Oh man. Ok, remember how I said Fyrinnae was a little tricky to work with, due to all those amazing sparkles that either end up everywhere but on your eyelid, or glued on with no blendability? Well, the new colors I got last Friday just blew all my skepticism out the proverbial window. I chose more smooth shimmer colors, along with a few Arcane Magic colors with extra sparkle. They are abso-frickin-lutely gorgeous. And I must also report now, that I have had some customer service experience with them, that these guys ROCK. I ordered  the full size highlighter Confidence, that mystical formula that is just the perfect pearly pink shade which helps brighten up my winter-weary skin in miraculous ways. But instead of that shade, I got In the Spotlight, which is a lovely pale gold shade that would be great as a browbone highlight, but I don't think works for my pale skin.
So I shoot them an email asking if perhaps anything could be done, and within 10 minutes I get a reply, apologizing for the mixup and promising a quick shipment of the correct shade and an extra. Now, I hardly expected that. I wasn't upset, didn't need any extras. I understood they are super short staffed and swamped. I'm not sure WHAT I expected, perhaps to send them a picture to prove that I had gotten the wrong shade, maybe to have it included in my next order, whatever. But I never expected to get the replacement, after sending the email Friday night, today, Monday! And, included was a very generous sample of Bewitching, a lilac-y mauve blush that I didn't expect to work on me, but actually looks pretty nice. This brand is all about surprises! The site is still a challenge, and has been down more frequently than up lately, but I can deal with that given the quality of what I've received. Behold, my haul!

Valhalla was my free sample! Haven't worn it yet but it is a simple, pretty dark lilac

There's not a single color from this order that I don't love. Now that I have some smoother colors, I can mix those with that sparkly ones and make some blendable looks that I like. Like, today for instance, I did this look with Jade Ghost (this luminous, refreshingly minty green), BFTE's Cool Mist, Polar Bear, and Vodka. This picture was taken after a full day of work, 12 hours after application. This shows you how well it holds up after using Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Pixie Epoxy. It is really SO much more colorful than the picture shows, but here's the general idea:

Rapunzel Had Extensions is another highlight for me: A peachy, salmon pink with golden shimmer; it is going to be a very versatile color for me. And Polar Bear is a shimmery taupe in the jar, but applies as a light metallic gold. Vodka looks steely and dark in the jar, but when applied it mellows into a slate sort of green, a perfect darker crease color as a foil to the lighter Jade Ghost. I could go through them all, but they are basically just all stunning. Get them now. If the site is up, get something NOW!

Sorry, Valhalla got cut off

You just can't take me anywhere- Fairie Glamour is really Cupcake Sprinkles
Ok, so I broke down and put in another order with BFTE, not 2 days after I got an awesome haul, the 16 piece sample travel kit, the COTW (Sweet and Spicy), 2 prizes for my looks being chosen for the 365 Days of BFTE contest, and two full sized foundations (Alabaster and Ivory, which, when combined, give a pretty damn good match to my tempermental skin.) So in my latest order I ordered their 24 piece brush set and another travel kit. Andwhen that arrives, that's it. I'm cut off. That's the end. The limit. No more. Bye-Bye Birdie.
(For now);)
Here's my haul, which included a few colors for friends and co-workers who were interested in trying out the products.:

And here's a look I did with some of my new colors. It's very Spring-inspired. Use Spirit on the lid, a bit of Rain Forest at the outer corner, then sweep Poolside up on top of the crease. $10 Pineapple is an inner corner highlight and Oasis is used as a liner.

