Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Introduction: How I Started

The most frequent question I get (seriously!) is, “How do I start my own blog?” followed by a few questions in the same vein.  I’m not always able to answer everyone in detail, so I thought putting together a series of posts would be helpful for those interested, and then I can point future inquiries to a really in-depth answer! :)  I thought the best way to start would be to tell you where and how I started, to give you a better idea of who I am, what level of knowledge I have, and how things have changed.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Consider a Self-Defense Course

When it comes to personal safety, I’m pretty paranoid–neurotically so–and there are a lot of things I don’t do because I worry about some really crazy, off-the-wall worse case scenarios that have a 0.001% chance of happening. Some things are common sense: you don’t really want to be walking in a dark alley by yourself in the middle of the night; you don’t want to hitch a ride with someone you don’t know. But too often, we don’t take enough precautionary measures until something does happen. It’s like installing an alarm system after you’ve been robbed. I didn’t want to be that person. I also didn’t want my fear/paranoia to have so much control over my life–I decided to be proactive and take steps to learn more about what I can do to help myself.

Self-defense is not about getting into fights with others; it’s about doing what you can to avoid or extricate yourself from a bad situation, which ranges from general awareness of who you are, your surroundings, and your own abilities to being assertive (not to be confused with aggressive) and making yourself heard clearly to defending yourself from a violent attack.

The local course I took talked about a crime triangle: opportunity, target, and motive/desire. Our instructor said we can only control two of these: we can avoid situations or be aware of potential situations thereby lessening the opportunity, and we can make ourselves a harder target by being aware, changing body language (appearing more confident), and equipped with knowledge of self-defense. I think this is really what I liked most about the course, because it taught me that it’s about gaining knowledge to be in better control of your life.

The course I took helped me understand more about myself, my fears, and my abilities. We covered things like how to use our voice to be assertive so other people would take us seriously (admittedly, nobody in my life would say I have a problem talking or being assertive), how to escape out of wrist grabs, body grabs, chokes, and even some ground grabs/positions, learned what parts of the body are sensitive, and (as women) where our strength comes from. It’s never about fighting and going one-on-one; it’s always about getting out and getting to a safe place.

I’ll also say that actually having people grab you, choke you (not actually compressing windpipes, but the feelings and sensations of having someone’s hands around your throat), and the like is unnerving–but I know how it feels. I now know how it feels so it will be slightly less startling if happens in a real-life situation, and I know a few techniques that might help me escape from them. I continue to practice those techniques, because you want them to become automatic responses.  It’s no different than being aware of your surroundings: how well lit is the area, what time will I be leaving, will I be alone, etc.  The more second nature the behavior becomes, the quicker you can respond, and the more confident you will be when you do.

I’m not an expert on self-defense, which is why I’m not trying to pass on every last bit I learned in a technical sense, but I wanted to pass on the value I received just from taking a short, simple course on it.  It also inspired me to get in better shape, because if I need to run, I want to be able to run, run, and run.  I recommend searching the web for local organizations or courses to take, and if you aren’t able to find one, check with local support groups for victims of domestic violence and/or rape or local police stations for resources. Self-defense can be valuable to both women and men, from kids to adults to seniors.

Self-Defense Resources

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012


LUSH Emotional Brilliance Color Cosmetics Launching in July

Spin the Emotional Brilliance Color Wheel to get a personalized color reading – choose the three colors that stand out the most and they will uncover certain words that reveal a little bit about your current state of mind. Then wear the color to feel the word, you word-up!

Introducing a brand new concept matching psychological needs to which color cosmetics one should wear.

This range – consisting of lip colors, eyeliners and eyeshadows – is less about wearing make-up that’s in-season or on-trend and more about wearing colors that shape your mood. Emotional Brilliance is a way to wear color that’s designed for you. Choose colors, each with a corresponding word such as Confident, Take Control or Glamorous, and they will be significant to your needs at that time – wear those colors and you truly wear the word. It’s the power of suggestion – if one believes enough in something, there will likely be a change in behavior.

Liquid Lips ($22.95)

This patent pending formula uses LUSH’s super softening Ultrabalm as a base, which is a simple blend of organic jojoba oil, candelilla wax and rose wax. All are intensely skin softening and soothing, they also carry pigment incredibly well. Lips will be brilliantly colored and left soft, smooth and deeply moisturised. Or, the effect can be softened by applying with a lip balm.

Liquid Eyeliner ($22.95)

Independent and Fantasy are the two eyeliners in the range that have a no-smudge, stay-put formula. As soon as you apply, the formula sets and is incredibly long-lasting. It’s made with a base of eyebright infusion, an herb with an ancient tradition of use for eye area.
The other eyeliners are made with the same base as the cream eyeshadows, which doesn’t set straight away so there is time to blend. These beautiful colors are easy to use to create a softer, more refined look.

