Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you're all having a marvelous season. I've been absent around here for awhile, as usual, but here's some pictures of what I've been up to.
Final day of the (8 day long!) strike
Lions from a visit to the Oregon Zoo

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On Striking and Organized Labor

Today, I spent 4 hours holding a sign and walking in a circle in 35 degree weather. I walked approximately 10 miles, shouted approximately a billion slogans (slight exaggeration), and it was exhausting. The lead-up to the strike, and now the reality of the first strike in our union's 38 year history, has been emotional, frustrating, challenging, angering, and so very tiring. I've been posting regularly on Facebook, and thought I would share excerpts here (self-plagiarization ftw!); it's completely non-beauty-related, but it's hardly the first time that's been the case...And as usual, an excess of emotions results in an excess of words, so it's pretty long. Enjoy?

November 21, 2014 – 2 weeks before the strike
There's been a lot of misinformation spread about the impending GTFF (Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation) strike, scheduled to start Dec. 2. The UO administration has repeatedly misrepresented the current contract, their own offers, and the bargaining process thus far, including taking credit for inclusions they fought hard against and lying to international students about risks to their immigration status if they strike. For an excellent summary of some of the more pervasive lies, see:…/clarifying-misunderstandings/. A number of department heads, including Linguistics, wrote a letter to the upper-level administration, which you can (and definitely should!) read here:…/HeadsAndDirectors_Lette….

If you are an undergrad and have a GTF (which, as we teach 1/3 of UO classes and 98% of "special sections" [discussion sections and labs, primarily], is practically guaranteed), you can read up about how the strike might effect you here:…/letter-to-undergraduates/. Unlike the Provost, the GTFF can not send out emails to the entire university community, so if you are an undergrad/spend any time with undergrads, please do consider reading it and sharing it.

There are many things about this that make me angry, but I don't want this to become even longer than it already is, so I will just say:
We teach your classes. We grade your tests. We mentor your students, do your research, keep your university running. And 56% of us make less than the UO's own cost-of-living calculation. We're not asking for that to be rectified (the wage increase proposed only applies to the ~250 lowest-paid GTFs out of a total of ~1500); we just want to know that if a medical emergency occurs, we won't lose our jobs and health insurance, and that if we decide to have children, we have options besides taking time off or leaving school entirely.

And, for God's sake, maybe some indication that the University of Oregon values education, not just athletics and administrator salaries.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Clinique Cheek Pop Berry Pop Review and Swatches

I really didn't intend to be absent for so long, but...well, time flies when you're having fun (and by "having fun", I mean "working frantically", which fortunately are not mutually exclusive). My union is on the verge of a strike, scheduled for December 2––you can read about it here, here, and here, and if you'd like to support us, you can sign the petition here––which adds further excitement to an already-full schedule. Basically, I love my union, my university has disappointed me (gee, I feel like this has happened before...), and I have no time. But here, some blush!
pristine and beautifully untouched Clinique Berry Pop*

Monday, October 13, 2014


Fact: it's been a month since my last post. It's not a lack of things to write about that's caused the hiatus––I've got product reviews, comparison swatches, list posts, and assorted miscellany to share. But the boy and I broke up a few weeks ago, and even planned, mutual, amicable breakups still fucking suck. Add in teaching, research, classes, and general life stuff, and you have a very tired Amy.

I don't know when I'll be back to posting (regularly, or even at all) again, but I wanted y'all to know that I'm still alive and relatively well. I miss you! And even though I'm the most lax commenter in the world, I'm reading and enjoying your posts.

Now I'm off to drink some tea and do some grading. I hope you're all enjoying the changing leaves and the consumption of the hot beverage of your choice :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ModelCo Eye Shadow Trio in Smokey Eye Review and Swatches

Another eyeshadow palette! This one was a gift from Larie, and fills the black-smoky-eye hole in my collection.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta Review and Swatches

I am not a blush person. I mean, I wear it every day, because otherwise I look like a sickly ghost, but it doesn't excite me like lippies do. Still, every once in awhile, something comes along to catch my eye. The Hourglass Ambient Lights Blush line was one such thing. Upon swatching, I liked Diffused Heat and Radiant Magenta, but decided that the latter was more unique in my stash and picked it up during the Sephora spring sale (since $35 for a blush is, like, a lot).
It is pretty, though.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fun with Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Royal Blue

I wear foundation/concealer/brows (and to a lesser extent blush) because I think they make me look better, but eyeshadow/liner/lipstick because they're fun. I realized a few weeks ago that mascara, long part of the first group, comes in colors and could therefore become fun, too! So when I found a bunch of the Maybelline Great Lash colored mascaras from last summer at Grocery Outlet for $2.99 apiece, I picked up the blue and teal ones. I've only opened the blue, since I currently have 3 other mascaras in rotation (I don't know how that happened, either), and have been playing around with it. And guys, guess what? It's fun.
this is what fun looks like, y'all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Urban Decay Naked Basics Review and Swatches

In the process of moving, I sorted through my makeups and got rid of things I don't (at least semi-) regularly use. This included theBalm Nude 'Tude, leaving a brown-neutral (matte) hole in my stash, which I decided to fill with Urban Decay's Naked Basics. (Urban Decay just released Naked2 Basics, which I have not seen in person. It claims to be a cooler-toned version to Naked Basics, but swatches online suggest it doesn't have the same range of depth as the original, so while I love cool-toned neutrals, it's not calling to me particularly strongly.)