Just a quick note to report that BFTE is having a Spring Break Sale through Sunday 3/20, http://bftecosmetics.com/sale-c-58. I just made a rather large order on Tuesday though so I'm still weighing the financial prudence of making another order, even though it is soooo tempting. I also made an order with Fyrinnae, and am happy I got through, as the site has been very erratic lately (I believe they are currently very short-staffed). Anway, the BFTE sale (of course!) covered the very things I already bought, a Basic Kit and the 16 piece Sample Kit. I'm feeling a little twitchy about it...could I use another Sample Kit? I mean, it IS 9 dollars off...but then, I hear they'll be coming out with new colors soon. Ugh. Such torment...reports to come when I get my order♥
Yes, this is as good and as decadent as it sounds. I couldn't decide what tasty bite to make the other day so I decided to throw some of my favorite dessert components into a harmonious amalgam of sweet sweet goodness. And it wasn't actually that difficult. First off,  I used a chocolate cake mix. Foodies may demonize them, but honestly, if you doctor them up, they taste pretty damn good and can't be beat for moistness. It's hard to get a from-scratch cake to to consistently work out as well as a trusty, faithful cake mix. Use whatever recipe you like, just make (3)9 inch layers.
I use the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor, http://www.cakemixdoctor.com/. I learned how to bake with her cookbooks, and they have always worked out great for me. They give me the time to focus my energy on whipping up mad scientist concoctions (like topping the cake with browned chocolate meringue) instead of slaving over the cake foundation.
So, get your cake batter of choice prepared and then evenly distribute the batter between the 3 pans.
Bake them, let them cool, and then you need to make the chocolate meringue for topping.

Chocolate Meringue

1/4 cup  powdered egg whites
3/4 cup  warm water
1/4 teaspoon  cream of tartar
1 cup  sugar
2 Teaspoons cocoa powder
Do yourself a favor, and save some time and hassle by using meringue powder. No egg cracking, no worrying over getting the teeniest bit of egg yolk into the egg whites, consequently deflating them dead in their tracks. Just beat the powdered whites and water in a stand mixer until combined, add the cream of tartar, and mix until foamy. Then slowly, a bit at a time, add the sugar and cocoa powder (use a variety with low fat content, like Hershey's Special Dark, just to be on the safe side.) Beat until glossy, stiff peaks form.

 I actually should have beaten my meringue just a tad more, you want to be able to get nice decorative peaks on the cake, nooks and crannies for the oven to get all golden brown and carmelized. You can tell the peaks on my cake were a bit wimpy and melted a bit before they could solidify.  But Whatever. What matters is how it tastes, in Liber Vix land.
So all you have to do now is assemble. Top one layer with a thin (or thick!) coating of Nutella.
Top with the second layer, and add some blackberry jam (or jam of your choosing. I just like a little sweet/tart to cut through all the rich chocolate). The top with the final layer, and cover with the meringue, spreading evenly as possible on the sides and adding little flips and peaks on the top. Then bake for 5-7 minutes at 450 degrees F.  Keep an eye on it, because it can go from browned to burned rather quickly. And then....
Let cool, or...don't. I didn't.


This is one of my favorite looks to do with my BFTE, and found that it was even more vibrant than usual when layered over Pixie Epoxy. It's more of an Autumnal look, but at night it has a nice smokey gold thing going on, which is a nice change from the typical smokey eye.
This is applied over Too Faced Shadow insurance: Autumn is on the lid (Best metallic gold ever! It's a primary pigment you can get from TKB trading if you want a lot, but I'm fine with getting it at BFTE for my purposes.)                                         

 Then I put a tiny bit of Pixie Epoxy over the outer edge of the Autumn into the crease, and patted Gable over it. This allowed the sparkles of Gable to stick, while still allowing me to blend Autumn into the other colors. After this, Vamp is applied, sort of overlapping the edges of Autumn and Gable in the crease, and the intense red/gold sparkle turns into a really pretty rusty orange/gold color that helps give it a nice gradient effect. I lined underneath with Celtic Charms and brushed a tiny bit of Canyon on the browbone to soften the edges, and that's it :)
This particular scenario pretty much takes the cake when it comes to my pet peeves. Nothing garners the exact opposite intended response faster than this behavior. It makes me feel particularly venomous. I smell blood in the water when I hear this.

