Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Halloween

Happy Halloween! Predictably, this week's Artsy Wednesday theme is Halloween. I didn't want to do traditional witches and pumpkins - instead, I took a somewhat lazy route and used some oriental demon mask water decals to make a more unusual (but hopefully still spooky) monster mani. And I got a bit lazy I guess! Here it is:

And a close-up of my favourite design, the thumb:

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Current Favourites

I haven't done a favourites post in ages (since New Years in fact!), so I thought I'd share some of my recent finds and classic beauty/shiny favourites:

The Grove Perfumery Half Baked - Made by the same people who do Glasshouse, this line is sadly discontinued. Half Baked comes in a cute punk-themed glass with an air-tight lid and smells amazingly like cookie dough, but somehow doesn't make me ravenous every time I burn it. Win!

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid - I've been getting into chemical exfoliants in a big way - they give my skin that clear, even (dare I say glowing?) look. As well as my heavy duty 15% AHA, I use this on my T-zone to deal with pesky blackheads. I just wish it wouldn't itch for 5 minutes after I apply it.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ozotic Scatter Chrome 914 - Swatch and Review

Cult Aussie polish brand Ozotic are releasing some new beauties next week - the Scatter Chromes. They're duochrome shimmers packed with irregular holographic dust, a finish that I've never seen before. piCture pOlish recently sent me Ozotic Scatter Chrome 914 to review - the base duochrome colour is a dark blue, with a slight purple shift at the sides.

Onto the main dish - swatches! These are two coats over black with no topcoat, although one careful coat would be sufficient, and I . In the sun:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Trilogy Giveaway winners!

Remember the Trilogy Giveaway I held a while back? Well, I've emailed the two lucky winners, who'll receive a wonderful skincare pack courtesy of the kind people at Trilogy:

 Jen and messingaroundinboats

Thanks everyone for sharing your skincare must-haves! I really enjoyed reading them, and have added quite a few to my to-try list. If you're curious, some popular choices were rosehip oil, Clarisonic, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Lucas Paw Paw, Alpha H liquid gold and various Jurlique products.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Orly Feel the Vibe Neon collection - swatches and review

Are you ready for summer, Southern Hemisphere ladies? I am! It's the only season where I don't feel like a teenager wearing neon, although I draw the line at neon all over. Neon nails, though, are a great way of getting into the mood without making me feel too Malibu Stacy.

One of the neon ranges coming out soon is Orly's limited edition Feel the Vibe collection, which will be hitting the shelves in November. The colours are sunny and have cute summer party names. The range includes:

Four neon cremes: Melt Your Popsicle (orange), Skinny Dip (blue), Glowstick (fluoro yellow), Beach Cruiser (bright pink)

Two bold shimmers: Dayglow (white), After Party (black)

While the neon cremes were incredibly eyecatching, I was more intrigued by the black and white offerings. Here are some swatches:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Cling/saran wrap manicure

This week for Artsy Wednesday we're doing cling wrap manis (aka saran wrap, gladwrap etc.). These are usually done with two cremes, or a creme and a shimmer, but I wasn't ready to take Gloss 'n Sparkle Goblins Grave off yet, so I used that as a base and applied ulta3 Gold Rush Fever on top. Here's the result:

Monday, 22 October 2012

Oily oily oily, oi oi oi!

Even though I have an oily T-zone, I love using oils on my face. At the beginning I wasn't quite so enthusiastic, but now they're often my only moisturiser during the day. Here's a review of some of the oils I've been testing out on my face lately:

Rose-Hip Vital Rosehip Oil (RRP $19.95 for 30 mL and $29.99 for 50 mL - here)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Born Pretty to-02 plate review

I recently received this plate to-02 from the online nail supply store Born Pretty in the mail. I'm not usually a fan of small designs, but a few of these are really cute! I've circled the designs I used:

I used ulta3 Black Satin to stamp the designs on ulta3 Earl Grey. Forgive my dodgy stamping:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Spring nails

Yay Artsy Wednesday! The theme is "inspired by the current season", which is our way of getting around the fact we're spread around both hemispheres. So here are some predictably pastel spring nails for you, in both glossy and matte flavours. Glossy:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bellabox and Lust Have It! - September comparison

I haven't posted about sample boxes before, although I've subscribed to a few since early this year. Sample subscription services are a great way to try out new products cheaply, conveniently and hygienically. Bellabox and Lust Have It!, two of the most popular services in Australia, will send a box to your doorstep each month filled with 5-6 beauty goodies for the low price of $15. Most are sample-sized, with a couple of full sized products mixed in sometimes. Additionally, they often come with a voucher or two for various e-tailers.