Naked Basics is UD's matte companion to the more glitter-tastic full Naked palettes, none of which I own. Basics includes 5 matte shades and one shimmer (Venus), with 3 pale highlighting-type shades. It is definitely not a palette that everyone will find useful (though the denizens of the internet review sites certainly seem to like it), as you have to like mattes and light shades, but I find it to be a very valuable addition to my stash.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Makeup / Beauty / Cosmetics Return Policies by Store

Back in the baby days of the blog, I did a master post of beauty return policies by store. As that was more than 3 years ago (whoaaa), I thought it high time for an update. Many stores haven't changed their policies, but I've included them all here regardless.

Pretty much everywhere will accept returns on orders if the product is damaged or they got the order wrong, so I'm just going to focus on products that didn't work out for whatever reason. Stores followed by a * only accept unused beauty products, though some are "at the discretion of the manager", which is noted as necessary; all others accept used/opened makeup and beauty products. I make note of the following: online vs. in-store purchases, including how long you can return items with a receipt, without a receipt, and what form the refund comes in, as well as any other relevant notes. I've listed them in alphabetical order, with links to the page about returns, if available (some of which are great, and some of which *cough*ULTA*cough* are clearly designed to put you off with the hassle of returning something). I do most of my shopping online, since Eugene is a bit of a wasteland shopping-wise, and it can be hard to find information about returning in-store purchases on stores' websites, so if you have any personal experience returning things you bought in person (especially without a receipt), please let me know! OKAY, LET'S DO THIS.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fragrance Friday

I've taken to burning candles pretty much continuously since my therapist recommended it as a way to remember my friends who have died. I feel like I should review them, because there's not a lot of candle scent reviews online, but I don't really want to. I purchased the candles in memoriam and very actively didn't try to intellectualize how they smelled. My "goal", if one can call it that, is to find a scent that captures the spirits as I knew them, so even candles that I like the scent of (like Muscari) get only a mediocre response in that regard. That being said, here are some extremely brief summaries of some of the ones I've tried. Maybe they'll help someone. I burned the votive candles of all of these except for Suede Blanc, which was a 2 wick metallo candle; the pictures for each reflect that.

Smells like dude cologne or aftershave. It's fine, it's just...not what I was hoping for. The denizens of the internet love it, though. Good throw.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Khaki Review and Swatches

I am almost always late in the morning, because I always want that extra few minutes of sleep and tell myself I'll be speedy enough to make up for it. It's rarely true. In an effort to remedy this (while still getting those precious snoozes, of course), I've been trying to streamline my beauty routine. 

If I were extraordinarily efficient, I could do my whole beauty routine in 15 minutes, but I am not, so it usually takes about 25-30. Eye makeup is often a time eater, since applying/blending eyeshadow can be a challenge when tired and mostly blind, so I decided to cave and finally try one of the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks in the hopes it could be a swipe-and-go kind of product.* I chose Khaki, wanting a versatile but not boring neutral, and owning too many (purpley) taupes to justify Amethyst.
a rather uninspiring picture of the unused product

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dior Addict Lip Maximizer High Volume Lip Plumper Review and Pictures

I'm not really sure what inspired me to purchase this. I don't tend to have need for lip plumpers (a decent lippie formula provides enough moisture to even out any lines), and I'm not really a gloss girl. But still, upon returning my Chanel and Armani lip glosses to Nordstrom (last July, as in 2013. Because I am super behind.) and being asked if I wanted to pick up something else instead, I asked for this, the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer High Volume Lip Plumper. Which is an utterly absurd name, and shall henceforth be referred to as "it" or "this".
Pretty! That brown in the background is the ruins of the Acropolis
at Pergamon, where I discovered that it is a very bad idea to
wear lip gloss in a dusty place on a windy day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Manicure Monday

GUYS! I DID IT! I finally finished wearing every single one of my polishes. It would have happened sooner if I could have stopped myself from picking up new ones, but...whatever. New Year's resolution DEFEATED. Boom.

This is a pretty massive post, so I'm going to try and keep it short(ish) and sweet(ish). I got gradually less successful at being brief over time...

Sally Hansen Rosy Outlook with Wet N Wild Waves of Enchantment, taped
WoE is sheer, but it's really pretty layered over Rosy Outlook.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Skincare Saturday: Rainshadow Labs AEBG Eye Bright Gel

It's been an eon and a half since I've done a Skincare Saturday, though not for lack of options. Today's feature is another Rainshadow Labs product, their Eye Bright Gel.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Manicure Monday

So much for resuming super regular posting, ha! Comes as no surprise, I'm sure. Working on an abstract due at the end of July, so I haven't had much time for anything besides coding lately. This still isn't all the manis I've worn and not posted about over the past few months, but it's some! And I'm down to less than 15 unworns, HUZZAH!