Dear Perfect Stranger:

Please refrain from approaching me, a fellow perfect stranger, and commanding me, with undue insistence, to smile. I find it presumptuous, invasive, and rude to take it upon yourself to dictate not only how I should feel, but apparently of more importance to you, how I express those feelings. You do not know me. You do not know if my cat died today, if I am sick, or if I am mentally writing my grocery list and therefore preoccupied so as to not be focused on artificially manipulating my smiling muscles. Nor should I feel obligated to tell you if any of those things are occurring, so as to explain away my non-smiling face in the hope of winning your approval. I should not feel required to tell you that my face, at rest, naturally looks a little pouty. I have a small mouth and full lips, and if I'm not grinning ear to ear, I might appear sullen. When you tell me to "smile" ,is this a request, a command, or a threat? Can you not understand how this might result in the opposite desired reaction, how this can cause one to feel defensive, taken-aback, and resentful? All feelings that do NOT typically result in a smile. Also, Perfect Stranger, I am standing here, by myself, minding my own business. Would it look very natural for me to start smiling like some demented Cheshire Cat, without provocation? No, it would not. In addition, Perfect Stranger, would you approach me without greeting and command me to "smile" because you actually care about my mood or simply because you are conditioned to believe that it is socially ordained for women to appear pleasant, sweet, and agreeable? Would you approach me and say this if I were a man? I really don't think so. So, in conclusion, Perfect Stranger, please engage in some self-reflection and ask yourself why you care so much whether I am smiling or not. Actually, why don't you just focus on your own mood, and let me worry about mine.
Thank you, sincerely, Liber Vix
All this thinking about fragrances has got me wanting to break them down into my top faves and not-so-faves. It involves reaching Deep into my personal store-house of memory, a dense, thick, dusty library of filed moments and micromoments. Broad, sweeping compositions that span seasons, others whispers that come and go in an instant. But they're all there: stacked and cataloged and waiting to be anazlyed.
So, here's a feeble attempt, not in any particular order:
Favorite smells:
1. Ciara- must mention again the magic of not really prestige scents transforming when mingly with one's own unique skin into something extraordinary.
2. Noel: A home scent from Crabtree and Evelyn: it defines Christmas for me. In high school when I was depressed about being there I'd put a few drops on a cotton ball and literally take it with me, smelling it when I was in need of something comforting: it's all pine forest, incense, cranberry, snow, and fire. It's utterly my Happy.
3. Wood smoke. Heavenly. Consequently, the smell of roasting marshmallows, caramelized and crispy-brown.
4. Coffee.
5. Banana bread, gingerbread, or basically anything baking.
6. My cat Maisy's fur, slightly wet after she's been bathing. Odd, but no more so than people saying babies' heads smell of milk and roses.
7. Moonflowers, which I've been known to actually watch bloom. An exercise in patience and rewarded with utter wonder at nature, watching this life-form we almost see as an inanimate object move of its own accord. As they open, they release this splendid fragrance like a warm summer night, but again, words fail.
8. Walking into an Indian restaurant and into a cloud of curry. Breathe deep and your palate is cleansed by the pungent spicy sweetness.
9. I've said before, earth after rain, before rain, during rain. Rain in all forms, but especially during the spring and summer. Primal and unabashedly alive.
10. Apple cider
11. The Clash t-shirt that my boyfriend left at my house when we first started going out.
12. Antique stores. I went to Waynesville last week-this pretty much retiree-paradise of the good old days. I love the smells of dried flowers and brittle dusty book pages, secret hidden corners and ancient wood.
13. Similarly, the Primitive (or Prim) stores like they have in Waynesville or like the Olde Farmsteade at the Mall. Warm, snuggly blanket scents of pumpkin and evergreen. Shelves lined with candles shaped like cinnamon buns- Apple butter and various jams and jellies -saltbox houses and barn stars: I LOVE these things. Odd for someone my age, I guess, but oh well.
14. The vacation I spent in Gatlinburg TN. Stayed in a chalet in the mountains for my cousin's wedding. It was thanksgiving and the cabin was all warm wood, cranberry and pine colors-the mountain air, the trees-totally soul-soothing.
15. Church incense-it smells like history, legend, royalty, and guilt. An intimidating fragrance-like it threatens to soak into the walls and tell its tales for eternity, or into your skin and never wash out. All consuming.
16. Walking outside on the first day of school, the air slightly cool with the smell of leaves in the background. I marveled at how the air smelled the same way year after year.
17. Freshly cut grass.
18. The small, old blue suitcase I used on family vacations as a child. Full of the inexplicable, self-appointed "travelin' smell."
And some not-so-faves:
1. The dead dog I passed once on the street. It was hot out and the smell was obscenely sweet and bloated.
2. Brussels Sprouts and Saurkraut-gross.
3. The memory of my grade school cafeteria: A hundred kids, government hamburgers, fruit cups, and milk.
4. The smell of the salon I got my hair done at for a wedding once. I'm amazed the staff hadn't sprouted extra limbs from breathing in the sheer volume of chemicals they were pumping onto our heads. Stifling, sweet, cloying-suffocating.
5. This perfume a woman I know wears. She can be anywhere in the vincinity and I know it's her. Her scent literally precedes her. It's loud, an assault on the senses: a single screeching note of cheap baby powder -I wish I knew what it was so I could find out if it's really that smell or the way it works with her. Very nice lady, very bad smell.
6. A cat treat we used to get when I was young. It was this doughy, vomity, fishy, unbelievably revolting smell.
7. The water fountain in my grade shcool's gym. So rusty it smelled like drinking blood.
That's all for now. I need to go sniff some coffee beans to clear my sinuses. Ha.
This is a throwback entry from my Myspace blog, back in 2008 when people were still on Myspace. I loved writing about this topic and hated the idea of leaving it to languish in that wasteland. So, here is another Liber Vix interest: Scent and Perfume!

