I am off work for the rest of the week and am going away for a bit this weekend, so I spent yesterday inside cleaning and doing generally boring householdy tasks so we wouldn't come home to a filthy apartment when we get back. But I did get a package from Meow yesterday, and I'm quite glad I got it today, because I had been completely out of my Sleek Sphynx foundation, and had been having to wear remnants of my Meow Flawless Feline in Inquisitive Sphynx, which is just a tad too light in color and too heavy in coverage for summer. I ordered on July 7th, the same day as several other orders, so it took about two weeks to arrive. So the shipping time is not terrible, but a little longer than I'm used to with BFTE or even Fyrinnae at times. But they just had a sale, so I anticipated a small delay.

So I bought one of the large foundations in Pampered Puss, Sleek Sphynx, and it arrived in a super cute drawstring bag. This foundation is a great deal, as it is HUGE. A full sized Bare Escentuals foundation is 8 grams for $25.00, and Meow's full size is a whopping 30 grams for $23.95 (for the Pampered Puss formula). But I didn't even pay that much for mine, I got 15 or 20 percent off during the 4th of July sale, I can't quite remember which, but either way, it was a steal. I also got some eyeshadow and blush samples from their Caribbean Escape and Lost Rainforest special collections, and they are all beautiful. I had tried some of their colors from their basic, everyday collections before but wasn't really wowed, but the special seasonal collections have impressed me much more. Of course, all the colors I got were very shimmery and most were bright, tropical colors. Just what I've been in the mood for!

And here are some swatches from my order:

A Lick and a Promise (blush), Forest Flame (blush), Limbo(blush), Blood Orange, Mantis
Bermuda Triangle, Piranha

Macaw, Ocean Spray, Bromeliad, Nabau, Torch

I know I said oranges don't really work well on me for the most part, but the ones I got were just so pretty, I couldn't resist trying them!
It is horrendously hot and humid in my area right now, so since I stayed home I did a quick EOTD for fun. Forgive the pictures, even though I stayed home, my apartment's AC is approximately a hundred years old and utterly worthless, so I was still hot and could not bring myself to blow dry my hair after my shower.

What I used:

Fyrinnae Polar Bear on the lid
Fyrinnae Evocation swept above
BFTE Celtic Charms in the crease
BFTE Big Island patted on lid over Pixie Epoxy
Liner is Fyrinnae Hypercool
Fyrinnae Nijiro - inner corner and brow highlight

After having dropped my jar of Velvet Vampire a couple weeks ago, I panicked and stalked the Fyrinnae site until I was able to put in an order. I think, intentional or not, Fyrinnae has an interesting business model going- operating on sheer terror as to the continued availability of their products. I've read older reviews and seen swatches of colors they once offered but have since discontinued, and I get anstsy little butterflies in my stomach, certain that one day I'm going to get online to make an order and my favorite colors will be gone, or the ones I'd been itching to try will disappear, not to mention all the awesome looking colors I could have gotten had I known about them a bit sooner.

 So I put in an order on July 7th and my order was shipped the 13th, and I got in on the 15th. So don't let the "permitted" time frame deter you from ordering, my order consisted of ten samples, not a huge order but not a tiny one either, so they are really much quicker than the time frame suggests.

 I got my ten samples, all wrapped up in adorable Panda tissue paper, and received Sugar Skulls as my free sample. I swear they have fantastic sample choosing skillz, as while I was trying to narrow my order down to 10, I sadly put Sugar Skulls on the backburner. I was quite happy to get it, and it is such a pretty bright pink with gold sparkles.

These are all gorgeous colors, and pictures just don't show how sparkly they are. Nijiro in particular is an ivory that can go on very sheer like a highlight color, but can be patted on with Pixie Epoxy and be very white with rainbow sparkles. I got Electric Koi because I just don't have many oranges, and I tried to wear it today and realized oranges just don't work on me, they make me look sort of sick. I can wear coppers and golds easily, but straight up Halloween-ish orange just doesn't fly for me.  I suspect it would look awesome on blue eyes though. Fire Opal looks very dark brown-copperish in the jar, but when I tried to blend it into my crease today, it turned a little grey. I think it would look best, again, simply patted on the lid with Pixie Epoxy with minimal blending. Those are the only two I've tried, but they all swatched beautifully.