Two holos, both lovely in their own way. Storm is opaque in 2 coats and is a scattered holo; Golden Tourmaline is a one coater and linear holo. Taping is fun! This was taken on day 2, hence the tip wear. Keeping them both!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Wild Bouquet Review and Swatches

Keeping on my "hey self, let's remember that you're a beauty blogger and should maybe, like, blog about beauty or something" kick, here's a lovely nude blush! Liz had suggested it, and I bow to her in all things blushy. She did not lead me astray!
untouched pan porn! It's very wee, and the compact is correspondingly small,
which makes it excellent for travel. You can also pop it out and stick it into a palette
(LM makes some, but I'm sure a Z palette or something similar would work, too).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Manicure Monday

Hi, y'all! Sorry I've been so MIA (I mean, even more than usual). I'll ease into posting again with a new Manicure Monday––it's been more than 2 months since my last one (wtfffff), but I've been trucking along with my NY resolution. It might go faster if I stopped buying new polishes, but...well, I'm only (a nail polish addicted) human. This isn't everything I've worn, but I'll include the rest in my next MM :)

Color Club Eternal Beauty
This is a polish I haven't already posted, in spite of having had it for, like, a year. It was part of the set gifted to me by the lovely Amanda! All the CC holos are super holographic and incredibly pigmented (this was one coat!), and really fast to dry. Unfortunately, it doesn't get along with uneven nails, and chipped on my middle fingers (both of which had lost the upper layer of nail on the tip). It's real pretty, though, and good for days I don't have much time to devote to my nails. I also want to use it with others from the line in nail art! Rainbowy holo goodness.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


inspired by emails
with besties, here are some quick
updates on amy

moving so tiring
house great, will be better when
everything settled

beauty area
so nicely organized! yay!
will post pictures soon

made fresh fruit and veg
smoothie for dinner tonight.
yum, but meal drink? weird

give me recipes!
i love to play with cooking
bread is delicious.

another friend died
leukemia came back, saw
him in hospital

was responding well
6 days later, pneumonia
killed him. what bullshit.

regular posting
when less blah and have more time
i miss y'all! your turn:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Hi! I know I've been rather absent lately, both here and elsewhere on the interwebs, and I just wanted to drop a note and let y'all know it will be a little while longer before I'm back to posting and commenting regularly. My brother and I are moving out of our family home into a lovely little house of our own, and I have a ton of stuff to pack and move––I went to college back east, but never actually cleaned out my rooms here, so I have 16 years' worth of stuff to wade through. It'll be nice to get rid of all the excess, but eyvah*, it's quite a task.

I have a number of posts in the works (lip balm comparison, several product reviews, makeup organization, various skincare and perfume posts, massive mineral makeup swatches, among others), and while it'll be a couple of weeks until I'm in a situation where I have the time and energy to post, I don't want you to think I'm gone for good!

*Turkish for "good grief", and suspiciously similar to the Yiddish oy vey, which is how I remember what it means. I thought they might both be from the same Semitic root: Yiddish, while primarily Germanic in vocabulary and grammar, has a number of roots of Semitic origin, and Turkish, a member of the Turkic family (and controversial macro-family Altaic), has borrowed heavily from Arabic, another Semitic language. However, it looks like if they are related, it's through Indo-European! The Yiddish likely comes from the German ach weh "oh woe, oh pain" (though Chabad traces it instead to Hebrew and Aramaic), while the Turkish is apparently borrowed from Farsi, which is, along with German, Albanian, Italian, Russian, Hindi, and a bunch of other languages, part of the big Indo-European language family. I'm not a historical linguist, have never studied Farsi or Yiddish, and don't do etymology, so this should really be taken with a lot of grains of salt, but still, it's kind of cool! Language is great.

Do you have any moving tips? I'll read them, even if I don't have the chance to respond right away!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hakuhodo Brushes: My Fledgling Collection (J5523, J004G, G5512BkSL, Retractable BkA Flat PBT Lip)

Hi! Remember me? I used to write things sometimes. Then research and end of term stress happened (if it seems like I use that excuse a lot, it's because the UO operates on the quarter system and just as I've gotten over the stress of one finals season, another is upon me) and I kind of fell off the world. You may not hear from me again for another week or so, but it's a long post, so feel free to drag it out over a few days.

A couple months ago, I decided I was ready to upgrade my eye brushes. My brush collection is entirely affordable brushes, but I wanted something fancier for playing with my eyeshadow. MAC brushes are easily accessible, but they're not very cheap, and from what I've read, the quality isn't the best. Hakuhodo brushes, at least for the eyes, are relatively reasonably priced, and of very high quality, but they have to be ordered online. Fortunately, there's a number of very thorough guides online, and after I measured the brushes I already own, I was able to have an idea of what dimensions would work best for me (and will be adding size info to my complete makeup brush post once the term is over and I have more time).
Left to right: J5523, J004G, G5520BkSL, G5512BkSL, Retractable Push-up Lip Brush BkA Flat PBT
I ordered 5 brushes, four for eyes and one for lips. I wanted things I could use every day, so I opted for a variety of types: one base/laydown (J004G, second from left), one crease (G5520BkSL, center), one blender (J5523, far left), and one liner (G5512BkSL, second from right). I'll discuss them in the order I use them on a normal day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catrice Defining Blush 040 Think Pink Review and Swatches