I'm nearly finished reading What the Nose knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life, which has me thinking about the role scent has played in my life and its incredible power to evoke mood, memory, and ambiance. The book is basically about the history of the search to classify, dissect, and quantify scent, and the ability of humans to describe subtle variations in both the sweetly sublime and the nauseating scents the world contains. It's also about how scent is used to market products, subliminally advertise, and can classically condition people to associate scents with pretty much any other situation. Really fascinating stuff, a concept I've been enamored with ever since I was young.

I have a pretty good nose, meaning that I'm able to detect the tiniest hint of scents in the air, and a lot of my memories are complemented by or grounded in scent, for good or for ill. I associate different time periods with certain scents. For instance, the summer of sixth grade is eternally White Musk. The summer of seventh grade was this terribly cheap body splash called clean and natural, a watery floral pierced by a seriously high alcohol content that I for some odd reason loved. I still have a bottle of it, faded and reduced to almost pure alcohol. But I can open it and still get a hint of the ocean and lilies.  But more importantly, who I used to be. So I keep it.

Going to the waterpark as a child conjures up a conglomeration of sun-heated sand, chlorinated water, sunscreen, the sticky sweetness of cotton candy, the cool air at sunset. This is a potent memory for me, but I lack the skill or perhaps just the words to describe what exactly the cool air at sunset smells like, the feeling of wind against skin that spent hours upon hours in cold water and just finished taking a hot shower in the locker room....Utterly clean.... without the aid of more adjectives or nouns that beg for more adjectives to describe them. And so on and so on. With more knowledge I could break down the particular molecules that create the wet, clean earth scent of ozone in the air that allows me to know just when the possibility of rain in looming in the distance when nobody around has a clue, or how the scent of chlorine wafting over from the apartment next door's pool evokes summer in my mind.

Fall is ripe with even more memories. A fragrance my grandma used to wear, a pretty cheap oriental musk called Ciara, has become one of my all time cool weather favorites because a few minutes after this somewhat intense fragrance hits my skin, it melts and mellows into a warm, slightly spicy scent that feels like a blanket around me and the memory of a hundred kisses. But how imprecise and imperfect is that? How the hell should you know what a hundred kisses is like for me? It's positively maddening.