Cream Eyeshadow ($22.95)

The eye creams can be bold and colorful or less dramatic as the base softens easily into the skin. The base is a soothing rose petal infusion and skin-softening almond and jojoba oils, so will really care for this most sensitive area. There’s also glycerine to help carry the color beautifully over the eye. The cupuacu butter helps to set the color pigment nicely, so these eyeshadows and eyeliners offer beautiful color that stay in place and last.

Availability: The Emotional Brilliance launches July 21, 2012 in all LUSH stores worldwide and online at www.LUSH.com

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Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Bobbi Brown Smoky Topaz Long-Wear Cream Shadow
Bobbi Brown Smoky Topaz Long-Wear Cream Shadow

Bobbi Brown Smoky Topaz Long-Wear Cream Shadow

Bobbi Brown Smoky Topaz Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “golden shimmer pewter.” This is a sparkling purply taupe with golden copper, dark copper, and purple sparkle. Giorgio Armani #4 is much darker, more taupe. Chanel Illusoire is smokier, grayer. NARS Lhasa is similar but without the sparkle. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is lighter and doesn’t have the sparkle. Bare Escentuals Romp is purpler. MAC Shale is a bit browner and doesn’t have the sparkle.

The texture of Smoky Topaz isn’t as smooth as some of the other recently released shades, because it has more of a sparkle finish, which means the finish comes out more metallic, more frosted. It can be sheered down quite a bit, so it can look like a delicate dusting of sparkle without a whole lot of color once you blend out the color (I like fingertips or a fluffy brush for this). It’s really pretty when layered, as that is when the purply taupe hue becomes noticeable. Smoky Topaz had a wetter texture, more slip, compared to the other shades, too.

Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow is supposed to be a smooth, easy-to-apply cream eyeshadow that will last all day long without creasing or smearing. When I tested Smoky Topaz, it wore for about seven hours without creasing but there was some fading after eight hours and a few flecks of fallout, without a primer. With a primer, it was a little better, but there was still a touch of fading after eight hours.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Smoky Topaz Long-Wear Cream Shadow Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
This is a more unique shade, and I think the finish of this gives those of us who loathe fall out but love sparkle something to be excited over. There were just a few sparkles underneath my eye after eight hours, but the color was mostly intact.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, May 25th, 2012

Make Up For Ever #23 Aqua Cream
Make Up For Ever #23 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #23 Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever #23 Aqua Cream ($23.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “bright lime green shimmer.” #23 is a vibrant pop of lime green with yellow undertones and a golden shimmer-sheen (along with some lime-hued shimmer). It’s less yellow compared to Sugarpill Acidberry and Illamasqua Pivot. It has more green in it compared to Buxum Shih Tzu. MAC Wondergrass is darker. Make Up For Ever #304 is yellower. Make Up For Ever #171 is yellower but is the closest I could think of.

Aqua Creams are supposed to be intensely pigmented, long-wearing, and waterproof. I’m a long-time fan of the formulation–since it was first introduced–because it’s as long-wearing as Make Up For Ever claims. This stuff just doesn’t budge. It dries down fairly quickly (enough that if you wanted to soften edges or blend more than one together, I’d recommend working one eye at a time), and once it dries down, it’s set into place all day (and night). I’ve worn these for as long as fourteen hours without creasing or fading. They work well as eyeshadow bases or on their lonesome. They also work as eyeliners. Each Aqua Cream comes in a small plastic pot with a black screw-top lid and a clear bottom. I haven’t had any dry out, and I’ve had several for two years now.

#23 can be applied with rich, opaque color or blended out for a sheerer, softer layer of color. When it’s applied opaquely, you get a much more intense green color out of it, whereas the yellowness of the underlying color comes through more when it’s blended out.  I love green eyeshadows, and I’m all over chartreuse-y greens, but this is really lime green and doesn’t look much like other shades I’ve seen, which is always a good thing to discover!

The Glossover

coming-soon

Make Up For Ever #23 Aqua Cream Review, Photos, Swatches

A
I love green eyeshadows, and I'm all over chartreuse-y greens, but this is really lime green and doesn't look much like other shades I've seen, which is always a good thing to discover! This shade is true-to-form: long-wearing (ten hours), waterproof, and doesn't fade or crease.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Hey, Sailor — It’s Coming!

I’m working through some products and their accompanying photos, swatches, and reviews tonight and am anticipating having several posts up tomorrow! I will not have everything done until Friday, because I only received half of the products I bought today (there was a major mix-up) with the other half–supposedly–arriving tomorrow. I also received several press samples pieces, but there was some overlap with the half I received so I’m missing several items but hopefully will have them tomorrow. The good news is I already purchased one of everything prior to receiving press samples, so I swatched and photographed the press samples so I can do some giveaways with the products I bought instead over the next couple of weeks :)