I have two more products that I bought when I was in Germany last summer (which, yes, if you're keeping track, was nearly 10 months ago) and have gotten tired of having them in the back of my mind as "need to be reviewed". So I'm gonna do something about it! Write this review, namely. First up: Catrice Think Pink.
Think pink! Pink! PINK! *ahem*

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here, Let Me Show You My Mascaras

There are so many things that can make a mascara go wrong. It can smudge. It can flake. It can itch, or smell, or clump, or loosen curl, or fade, or fill-in-the-blank-here. My lashes are naturally long, dark (slightly lighter at the tips), and plentiful, and they grow straight, so if I don't curl them, they bump against my glasses (even more of a problem when wearing mascara!). I therefore look for mascara that doesn't clump them together (an effect of many volumizing formulas) and does hold a curl.

Terminology clarification: when I say "mascara clumping", I mean that the mascara builds up on the lashes in little balls. When I say "lash clumping", I mean the mascara clumps individual lashes together, making them look like a single mondo lash.

Since mascara needs to be replaced at least every three months, I try to stick to drugstore options, but there are a couple of higher-end ones here. My absolute favorite HG love forever is Armani Eyes to Kill, but it's $30 a tube and in the 2 years since I first purchased it, I haven't been able to bring myself to fork over the cash again. Fortunately, Maybelline Full N Soft is almost as good and 1/5 the price! And several of these that I've tried lately are good, too. (Most of the pictures in this post are stolen from other posts on the blog, so if they look familiar, don't worry, you're not crazy. Or, well, you might be, and at the very least you certainly have an uncannily excellent visual memory, but it's probably not reason to get yourself checked out.) For all mascaras here, I have chosen the blackest option, since anything else just seems pointless.

For reference, bare, curled lashes:
you're gonna be seeing a lot of my right eye in this post.
Maybelline Full N Soft, one coat:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fragrance Friday

What's this, you say? A real, honest-to-God Fragrance Friday? 'Tis true! I'm making a concerted effort to get through my massive pile of samples, so this may be the start of a trend (maybe. Don't hold me to it).

I ordered several Dawn Spencer Horowitz (DSH) perfumes during a sale, before I realized just how many perfume samples I already had lying around, but I don't regret it! Every single one I've tried has been awesome. The 0.5 ml edp samples (which, from my order, seem to really range from 0.5-0.7) are $5 each; I transfer pretty much everything into spray vials from Lotioncrafter, as dabbers annoy me, but the DSH scents have excellent throw and dabbing is actually perfectly sufficient to be able to smell them, so these don't strictly need to be decanted. The catalogue is enormous, and I had a devil of a time getting it down to 8 choices (6 paid, 2 free samples for spending $25). Being me, I chose lots of woodsy/incensey/mossy scents, with a couple of florals for good measure, but there's certainly many more types to choose from. Here are the first two!

DSH Passport à Paris (Oriental Fougere: lemon, bergamot, lavender, rosewood, mandarin orange, jasmine, bulgarian rose, orris root, clover, Australian sandalwood, amber, vanilla, coumarin, ambergris, Indian patchouli, civet): This reminds me of Guerlain Jicky, one of my favorites (though it's been nearly a year since my sample ran out, sob). It opens citrusy, then shifts into an herbal vanilla. The coumarin is quite dominant on my skin, but it's not what I'd call a gourmand or even sweet perfume, thanks to the civet, ambergris, patchouli, and abundance of woods. I can't really smell the jasmine and rose, but I do get a slight floral/planty haze that softens and lightens the perfume. It's a wonderful spring perfume, actually; the blend of woods, flowers, green herbs, citrus, and musk is a nice reflection of the unpredictable weather and vibrant fertility of the season.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Le Métier de Beauté Radiance Powder Rouge in Echo Review and Swatches

Larie gifted this to me, queen of generosity that she is! I was thrilled, since I love LMdB and had no peachy-pink-gold blush, having given away the palette containing theBalm Hot Mama.
I want to eat it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Skincare Saturday: Rainshadow Labs ABT Blemish Clearing Mask

I went off birth control a few months ago (and am now using the LadyComp Pearly, which I'll probably devote a post to someday), and while I'm overall pleased with the decision, it has had the unfortunate side effect of fucking up my skin. I need more data to know for sure, but it seems that there's a couple of weeks of every cycle, around ovulation, where my skin decides it's had it with anything resembling good behavior. I break out in small spots, big spots, cystic acne, the whole works. It's terrible. Seriously, skin, fuck you.