Could I tell you about the mood created by walking in the woods on a perfect Indian summer afternoon, the sky blazingly blue and the trees red and gold?The sweet-spicy of apple cider and the earthiness of hay? The smell of shuffling through leaves, warm and green and slightly wet and musty underneath all at once? Would it be the same for you? Not even remotely. Which is what makes it so incredible and varied...the exact same compilation of elements will create a totally different memory for you. What I find intoxicating you might find disgusting. Even today I cannot get near the smell of one type of frozen meal, I think It was peppered beef something or other, that my grandma ate a few times when she was slowly dying of Alzheimer's. There's nothing inherently bad about that food, but the smell of it reminds me of dirty sheets and claustrophobia and loneliness and that smell would make me want to retch if I smelled it today. Pure conditioning, I know, but there's the power of it.

I also loathe the smell of Clinque Happy, which definitely does not make me so. Probably because I don't like citrusy smells, at least the ones like grapefruit. Pure orange or lemon is fine when it's like Pledge or the actual fruit,  but grapefruit citrusy smells like a sweaty body to me. The kind of body odor that comes when you do still wash and use deodorant, but it doesn't work very well. Which is different from the smell of bodies that never get washed at all, like the smell of some homeless people I've walked by at the library. Two very different sweat smells.

I love other perfumes though. Right now I have Juicy Couture, Prada Tendre, and Nina Ricci Nina in heavy rotation. But I'm looking for something heavier, like my beloved Ciara. I've had brief love affairs with Estee Lauder Beautiful, Avon Far Away, and Bath and Body Works White Tea and Ginger that I come back to occasionally when the mood is right.  I think my overall theme is feminine and slightly flowery with a warm spicy or musky base. Sometimes heavier on the oriental notes , but always unique and memorable. Food smells are nice sometimes, pumpkin and vanilla and anything warm and comforting.

The overall point is the emotions created by scents are impossibly diverse and dependent on personal tastes and memories,and  the idea of breaking  them down into their base parts and common denominators is an admirable task but utterly daunting. The book wondered why there were magazines devoted to cigars and wine aficionados but none for scent-lovers. I would totally read that magazine, fat with those marvelous little scent strips. Every pull of the paper a little hope that this scent will be THE ONE, your molecular soul-mate. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go see if it's a warm vanilla sugar day, or more like rain-drenched leaves. Ah, decisions, decisions.
This will be a (certainly) regular list of things that annoy me. My pet peeves, observations, etc., that will become unwitting victims of my deadly snark bite.
So, Snark Bite #1:
 Dear coworkers: I see you every day. I spend more time with you than with my sweet boyfriend and my even sweeter cat. As this is something I can't rectify at this point in time, why do you feel it necessary to engage in elaborate greeting rituals, as if I hadn't seen you for years, as if I believed you actually cared to see me, even though I saw you less than 12 hours ago and nothing much has changed since then?
Does this make me a cynical, hateful git? No, just efficient. I already feel like work is just one long, perpetually continuating day. I don't feel the need to repeat the same innane, meaningless phrases or repeat the same tired motions when things are already so mundane it is at times difficult to remember if something happened last week or last month. The INFJ in me finds such small talk exhausting and unnatural.
Of course, I will say "Hi" or "what's up". I'm not utterly evil. But, dear coworker, when someone asks how you are, must you reply "every day's a good day"? Is it, really? I admit I'm struck with some sort of blind, nauseating hatred at that phrase. Perhaps partly because I am too cyncial to believe that this is always the case, and partly because it would be nice to actually believe that myself, and if you really mean it, then damn you, I'm jealous. I am so utterly ready to begin a phase of my life where I hop out of bed in the morning like someone in a jacked-up coffee commericial, yell "hot diggity dog!" and start my day with unbridled glee because I am doing something that engages, enriches, and empowers me. If that is how you really feel, in this place, then more power to you. But must you rub it in my face? I will continue to say "hi" when you say "good morning" because, for me, it may not be a bad day, it could certainly be worse, but I believe in the deepest recesses of my heart that it could be soooo much better. Until then, knock it off. Thank you, sincerely, Liber Vix.
I've been experimenting with my new Fyrinnae goodies and here is the first salvageable look I've come up with. I've found, so far, that Fyrinnae, at least the super sparkly, dark colors I've tried, are a bit difficult to work with. I've found blending a little challenging, as the colors are a composition of sorts, layered and complex, and meant to be patted rather than swept. If you rub or blend the slightest bit, the composition seems to crumble and you're left with a big smeary mess, impossible to mend. The sparkle, color shifting effect is totally lost with excessive manipulation.The patting thing is not a problem if you're going for an intense, bold look, but I prefer faded-out gradients, and I just haven't mastered that with Fyrinnae yet. I think I might have more luck with the lighter, simpler colors. That said, I am just in love with the actual colors and am determined to make them work. I really adore Conjuror, which has a smoother, less "chunky" sparkle. It's more of a shimmer, and makes for an interesting liner.