Blue Whale, Velvet Vampire, Hypercool, Lucky Charmed, Fire Opal

Sugar Skulls, Curiouser and Curiouser, Nijiro, Dragon's Wing,  Electric Koi, We're All Mad Here
Yesterday was a very good, but very bittersweet day. I got to go swimming again at a local pool, and that made me happy. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed going swimming, and I'm trying to go a lot more this summer. That's one of the places I feel most alive, most peaceful, most present. That, and being out in the woods, anything to do with nature. Water and woods, that's what fulfills me most. Off work for a few days this week so I'm going to try to get out swimming a few more times...I really can't wait.

I went swimming with G and a friend, and she offered to take me to see Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night. I had planned to wait until the initial rush to see it subsided, and honestly because I didn't really want my whole Potter experience to end any sooner than necessary. I've been reading the books (many, many times) and watching the movies (which got progressing better after the saccharine sweet Chris Columbus films were out of the way) for over 10 years, so I had a definite sense of apprehension about seeing the last film. I wasn't quite ready, but she was anxious to see it and offered to pay, so I agreed.

Don't worry, no spoilers here. I loved the film, but I don't think anything would have lived up to my expectations perfectly. It was very tight and well-executed, and a lot of the back stories and subplots and small details were left out in favor of a more action-oriented film. I think that was for the best because it would have gotten sloppy and bogged down quite easily...but still. It could have been 4 hours and still not have explained everything I would have liked shown. Some things just happened way too fast, and didn't quite get the emotional attention I think they deserved, but it was still moving enough that I cried a bit, and I almost never cry at movies.

The actual film isn't the point...the point is...what now? I feel a little empty, a little sad. Even though the last book was read years ago and I've known the ending for a while now..there was always something more to look forward to. I guess the whole Pottermore website that's in the works may be cool, but still, again. I will be going back and reading the books again, as every time I seem to learn something new, find some new detail to savor. It's just a bittersweet feeling, letting all those characters, that reality go, in a way. I wonder why I feel so let down, tell myself, it's just a book. But that doesn't make it any less valid, less vital. I think Rowling must have had her readers, mourning the end of her tale, in mind when she has Dumbledore tell Harry, "Of course it is happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" It's  real enough to those who experience it, and that's all that really matters.
Today I got a tremendously lovely package from BFTE, oddly enough a week or so after knocking over my jar of Bonita and lamenting its loss. Now I've been able to replace it, and then some! See, a while back BFTE had a contest on its Facebook fan page, searching for a new tagline for the company. At the time the page was getting a lot of new traffic, and some of the comments were becoming less than supportive. I was worried the board was about to descend into judgemental cattiness, and that really saddened me. It takes a lot of guts for people to post pictures of their looks online for all to see and evaluate, and everybody has a unique skill set and style. Some people might have more experience or technical skill than others, but I think there is something to be appreciated in everyone's looks, and I said as much on the page, that diversity was something to be celebrated. Another BFTE customer liked what I said and used it to suggest the tagline "BFTE: Celebrating Diversity One Face at a Time." I thought that was brilliant, and really hoped a line like that would be picked, something that refers to BFTE's great selection and variety of colors, but also the diversity of its customers.

I must give a huge shout out to Crystal Small Wherley, who came up with that line and generously offered to share credit with me should that line be chosen. And even though several months passed since the contest, when that line actually was chosen Crystal was awesome enough to let Crystal (the owner) know that we would be sharing the prize. I think that was wicked ethical of her, and think a lot of people might not have done that, so many thanks to her! I didn't really expect any of the prize, I was just happy a line like that was chosen, and glad that I inspired it in some way. The bunches of BFTE products I got were just icing on an already very sweet cake!

I sent in my wish list to Crystal (the owner) last Friday after hearing about the contest that Thursday. By Monday my prize had been shipped and when I came home from work this Wednesday it was already waiting for me! That is some incredible shipping and service! I got a travel sample tin with 16 gorgeous samples, 2 pairs of lashes, Mix and Fix, sample sifters (so I don't have another repeat Bonita performance), and a full size jar of Oasis. Plus Crystal was nice enough to throw in a sample of Zach's Friend as well (lovely purple with silver sparkles).Three of my looks were recently chosen for the BFTE 365 contest (looks submitted to the FB fan page have a chance to be chosen for a free jar of eyeshadow..1 for every day this year.) So with my next order I'll be scooping those pretties up.

I thought I'd share some swatches for you because the colors I chose are just insanely full of win. These were all swatched over Pixie Epoxy.