Benzoyl peroxide (I use Clean & Clear PersaGel 10) helps speed up the healing process, but it's also quite drying, so I can't use it all the time. I augment it with nightly application of Rainshadow Lab's ABT Blemish Clearing Mask. It's advertised as either a spot treatment or full-face mask, but I find it absorbs nicely and I can wear it as a sort of serum at night (it also works underneath makeup, but I tend to restrict my acne treatments to nighttime only so as not to overstress my skin). I'm not sure it has a big effect on preventing acne, but I do notice it helps speed up the healing process on blemishes that already exist, and works beautifully on bigger cystic acne as well––nightly application on spots makes them less noticeable, less painful, and heal faster.
similar thickness to honey, but without the stickiness.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lancôme Lip Lover in 333 Rose des Nymphes Review and Swatches

This is Lancôme's take on the all-in-one lip color trend. After reading numerous favorable reviews of the formula, I decided to pick one up during the Sephora sale. I chose Rose des Nymphes, a pink, as I have no glosses of that shade (lots of lipsticks, though, ha), and doesn't warm weather warrant pink? 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Springing Spring: Pink Lipsticks

I have somehow, in the last couple months, managed to acquire three cool pink lipsticks. That's not a color family that I tend to gravitate towards, preferring warmer pinks or deeper plums, but a confluence of factors (one I won in a giveaway, one was a free gift with purchase, and one caught my eye in Rite Aid) led to this point, so...whatever. Here's my thoughts!

Tarte LipSurgence SkinTuitive Lip Tint in Energy*
This is one of those "pH matching" products, which is complete baloney, but it came free from Ulta when I ordered my mother's mascara, and even if the marketing is a bunch of hooey, that doesn't mean it's not still a pretty pink. And it is, though it's not without its issues. It applies clear, and like all Tarte LipSurgence products, it smells and tastes like mint and tingles a bit upon application. After a minute or two, it's turned into a sheer medium pink (thanks to the Red #27 in it). It's mildly moisturizing, in spite of the peppermint, but I don't get very long wear and need to reapply roughly every hour. It does lightly stain, but only the inside of my lips; for it to wear completely evenly, I need to exfoliate my lips ahead of time, and that's more than I can usually remember to do. Still, it was free, and it's pretty on, so I'll probably use up the sample! $24 for 0.1 oz, available from Sephora, among others
*free gift with purchase

Monday, April 28, 2014

Manicure Monday

Another week, another batch of unworns.

OPI Black Cherry Chutney with Wet N Wild Night Prowl
Night Prowl may very well be opaque enough on its own, but I was too lazy to find out, so I just did it over a coat of BCC. Pretty!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

L'Oreal Infallible Gilded Envy and Infinite Sky Review and Swatches

I picked these up a while back when Rite Aid had 40% off L'Oreal and I felt like injecting some new sparkle to my eye collection. I love Bronzed Taupe, though I don't find the Infallible formula to be ironclad like others do, but I always wear eyeshadow primer anyways, so whatever. Gilded Envy and Infinite Sky are both very different from anything else in my stash, at least!

Gilded Envy is a crazy pewter-olive-grey-sage-whatthefuck glittery reflective pile of amazing.
macros r us

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Marcelle Rouge Vitality Lipstick in 540 Desire Pink Review and Swatches

Many months ago, Sarah sent me the most delightful care package, full of sweet, thoughtful goodies, including some makeup (and a Ryan Gosling journal, swoon).
100% pure awesome.
She included Annabelle Rosewood blush, which funnily enough is the same shade Liz sent me, way back in the day (and is one I love, and since it's not available in the US, it never hurts to have a backup!), and Marcelle Rouge Vitality Lipstick 540 Desire Pink.
the lipstick in question

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Skincare Saturday: Rainshadow Labs ABR Bamboo Raspberry Antioxidant Scrub

I like using a manual exfoliator on my face every few days, and tend to rotate between my Clarisonic, Tosowoong, and muslin cloths most of the time, but sometimes I want something a little more...luxurious, I guess? So I picked up the RSL Bamboo Raspberry Antioxidant Scrub with Natural Açai Berry scent for those occasions.

It smells like blueberries and bell peppers, and while not a bad smell, I do wonder if I would prefer the unscented version. It looks like something Cthulhu puked up and feels like that same vomit was scooped up with some sand and put into a jar.
And yet, it works! I can see how you might have trouble believing me after that rather evocative description, but really, this stuff is great.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tarina Tarantino FOTD

I won Liz's Tarina Tarantino giveaway, and after a number of delays, my goodies arrived a few days ago and I've been having fun playing with them! I'll do complete reviews of the products over the next few weeks, but I thought it would be nice to start with a full Tarantino FOTD as a preview.
MAC Matchmaster 1.0 mixed with Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Zero Minus
MUFE Full Cover Concealer 1
Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Luminizing Primer* patted on cheekbones, cupid's bow, browbone
Meow Cosmetics Pampered/Flawless Sleek Siamese/Korat foundation
Ben Nye Neutral Set Powder
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Radiant Magenta

Monday, April 14, 2014

Manicure Monday

Still truckin' along with my NY resolution! Here's some of what's been on my tips the past couple weeks.

a england St. George
Amazed I haven't reviewed this already! It's a gorgeous dark teal with subtle holo, opaque in one coat. I remember disliking the a england brush, but it was fine this time (except for my ring fingers, which both ended up with polish on the cuticle, how annoying!). I wasn't going to photograph it because my nails are super short, due to one breaking, but then I discovered I haven't featured this polish yet, so I figured it's better to have stubby photos than none at all. Now I want to try Dragon again to see if maybe it will behave better than I remember...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fragrance Friday: More Candles