I did this look with BFTE's Blacklisted on the lid, Fyrinnae's Dark Fantasy in the crease and Conjuror as a liner, and BFTE's Whisper as a highlight. I applied Blacklisted over Pixie Epoxy, and was absolutely amazed at how well the sparkles adhered. I had liked the color before, but hadn't actually seen its full potential until the Pixie Epoxy came along. It came to complete and utter life! Fallout is a bit more abundant with Fyrinnae than I've been used to with BFTE, and if you try to brush it away it tends to smear, so I recommend holding a tissue under your eyelid just in case.

I also highly recommend the highlighter I got a sample of, Confidence. Using it every day and am so impressed with the subtlety and faintest shimmer. It really imparts a glow. I will be buying that in full size without a doubt, as well as some of the lighter colors. It's slow going, but I will master the art of Fyrinnae. Anybody got any tips?
I'm going to start my first official blog post, after all that introduction nonsense, with a little First Impressions makeup review. It's good practice, and something I enjoy. I am indeed a fairly serious person (at times) and this is one of my more whimsical, light-hearted interests. Sometimes it feels like I'm cheating though, and am about to be kicked out of the admirers of The Beauty Myth club. But there must be room for me in both hemispheres, mustn't there be? Anyway, here 'tis:

Ah, the world is overrun with chaos and stupidity and really bad legislation, whatever shall I do? Oh yes, I shall write a gleefully, blissfully escapist makeup review! So....yesterday I got my first order from Fyrinnae, an online indie makeup company, http://www.fyrinnae.com/, and thought I’d share my first impressions. I’ve been using Beauty from the Earth almost exclusively since October, and have found their products and customer service to be the best I’ve ever encountered. I will never buy Bare Escentuals again after using BFTE’s mineral foundation. But out in the makeup blogosphere I’d been hearing good things about Fyrinnae, specifically their Pixie Epoxy. This miracle substance is not quite an eye shadow primer but rather a sort of glue that keeps really sparkle-laden colors adhered and makes the colors generally more vibrant. A lot of my BFTE colors are very sparkly/glittery and I wanted to see if the Pixie Epoxy could do things my Too Faced Shadow Insurance couldn’t.