To help compare the two boxes, I've listed the contents along with the calculated value of the sample sized product when it's easily calculated, based on the RRP and size of the full product. I've also calculated the overall value of each box, along with the value of products that I'll personally get a lot of use out of (products marked with an asterisk).

What's in each box?


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Loki's Lacquer Swatches and Review

I've been a lacquerhead for a while now, but I've only recently gotten into indie polishes. Conveniently, there are some great indie polish makers in Australia, such as Emily de Molly and Gloss n Sparkle. Today I've got a couple of swatches from Loki's Lacquer, a line of indies produced by Tara, an Aussie blogger, whose super cute daughters also love polish! You can find them on Etsy here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Make-up organisation bonanza!

Make-up organisation has not been my strong point. My organisational style is best described as "ambitious, but fickle", and my room is usually an explosion of shiny things and packaging detritus. And naturally, the pointy and breakable things have a knack of finding themselves under my feet.

So I was super excited when I recently received a mini make-up box from Make-up Box at Beauty Bloggers Utopia. So excited, in fact, that I embarked on a total overhaul of all the girly stuff in my room...

Everyday make-up: Mini original make-up box* - $49 from

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Wedding Nails

The theme this week for Artsy Wednesday is wedding nails. I haven't been keeping up with reality TV on principle (and due to lack of time, but it's mainly the principle!) so I don't know too much about weddings, which I gather is one of the things reality TV educates one on. I've watched Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, but somehow that strikes me as exactly what /not/ to do.

One of the few things I know I "want" for my wedding (if I ever have one - the bf has been making noises to the effect that he wants nothing to do with them, so who knows) is that I want everything to be simple, so I (or my possible children) won't look back and think of anything as tacky. I think for my actual wedding I'll wear a one-colour creme mani, but that would make for a very boring Artsy Wednesday!

So this is my relatively simple wedding mani design:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Benefit Go Tropicoral Lip and Cheek Kit

I have a problem with Benefit. It's impossible for me to avoid the siren call of their adorable packaging and cute product names, but my student budget just won't let me pick something up every time I walk past their counter. It's hard being a girl! Luckily, their mini kits are a lot more wallet-friendly, letting you try out a selection of their items for the cost of a single full-sized item, and the packaging is usually even cuter!

Benefit have just released 3 gorgeous lip and cheek tint kits Sugarlicious, Feelin' Dandy and Go Tropicoral. Each kit contains a lip and cheek stain, blush, lip gloss and highlighter (High Beam). There's also an illustrated step-by-step guide inside to teach you how to use the products, as well as a handy mirror.

The kit I've got is Go Tropicoral. It contains:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Cupcake nails! Darling Art Class water decals at BBU

Last weekend I went to Beauty Bloggers Utopia, which brought together 30 Australian beauty bloggers for a weekend of delicious food, inspiring talks and more make-up than you can shake a kabuki brush at. Naturally the thing I was most excited about was the nail art workshop hosted by Darling, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Predictable, moi? :P

I had a mild moment of panic when I saw a tower of cups lined up. Immediate thought: water marbling, FFFUUUUUU-! Luckily for me (AND EVERYONE ELSE), it turned out to be a water decal workshop. Phew! (Trust me, if you haven't tried it, water marbling is not to be taken lightly. Allocate 5 hours at least.)

Darling is an Australian nail polish brand which launched late last year. They have a range of gorgeous 5-free lacquers with excellent, creamy formulas. I've had the privilege of trying out a bunch and they're super gorgeous (I'll be showing some nail art I did on Polish or Perish next week), but today I'll be featuring a sneak peek of their upcoming Art Class water decal range. These are the cutest ones in my opinion, and very, very necessary - baked goods:

Friday, 5 October 2012

Ceramides - what the eff are they and why are they in my cream?

Ceramides - where have I heard that before?

Ceramides are in lots of moisturisers and serums. Brands which feature ceramides in their skincare range include Elizabeth Arden, L'Oréal, Ultraceuticals and Innoxa.

What are ceramides?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Favourite Nail Polish Brand - ulta3

This week's challenge was incredibly difficult for me. The theme is favourite polish brand, and I was paralysed by choice - do I go with the always well-formulated OPI? Or the super covetable shades from China Glaze, makers of OMG? The smaller but excellent Nubar? Or maybe even an indie glitterbomb maker?

In the end, I went with ulta3. Why?

- They're an Aussie brand. I'm not normally so patriotic, but it's so great when a brand from our little country succeeds. And they're easy for me to find!

- My first polishes were from ulta3... all the way back when their labels had swirly script!

- They're amazingly good value, and great for an impulsive low-guilt pick-me-up at the end of a crappy day. But that doesn't mean the quality is poor - their cremes are usually amazingly non-streaky and some say comparable to OPI. Some of the new PRC formulas are one-coaters, and many are good for stamping.