Spring is springing in the most delightful way: we've had 5 days of glorious sun and temps in the 60s-70s, the trees are blooming, flowers are sprouting, and regrowth and happiness abounds. Spring is my favorite season (even if it does have my least favorite seasonal collections!), but in the past few years, it has coincided with some glumness. My first assaults were in the spring and I found out my school had betrayed me in the spring, but this year, I feel surprisingly light. Counseling helps, kids! Unfortunately, the relative mental health has been tempered by the shadow of the passing of T. As I was driving to class yesterday under the blossoming trees, in awe of their loveliness, I was struck with the realization that she does not get to experience it, that no matter how beautiful the blooms and vibrant the flowers, they will not reach her. I do realize that for life to be moving, there must also be death, but I don't have to like it.

My counselor told me that candles are common cross-culturally as a way to honor those who have died and suggested I get one to burn when I'm thinking of T. I haven't felt all that interested in perfume lately, sticking to a few tried-and-true favorites, but I do still love experiencing pleasant smells and decided that a scented candle could be one way I remember T. I'm still searching for one that smells like I feel about her (such might not exist), but I've tried a couple that I'll share with you today!

First up is Voluspa Black Figue and Chypre. I love fig candles and had tried their Figue de Bordeaux variety so thought it would be nice to check out something different. Where FdB is pure fig, creamy and green and woody, BF&C is darker and moodier. It's still very much fig, but weighted down by a slightly sour, dirty moss, like...I don't know, a fig found in a cave in a forest. The throw is awesome, probably thanks in part to the two wicks; I burn it in our living room and the scent trails all the way up our foyer onto the second floor, but it doesn't linger for a long time afterwards. I find it burns evenly and, as long as the wicks are trimmed before each use, doesn't smoke. Voluspas are great, and I have another couple (of the smaller Petite Decorative Candle design, in Crane Flower and Moso Bamboo) on the way! $16 for 11 oz, ~50 hour burn time, available from Nordstrom and, among others

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in RD711 Pink Sands Review and Swatches

HSN sent me a $10 off coupon for no reason at all, but I'm not one to ignore free money, so I used it to pick up a Shiseido eyeshadow trio after having heard nothing but raves. (Oddly, though, now all the Shiseido stuff is gone from their website! How peculiar.) I chose Pink Sands, because I don't have enough neutralish palettes, I guess? I wanted something I would get a lot of wear out of, anyways.
Beautiful untouched pans!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Guest Post: Sunday Procrastination Nails

My friend T is away at grad school in Davis, but we keep in touch by Snapchatting our manis to each other. I requested she do a guest post, and she kindly obliged! Enjoy :)

I have about 150 pages of journal articles to read about DNA replication. It’s about as thrilling as it sounds. So naturally, I decided to undertake an overly complicated mani in order to procrastinate. A while ago I came across this photo on reddit by /u/WarOfArt. I’ve always wanted to attempt it, and I finally got some striping tape. So what better time to do it than when you are supposed to be doing reading?

I decided to only attempt this as an accent nail for obvious reasons. Anyone with the patience to do this on all their nails deserves some sort of medal.


Here’s a picture of the taped up nail. Its pretty impossible to get everything perfectly straight but I tried my best.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

30 Days: Day 23

We found out today that my grandfather has lung cancer. It's in the very early stages, so we're hopeful that it won't be fatal, but we won't know for sure until after the PET scan, which is yet to be scheduled. The doctor said it's a relatively slow-growing type of cancer, and thus far it seems to be restricted to one place on his left lung, but we'll find out more after further tests. Surgery is almost guaranteed, though probably not within the next month, because stress is fun, right? Right. Those of you who read regularly may already know that I live with my mother and my grandparents, which is great because I get to see them all the time, but being so close does mean that these sorts of things hit close to home (I know, I'm sorry, I couldn't resist). I'll remain hopeful until we get more information; I'm not great at dealing with death, so I'm crossing my fingers that Papa will be around for a nice long while, even if he is 83 years old.

But anyways. Here's some eyeliner, and another post on the way to completing this unending series.

What does your eyeliner collection look like?
Arm swatches of the whole shebang! 2 swipes unless noted otherwise.
Lots of pencils, since with my tremor and general lack of sight without glasses means liquid can be a challenge to get even. That hasn't stopped me from picking up a few cheap liquid liners, but they don't see as much play as my pencils.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Manicure Monday

Because it's still Monday in Oregon!