So while I was at it I decided to order a few of their color products to see what all the hubbub was about. Now, one of the more confusing things about Fyrinnae is the sporadic nature of their website availability. This small company is based in Washington, and rather than get overwhelmed by orders to the detriment of customer service and quality control, the owner will periodically close the website in order to catch up.  This can be frustrating if you are hell bent on making an order, but the wait is quite worth it. The site was down a few times when I was lurking about initially, and it was a bit disconcerting for a first timer, but luckily it was up when I was finally ready to make an order.
   And actually, I’m sort of reassured by the periodic closings. I would rather wait a little longer and know that what I ordered is going to be awesome, if the alternative would be for the company to charge ahead despite practical limitations or make promises they don’t or can’t keep, or offer potentially dangerous products(*cough* Glittersniffer *cough*). Fyrinnae seems focused on providing a unique product at a great price. For me, their colors are different from anything else on the market, at least any I’ve tried. These colors are complex, multi-faceted and at times actually change color. These are no repackaged TKB micas a la Lime Crime, which may be perfectly nice if it weren’t for the horrendous price mark-up and blatant deception as to their origins. BFTE offers some repackaged micas, meaning, colors they don’t custom blend themselves, but they are forthcoming about it and label those colors as such, so you know what you’re buying. I haven’t used either Glittersniffer or Lime Crime so I cannot review their products, but I’ve researched a bit of the controversy surrounding them. If you’re interested in such things, just Google them and you will find that it is most likely for the best that I haven’t tried them. It’s at best fascinating and at worst deeply disturbing.

Moving past the interwebs makeup drama and into my actual observations, Fyrinnae is deliciously geeky; with fantasy and sci-fi overtones. This is makeup for the Lord of the Rings sect, and I think that’s just marvelous. They are also super cheap, with samples only 2 dollars or less. So I ordered 5 eye shadow samples, a full sized Pixie Epoxy (only $7.00), and a highlighter sample that was $1.50. They clearly tell you what the turnaround time is, which, after the super fast shipping I’m accustomed to with BFTE, seems quite long. However, they always say it will be longer than it typically is. I believe at the time I ordered (February 17th) the turnaround time was 22-26 business days. But my order was shipped on the 26th and I got it the 28th, so I was quite happy about that. The packages are well wrapped in bubble mailers, wrapped in cardboard, and then in tissue paper. While I don’t have any customer service experience with them to speak of, no actual correspondence, they do provide generous free samples. I’ve read that they look at your order history and choose samples in the same or complementary color/style, and I was thrilled to find that the one color I was most eager to try on my next order (provided the first one went well), Boy Toy, was the exact color they included as my free sample. That suggests some intuitiveness and care on their part.

The sample sizes I purchased are also HUGE. The Arcane Magic collection samples (brilliant color shifting colors) are ¼ teaspoon for $2.00. The others are 1/3 teaspoon for $2.00. This doesn’t sound like much, but for pigments as concentrated as these, they will last. And I seriously haven’t run out of a single sample size BFTE pigment I’ve been purchasing since last fall, and they are a bit smaller than Fyrinnae’s. And these colors really must be seen to be believed. The photographs just can’t capture the color shifts properly. Color shifting, meaning, not merely duo chrome, in which the color changes when applied to a dark base, but literally changing color with position and light.

I can hold up the jar of Dark Fantasy up high and the color is an earthy metallic brown, and then bring it down low, and it changes to a sparkling moss green. Conjuror changes from a shimmering rusty red to a mauve-y purple with blue/green sheen and Dragon Magic from a dark teal blue to a dark green. This description doesn’t really cover it though, they aren’t “simply” blue or red or green. They are so full of sparkles and multi-colored shimmers it is like some sort of magic fairy dust or something a dwarf would dig up in the mines of Moria: infinitely squee-worthy for a rainbow lover such as myself. Pumpkinfire is a very autumnal gold and orange sparkle on a black base, and Immortality is just an incredible rainbow of glitter on a blackish/purple base. All of those loose sparkles are where the Pixie Epoxy comes in; you really do need it to get them to stick, to get the full color pay-off.  I haven’t tried wearing the colors yet, but I think it will take some practice. They aren’t your average eye shadows. These are clearly colors that need to be patted, no swiped or rubbed on. Working the colors on too much will degrade them, and you’ll lose the effect. I’m not sure if using the Pixie Epoxy will make them harder to blend, but we shall see. It did make the shadows stick when I did the swatches. I did try the highlighter, Confidence, today, and I am very impressed. It’s extremely subtle, but it creates an ethereal glow similar to Benefit’s Moon Beam or High Beam, only in powder form, and much more cheaply.