- Lately they've been very quick to get with the latest trends, with their magnetics collection and the new Spring pastels. And because they're Aussie, they're not putting out reverse seasons.

Unfortunately, since I've been run off my feet for the last few days with BBU and IMATS, I haven't had time to plan elaborate skittles showing off my favourite shades (although ideally that's what I would've done). So here's a simple stamped, season-appropriate mani using ulta3 Corsican Rose (from the new Pretty Pastels collection) and Silver Grey with a Mash plate.

If you were forced to pick a favourite polish brand, what would you choose?

See the other Artsy Wednesday girls struggle (or not) to pick just one:

Sadly this is Ms Lizard's last week with us as she takes a hiatus from blogging.

IMATS round-up and haul - LimeLily, OCC Lip Tar, lashes!

Hello lovelies! I've had a huge weekend - as well as Sydney IMATS (the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show), I was also lucky enough to be invited to Beauty Bloggers Utopia, a conference for Australian beauty bloggers. I saw and learned so much it's going to take a few posts to cover everything, so today in plunging into the deep end with IMATS.

Make-up artists prepare their models for a competition

IMATS is a trade show which travels around the world providing beauty devotees with lectures, demonstrations and discount goodies. It's basically the Easter Show of makeup! Some stalls even offered showbags of supplies. This was my first IMATS, so I was rather unprepared and didn't research exactly what I wanted to see and buy, and it's an incredibly overwhelming experience being there in a sea of scrambling womens, bewildered partners, bodypainting models, pointy showbags and glittery pigments flying EVERYWHERE. The top 3 things I've learnt from my experience:

IMATS from above

1. Do your research.

Know what's on offer, know what's a reasonable price for what you want, and pounce on the opportunity. Trade show specials are usually cheaper than what can be found online, and there are lots of sellers there which are otherwise wholesale-only or makeup artist-only.

Beauty bloggers wait for press passes... how many can you recognise?

2. Be aggressive...

IMATS veteran Kimmi advised us newbies to be aggressive - there's often no line as such, and the poor people running the busiest stalls are usually just forced to serve whoever's flagging them down the hardest. A lot of the more popular colours sell out early, so an organised steely attack is a good idea if there's something you absolutely have to get.

Yolanda Bartram demonstrates body painting; special effects display with robot R2D2 which followed us around for a bit! Eeee

3. ...or not

On the other hand, if you're willing to just grab whatever's available, or you just want to touch all the shiny things, or if you're allergic to crowds, IMATS actually cools down significantly around lunchtime. Even the 30 person MAC queue that morning had disappeared! Some stalls are also willing to take orders for sold out items at the IMATS price, and if you're lucky, you might even score free delivery.

Onto my haul!

What I got:

LimeLily customisable filled 4-pan magnetic palette - $25.50 (

LimeLily Cosmetics is a new Australian brand developed by make-up artist Nicola . Products aren't tested on animals, and are free of parabens, bismuth oxychloride, lanolin, sulphate, lanolin and artificial fragrance. I picked colours that I thought would make a good everyday palette that I'd get a lot of use out of: cream blush in Harmony (top left), powder blush in Pomegranate, and eyeshadows in Husk (light) and Havana (dark). But I'm already eyeing some other pans to switch out for more dramatic looks...

LimeLily display at IMATS... shinyyyyy

False eyelashes - 2 for $10 from Girlee Cosmetics (

Look at the sparklies! The pair with alternating silver and black is for an upcoming pole performance (they're so huge you should see them from the back of the room, hopefully), the slightly less opulent pair is for parties. I'm a bit scared of falsie strips since having a bad experience with them and a very insistent make-up artist at my bestie's wedding, but I'll be persevering.

Girlee Cosmetics sell a massive range of costume and performance make-up and accessories. They also sell the myipalette, a fully customisable magnetised palette which has a big rectangular hole instead of individual round holders. In hindsight that would've been very useful, but since I didn't buy one at IMATS and as far as I know Girlee only wholesale, I might DIY.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Harlot - $15 from Scotty's Make-up and Beauty

Michaela, my pre-lunch IMATS buddy, described this as really pigmented, long lasting lip gloss - how could I resist? There are a huge range of colours, from the sensible (nude, pinks) to the sexy (reds) to the haute (blue, green, purple, yellow). It also blends out beautifully to a softer red.

I just found out that the Scotty's store is very close to my uni... definitely heading there soon for some more hauling! I'll give them time for a post-IMATS restock though ;)


 Top to bottom: Harlot (blended towards the bottom), Harmony, Pomegranate, Husk, Havana.

It's a relatively modest haul since I failed at lesson 1 and didn't plan my purchases, but I didn't buy anything I regret, which is always a nice hauling bonus. Next year I'll come back prepared!

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