Emerald City, Mint, Envy. Nani, Peacock, Seafoam, Caribbean, Fairy Tale

Moonlight, Dusty Rose, Ever After, Bonita, Big Island, Kou, Guipure, Ocean Mist, Oasis

These colors are all just glorious...Peacock is this bright shimmery cerulean blue but also has a slight green sheen to it. Emerald City is the perfect warm, sparkly, grassy green. Ocean Mist is a blue with gold sparkle, reminiscent of Subcooling but slightly darker and with "chunkier" gold sparkle. Basically, they are all worth getting.

I took my prize with me to work today and my co-workers were oohing and ahhing over everything and seemed so impressed with how pigmented BFTE's colors are. I also wore a brighter than usual look to work today because I was anxious to try out my new colors and they loved it. I work at a library, and two little girls at separate times came to the desk and told me they liked my makeup. Kids are wonderfully honest and without pretense, so I will take it as a compliment!

I used Mix and Fix for the first time for my lower lash liner and I think it really made a difference in the color's staying power. I had just been using water and it would usually make the liner migrate south a bit and get blurry during the day. The line made with the Mix and Fix stayed intact for a lot longer.

Using Guipure, Envy, Emerald City, and Pegasus

 So I just wanted to share some more reasons to love BFTE...awesome colors, quality, value, customer service, plus a fun online community. I am really so happy I found this brand, it makes my days that much brighter!

I figured all that raving last month would come back and bite me. I got my July Birchbox today, after much anticipation. This one is "curated" by designer Cynthia Rowley, so I figured it had to be pretty cool. And the box is pretty, with a nice marble-like design. The contents, though...meh.

I haven't read any other reviews on this month's box, so if I read some reviews after posting this and find out that there was some awesome item like last month's Laura Geller Blush that I missed out on, I might be a wee bit pissed. Not that this month's box is horrendous, it just doesn't make a huge amount of sense.

A couple of the items will be useful to me. I had been needing a travel sized facial cleanser to take with me when I go swimming or on overnights, so this will come in handy. I haven't used anything from Philosophy except the Vanilla Birthday Cake shower wash Sephora dispenses to its customers on their birthdays, and I found that kind of treacle-y sweet. Hopefully the face stuff is not so much so. The Redken hairspray, again, a nice basic travel size to have around. The Nuxe Dry Oil, well, I suppose I could use this at the pool, or when my hair gets super staticky during the winter. I'm reaching here.

The Zoya nail polish in Pandora is a light neutral pink, but considering I already got a Zoya nail polish in my first Birchbox, I really wasn't hankering to get another. I used the color I got first, Jules, on my toenails, and it applies well and is an interesting dirty mechanical gold color, but nail polish isn't a huge thing for me, since I have a pesky nail biting habit that keeps me from using it for the most part, except on my toes. So why they sent me a second one, when there are a gazillion other products they could have sent, is a mystery to me.

The Almond and Apricot snack bar is essentially nonsensical filler. I know it's an extra "treat" but I don't order Birchbox for edibles, I order it for beauty products. Plus, it doesn't seem like a great idea to send a snack bar, laden with sticky honey, through the mail during JULY.  My bar was intact, but it was decidedly unappetizingly mooshy. Plus, almonds are the nut I loathe the most, so I'm going to pop this into the fridge until I am down to the last bit of food in the house and have to choose between a single egg or the dried-out rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano. THEN maybe I will eat this bar. But at least for me it's a matter of taste, at least I'm not allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, like any number of people receiving this box could be. Like I said, it just didn't make sense.

Oh well. Can't win em all.

I realized a few weeks ago that since I discovered MM online last autumn, I have purchased virtually NO matte colors. I can't think of a single one that has been totally matte.I think that after years of wearing neutral, basic matte drugstore eyeshadows, my brain went a little rainbow sparkle happy: "OOOOHHHH look at the pretty shimmers! Squeeeeee!!!! Must.Have.Sparkles!" So, I decided to "branch out" and bought a few matte colors from BFTE. I tried to pick a few that were brighter in their matte way so as to not feel like I was depriving myself of color, glorious color. Here's what I got:

Buttered Up, Seven Seas, After Party, Twisted, Panurple, Girl Next Door
These were all beautiful colors, very pigmented and with a velvety texture. I still think I'm going to naturally gravitate towards colors with at least a slight sheen to them if not outright sparkle. I usually don't do really elaborate, dramatic eyes, but I think I prefer to have a little more dimension and shimmer. Plus perhaps they're just easier for MM newbie me to work with! These are lovely though, I especially liked Panurple as a liner. Here's a quick EOTD I did with the mattes:

EOTD using Twisted, After Party, Seven Seas, Panurple, and Buttered Up
That's all for today...but I predict that I will have several haul posts in the near future, and of course my monthly Birchbox Post!