Ruby Wing Poppy with Cult Nails Alter Ego
This shot was taken after Poppy had started to change colors. I seriously wish all polishes were UV sensitive. Alter Ego, another DC Cult Nails polish (I only buy them when they're on sale, ha), gives an interesting antique gold shimmer overlay. I'm still experimenting to find what colors I like it layered over, but basically, sheer toppers = endless fun.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sephora Sale/Spring Wishlist

Sephora's 15% off sale is coming up sometime in the next few weeks, and I have a number of items I would like to pick up. I don't tend to gravitate towards spring collections, because I find pastels boring as fuck (I may be a little tipsy writing this––I got an A+ in my final required grad school class! SCORE! So I'm feeling pretty down with indulging in some wine before heading to dinner with my mother). I'm on a lippie kick, as you may have noticed, so even though there's a number of lipsticks I haven't yet reviewed, I feel the itch to pick up more. Never too many lipsticks!! But after going on a swatching frenzy at Sephora here in Portland (I managed to not get lost in the Washington Square Mall this time! Mostly because I had a map, but still. I am clearly a champion.), I have a number of other products I want, too. Feast your eyes, my pretties, and let me know if you've tried any of these and what you thought! Especially if you hated it. Then I will have one less thing to covet!

I haven't purchased a new blush in, like, 8 months (no, seriously, the last one was in Germany, and I still haven't reviewed it, oh my God I am a terrible blogger), and I am feeling the urge. I wear blush every day, because otherwise I look like a sick ghost, but it doesn't have the same appeal for me as lippies and even eyeshadow do. (Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention I got a blush from Awesome Larie last fall, LMdB's Echo, which also hasn't been reviewed, so I have no need for coral/warm pink blushes.) (Which is not to say there's not still some of those on my wishlist. I'm not a saint, okay?)
This one is not Polyvore, because Polyvore didn't have Diffused Heat.
Clockwise from top left: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Diffused Heat, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Radiant Magenta, Clinique Plum Pop, Tarte Blushing Bride, Make Up For Ever HD Blush 215, Rimmel Stay Blushed! 001 Pop of Pink

Monday, March 24, 2014

Manicure Monday

I finished winter term last Thursday (after writing some 4500 words in a 22-hour span, #likeaboss) and spent Friday catching up on rest, Saturday cleaning, and Sunday relaxing. As I write this on Sunday, I'm awaiting the boy's return home after more than a month in San Francisco, and I'm pretty psyched to see him (#understatement). We're going to the coast for a couple of days, and then I'm going to Portland for a couple of nights with my mother, so it may be a little bit until I'm back to a (somewhat) regular posting (and commenting) schedule. But here! Have some nail polish. It's

St. Patrick's Mani: Color Club Cactus and Cult Nails Two-Timer
My ex was (and, as far as I know, still is!) Irish-American and very into St. Patty's Day, so I have a bit of lingering resentment towards the holiday (through no fault of its own). Nevertheless, I decided to get into the holiday spirit with a very green manicure, featuring Color Club Cactus and Cult Nails Two-Timer, which I bought when it was on clearance for $3 (scoooooore). While it's kind of lumpy, and I'm not really sure why––I probably didn't give enough time between coats––it wore like iron; this photo was taken after 4 days. Which may not be all that impressive by some people's standards, but I was super thrilled! My right (dominant) hand looked almost as good, too. Cray.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Term Nonsense

The end of the term is nigh, and as I am actually taking a class this term (my final required course! The UO linguistics program requires 2+ years of course work for the Ph.D., because...getting out in 5 years is for squares, amiright?), I have a term paper and am currently swimming in semantics data. So I have been/am going to be even more absent than usual until Thursday the 20th, which is when my paper is due. Not that you'll probably notice anything unusual, given how sporadic I am at posting, heh.

But I actually have a point to this post! I'm requesting music recommendations––I work on perception, not production, in part so that I can listen to music while I'm analyzing data. (I did production work in the past, and even though production is, honestly, generally more interesting than perception, it is an absolute nightmare to work with the data. #overlyhonestmethods?) I like things that are upbeat, but am open to any ideas. Some things in regular rotation at Amy'nin evi include: Vienna Teng (her new album is fun!), Florence and the Machine, Oh Land, Wolf Gang, Bastille, ZZ Ward, Phildel, Bitter:Sweet, and Ke$ha (no, I have no shame). I like things that have clapping (the songs Bedroom Hymns and Working Man come to mind), banjos (cheerful bluegrass, which I know is a total oxymoron and blasphemous etc etc., see afore-mentioned lack of musical shame), and harmonicas (Timber!). I also love Disney songs, some of Adele's more bombastic stuff, and oldies––I was raised on Springsteen (and Jimmy Buffett, but that was always somewhat unwilling on my part). So please! Throw your suggestions my way!

Other random things:
It's been sunny and 65 here and it is amazing but I can't work outside because computer screens don't like sunshine, and now that classes are over, I don't even get to walk around on campus between classes. (I'm going to try and force myself to walk around outside every couple hours, though. I'm always really grouchy when I'm interrupted when I'm working, but it can be really good to take a break and think. I guess I'm learning something after 19 years of this school thing?)
I finished teaching for this term today, and you guys, I already miss my students so much. I had such a great class this term.
I literally just realized that "vapor" and "evaporation" are related words. Native speakers don't need to decompose vocabulary, apparently, or else I'm just an idiot. Both are possible.
I have both Sara Bareilles' Brave and Katy Perry's Roar on my Grooveshark right now, and they just played back to back and I finally fully realized that they are the same song. I mean, I'd heard that they were before, but my musical memory is not great. One of them ended and the other began and I was like, wait, is this a repeated song? BUT IT WASN'T! Whoaaaa.