So, my first impression is: I will definitely be buying again. I am very pleased with what I received, and the couple of quirks with the company’s website aren’t serious enough to turn me off thus far. I think I need to order some of the lighter, more basic colors because, helpless and squee-ing when faced with all the dark, super-sparkly shades, I might have overestimated exactly how sparkly a library worker can reasonably go during the week. I of course will keep buying from BFTE for their excellent personal customer service (once I even received a phone call from the owner, Crystal, in regards to a question I had), the great selection, ease of blending, quality and fun online community. But Fyrinnae has a very distinctive style that sorts of fills in the makeup gaps for me, and I’m eager to try more of their products.
Well, wouldn't you like to know? First off, you should know that I am a Liberry Vixen. I am hardly free, but I am getting closer. That, radically distilled, is this enigma, Liber Vix.

But you would like to know why, I hope. Or else you wouldn't have read even this far. I will elaborate. I'm a library technical assistant, a book and word lover, and every day I grumble over hearing the word "library" butchered into an unintelligible, Lie-berry. I was reminded that, yes, I am currently in an environment in which that word is, more often than not, verbally destroyed, but it doesn't have to destroy me. I don't have to have that joy of learning and observing and growing snuffed out of me by those who just don't seem to care. I can retain my Vixen-hood. I won't be one of those stereotypical librarians with that slightly mousy, beaten down, asexual, shhhing persona. (Though I admit I probably have shhhhh'd a few times, here and there. Trust me, I had good reason.) I can be complex, multi-faceted, vibrant, intelligent, and maybe even a bit cute. That's totally up to me. And this blog is part of reclaiming that, in the midst of being seen by the masses as just another customer service drone. I am no robot, no automaton. I am Liber Vix. Hardly free, but getting closer.

I looked up the Latin translation of Liber Vix for fun, expecting something about books, but came up with "hardly free." I'm not sure if that's grammatically correct, my years of Latin class are far behind me. But I digress. I like it regardless. It fits. I have built copious walls, multiple defense mechanisms in the outside world. You know more about me already that most people would know within months in person. That's just the way I roll. I am a highly sensitive INFJ http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html , which pretty much means that out in the world I can seem highly reserved, introverted, responsible, loathing of conflict, slow to trust, etc., but the inside is just a mess of creativity and feelings and opinionated-ness. It's an interesting dichotomy, and at times a bit challenging.

So when starting this, I asked myself, what should I write about? After all, don't the best blogs, the Julie and Julia's of the blogging world, have a singular focus or a fascinating and unique hook? I suppose so, but I'm not about to start multiple blogs in order to cover all of the things that interest me, all of the things that I am. I have to compartmentalize in my daily life enough as it is. So I will be as much as I can here, in tandem. I will write because:

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”- Abraham Maslow

Because I haven't been doing it enough, and not writing is the quickest way for me to lose myself. And that simply won't do.

So, what else encapsulates Liber Vix? Well, I am full of delicious snark. I am annoyingly verbose. I embrace my geekiness. I am a passionate feminist. I am a baker of divine tasty bites. I find all the religion I need in nature. I have sung in public 3 times and have only just begun to realize how much I loved it. I am a Highly Sensitive Person. My biggest fear is being forgotten. I will never buy jewelry because I make my own. I am a beauty product junkie on a budget. I am socially anxious but felt right at home on vacation in New York City. I love makeup and think it can be just another art form, as long as the wearer is not made to feel "less-than" without it. I live by a creek and love that I can hear water and birds when I wake up in the morning. I am a crazy cat lady. I want to go the city and live in the country. I would like to have a treehouse. I am a bit mysterious. I am a casual observer.

A Book from my Childhood
I am not quite sure where I'm going with this. Perhaps I should have planned it out better. But I already spend too much of my time planning,  rather than doing. So, reader, if you're there, we can both fumble in the dark together, and perhaps observe some interesting things on the way.
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