What, were you expecting some yummy, buttery, chocolaty- type EOTD? Nope, sorry. The title of this post refers to the string of profanity I let loose after finishing this look. Only I didn't say fudge, a la A Christmas Story. And It's not even in reference to the look itself. I think the eye turned out pretty well. It started as a sort of beachy look, then seemed a little more stereotypically Egyptian when I decided to wing out the liner. The look is fine. Here's what I used:
Lid: BFTE Autumn and Bonita
Crease: Fyrinnae Velvet Vampire
Liner: BFTE Illusion

The look isn't the problem. The problem is that I managed to knock over both Bonita and Velvet Vampire the second I finished the look, scattering their sparkling joy into the ether, much like the bolts poor Ralphie from A Christmas Story saw silhouetted against the night sky a moment before they disappeared. I stood there for a moment, stunned with disbelief, before I muttered helplessly "noooooooooooooo" ...and a bunch of other stuff.

I reassured myself that I will simply have to order more (such a tragedy, I know.) And that's not a huge deal with BFTE, but with Fyrinnae and their more unpredictable open-shop patterns, I don't know how long it will be before I can get my hands on Velvet Vampire again, which is very, very sad.

Then, taking a closer look in the mirror at my look, something became apparent to me that I just hadn't noticed before. Behold...

What exactly am I supposed to be looking at, you ask? Well, let's take a closer look...

That, dear reader, is my first verifiable wrinkle. Now I'm sure I have more worrisome things going on with my face, and there may well be other wrinkles. But this one startled me, because as I looked at my face, it looked like my brow was furrowed, but it wasn't. It's not even so much the aesthetic inconvenience, I'd much rather have a wrinkle than the acne problems I had growing up, no contest. I'm not going to run out and get Botox, that just isn't my style. I think in general I'll age pretty gracefully; the great thing about having had bad skin growing up is that I always wore foundation, and that foundation usually had SPF whatever, and I never went tanning. So I'll probably look younger than my age for quite a while.

But to say this little guy did not bother me would be a lie. To say I won't slather him with anti- wrinkle cream tonight would be a lie. To say that I didn't moan and groan for a good 5 minutes to my boyfriend that I was on the fast track to becoming Gordon Ramsay would be a lie.  Gordon Jr. does bug me. I'll tolerate him, but I don't particularly like him. I wish he would go away. He's a noisy little alarm clock, and to him I say, OK, Gordon, I hear you, I hear you. Now shut up.

I was really happy with my eyes today so I thought I'd share the look with you. This is all applied over Too Faced Shadow Insurance and a touch of Pixie Epoxy. Fyrinnae's Futuristic Glamrock is on the inner lid, Meow's Seafoam on the outer lid, and Fyrinnae's Dragon Magic is worked into the crease. I used Fyrinnae's Confidence as a brow and inner corner highlight (I love how versatile this product is!). I also used Meow's Seasick and Fyrinnae's Javan Rhino as liners. I really like the light, sparkly blue of Futuristic Glamrock and the progressive darkness into Dragon Magic...it reminded me of stormy seas. Thanks for checking it out!

In the spirit of being a well-rounded individual, I thought I'd share with you one of my chief obsessions. It's not makeup and beauty related, but I do consider it one of my major creative outlets, and like makeup, one of the ways I express myself. I am fascinated by and adore all things Steampunk! This cultural aesthetic, (a mash-up of Victorian and futuristic elements..imagine rusty watch gears and dirigibles and ray guns and aviator goggles) has been gaining a bit more steam (ha!) recently it seems. More people seem to know what it is and you see it's influence in art, books and movies. One of my favorite Steampunky movies is Stardust, based on the Neil Gaiman book by the same name. It's a fantasy and has a Victorian feel to it, but then you have things like dirigibles that go on lightning capturing expeditions, etc. I think I'm drawn to it because I've always loved antiques and old things and the history and secrets they hold, and like the idea of these things paired with futuristic elements to create an entirely new reality.
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