That's all for now. Gimme your music! And your random facts!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MAC Viva Glam V Review and Swatches

Larie threw this in with my order from her blog sale awhile back, because she is generosity incarnate :) I have many lippies, but few nudes, as they tend to make me look dead, but I thought Viva Glam V, which has been hailed as "universal", might work. And so it does!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Manicure Monday

Wow, it's been forever since I've done one of these. Which is silly, because I've been wearing nail polish pretty much constantly! So this is pretty mondo, sorry.

The boy's birthday was the 7th, so I asked him how he'd like me to do my nails. He requested an ombre from turquoise to dark blue; turns out I have enough polishes matching that description to make all 10 nails different! I used 12 polishes, most of which I hadn't yet worn this year, so it made a nice dent in my new year's resolution :)
Pinky to thumb, left hand: Sally Hansen New Wave Blue topped with Finger Paints Art You Wondering?; Wet N Wild Caribbean Frost; Zoya Wednesday topped with Golden Rose 52; Color Club Blue Heaven; Zoya Yummy

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Skincare Saturday: Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA+++ Review

I'm taking a break from the Rainshadow Labs coverage (but don't worry, it'll be back) to talk about my new HG BFF product: Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA+++, henceforth referred to using pronouns and deictics, because that name is ridiculous.
"this" / "it"
I have pale skin that slightly tans, but mostly just burns and then freckles. I actually like my freckles (angel kisses!), but skin cancer and sunburns are pretty shitty, so sunscreen needs to be a daily staple for me. In spite of this, though, I've not always been as diligent about applying it as I should be (I know! Bad past Amy.) My skin is also really, really oily, and prone to freaking the fuck out at the introduction of any new product, but after reading the positive reviews at MUA, I decided to pick up a tube of this. My prior declaration of HG BFF status should tell you how that went for me! Here's why I love it:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Fragrance Friday

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, though not for lack of perfumes––I just haven't felt like testing anything.

This Monday was T's funeral, which just sucked; funerals are always sad, but especially when it's for a 23 year old who shouldn't have died. I wore Comme de Garçons Avignon (chamomile, cistus oil, elemi, incense, vanilla, patchouli, palisander, ambrette), an incense perfume. It's beautiful and meditative, and while it would have been even more appropriate had T been Catholic, it didn't feel out of place in the synagogue, either. I don't know what frankincense and myrrh smell like separately, as I've only ever smelled them together, but Avignon opens with a mildly stringent, though by no means brash, version of the both. It softens after 10 minutes or so, grounded by amber and vanilla, and while I cannot smell the chamomile separately, I suspect it contributes to the solemn quiet beauty of the perfume. One spray lasts a solid 8 hours, and the base remains for another few hours after that.

Avignon is not a happy perfume, for me, even before I wore it to the funeral, but it is...soothing, I suppose. It smells holy and serene, and I thought it was very appropriate for the bittersweet occasion; its emotional resonance encompasses both the joy and vivacity I associate with T, as well as the sadness and anger her years of pain and untimely death create. I am not a religious person, but I can see why incense has been so meaningful in so many religious contexts for so many millennia: it does conjure a sense of the divine, or at the very least, the grandness that is our universe.

I'd had it in my mind that it was painfully expensive, but it's a relatively reasonable $80/50 ml. I hope to never have enough occasions to warrant a bottle of such a somber perfume, but I will certainly consider purchasing another sample once mine is empty.

Unrelated to perfume, but relevant to this post, is Phildel's song Funeral Bell. I absolutely love her music, and this song is so haunting and heartbreaking and tragic and wonderful. Kind of like T's art.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


My childhood best friend's younger sister passed away on Thursday. She had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and complications from a surgery to fuse her spine resulted in a coma and eventual death. She was 23.

She was a remarkable young woman––vibrant, brave, funny, sweet, beautiful, and incredibly talented. Her art is powerfully emotional (check out her site here), and the world is a worse place without her. I haven't been close with her since high school, but my memories are treasured nonetheless.  My heart breaks for her family, friends, and all of us who were lucky enough to know her. She was in terrible pain for much of her life, and I hope that she is now free, happy, and at peace.

Her funeral is in Eugene this Monday, and her family suggests donations to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation Research Fund in her memory.

Regularly posting will be back once I feel less raw.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine 02 Pourpre Intouchable Review and Swatches

I've been wanting to pick up one of the Rouge Volupté Shines ever since I tried some samples from Sephora. The formula is semi-sheer, lightweight, balmy, but not slippery, so when I had my $20 off $50 last year I decided to pick up a tube in Pourpre Intouchable, which I'd determined could be a high-end replacement for Revlon Sugar Plum, my HG MLBB shade.
Ooh, shiny.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bite Lush Lip Tint in Juice

Larie recently had a blog sale, and I picked up a couple of Bite lippies I'd been wanting to try (and, because she's amazing, she included a pile of other wonderful goodies!). I figured I'd start the reviews with this Lush Lip Tint. I like sheer lipsticks for low-maintenance days, or when I'm wearing bold eyes, and I don't have a lot of lippies in this particular color family (being warm/nude pinks).

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