I think the jury is still out on this one until I see the color in the bottle.
Now for Wocka Wocka. Named for Fozzie's post-joke chuckle, I would have expected this to either be a pink like the spots on his tie or a tomato red. It was Fozzie who was always getting tomatoes thrown at  him wasn't it? While OPI may be right and this berry will make everything fun an merry this is too dark for my pale skin tone. Especially in Winter.

The popular deep berry makes everything fun and merry!
Wow... Pepe's Purple Passion is deep. I think I also just made sense of the inspiration by saying that. :) Pepe is one of my best loved newer Muppets. Still alas, the color is too deep for me as I am PALE BEYOND GET OUT. However I will look at it in person and revisit my thoughts then.

This deep, decadent shade is the best purple ever, okay!

I decided to lump together the Miss Piggy inspired colors. As she would demand it herself, she would want to be the center of attention and she absolutely is with four distinct polish colors in this collection. I also think these are perfect for Miss Piggy. Each and every one of them reminds me either of her or an outfit she's worn. I've seen her in both hot pink and purple and her lipstick is red.

From L to R:
Designer, de Better! - And this light metallic bronze is ready for the runway.
Excuse Moi! - Ahem! This pink glitter has something to say!
Divine Swine - The finest, most fabulous magenta glitter ever. 
Gettin’ Miss Piggy With It! - Red glittery fun for everyone!

Warm and Fozzie is more my kind of color and it reminds me a lot more of the character who inspired it. It's a metallic copper which the company describes as A feel-good shade of metallic copper.

Where would we be if there wasn't a Gonzo inspired shade of blue? A little lighter than expected but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Also, I love any and all glitter colors. This is something I would more than likely pick up for casual day to day with jeans. The company describes this as Gone Gonzo! - The aqua-blue glitter is taking over the world! I kind of hope it does so we can see more colors like this one.
As Kermit once said, It's Not Easy Bein' Green. However the Fresh Frog of Bel-Air is a color that I will not miss. glitter that prefers the greener things in life. Something new to me, at least, and while I've seen lime green in other sets, I don't think I've seen one with glitter quite like this.

All in all, I want to say that since I am judging this in a press release, I am in no way passing final judgement and will more than likely be publishing a proper review this November when the set is released. It is definitely something I am looking forward to however.

Image Heavy: Weekend of AWESOME

So there's a lot that happened this past weekend on the geeky front that I thought I would share with you, my readers. I went to MatsuriCon on Friday without a badge and a total stranger was nice enough to buy me a badge for Saturday! It made my night/day and I had an amazing time.

First of all, my cosplay:

That's me on the left as Pichu from Pokemon. In my 12 years of costuming, this was by far one of my most popular for others wanting to take photos of me. It makes me proud to have done something that so many people want photos of no matter what the reasoning. This was my Friday costume.

As you can see, there was an amazing showing of Pokemon fans. This may have been in part of Veronica Taylor (Ash Ketchum) and Eric Stuart (Brock and James) being guests of the con but it was so much fun to see the creativity that ran rampant.

Saturday was kind of a last minute thing and me just having fun. The other guests of the con were voice actors from Hetalia: Axis Powers. So the more I thought about things, the more I thought that nowadays, Italy as portrayed in Hetalia would be hitting up the con scene and geeking out. So this is my Modern Italy cosplay from Saturday.

Sunday involved some Steampunk adventure with the crew of the Airship Archon. A lot of the members had never been to COSI before so I proposed that we go there and start off in the Adventure exhibit as it's something I knew was right up their alley. We went to most of the exhibits and I hadn't been back to COSI since I volunteered so it was a nice bit of nostalgia for me. I need to work on retranslating some of the writings and redoing my notes.