Archive for July, 2014

Best Makeup VLOGS

I am loving my new job but the thing I have to remember is that I was assigned to my first position during their busiest time of the year because, duh, that’s when they bring two temps in. I adore the guys and gals I’m working with and am dreading transferring to a different group but such is the way of the temp pool. The only real downside is I’ve been a smidge exhausted, hehe. I’ve been taking a lot of notes for posts and will hopefully get caught up here soon.

One thing I’ve done is gotten myself completely buggering sidetracked on YouTube watching makeup vlogs. Note: blog is written… vlog is video. This is a makeup blog. I do not plan to be making videos. There is a list of reasons for this. Items at the top of the list include the fact that I don’t consider myself particularly pretty and don’t like pictures of myself. The fact that I can’t stand the sound of my own voice is a close tie. I also don’t have a video camera so HEY, more excuses to not see myself speaking on video. Awesome 😉

There are a lot of makeup blogs and vlogs out there already. There are even makeup blogger awards! You can (and I have) waste days, weeks, years even, watching various makeup vlogs. You watch one and see three more in the sidebar you want to watch. Next thing you know it’s 4:23am, you’ve gone through half a bottle of wine, and you’re still not sure what eye shape you have or what is the best contouring shape for your face because eight different people have given you sixteen different answers.

I will admit that I have one favorite makeup vlog. This person is a professional MUA (that’s makeup artist for those of you just joining our program). They are not sponsored or otherwise influenced by any cosmetic companies. Their opinion is very much their own, based on their lifetime of experiences as a professional MUA. They have two channels on YouTube, even, one for more specific makeup related info and one for more chitchat and so forth. They also happen to be a British fellow named Wayne Goss.

Goss Makeup Artist

Goss Makeup Chat

You can also find Wayne on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. He’s on G+ as well but I’ve honestly never paid G+ much attention. One social media site is enough for me to keep up with.

Why do I adore Wayne? Because I like honesty. I like not being pandered to. I don’t particularly like cutesy and some of these makeup vlogs seem like the gals are trying to out cute each other. Please, please make it stop. Wayne is also a lifetime acne sufferer, much like me, and he has numerous videos on his channel on how to deal with the various issues we folks with bad skin (hence the tagline for this site) deal with on the regular. He is very real, very relatable, and his advice is very practical. If something is great, he will say so. If something is crap, he will say so. Wayne is my go to guy for all things makeup vlog.

I hope you like him as much as I do 😀

Product Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

So once upon a time, in a land far, far away called Lower Slower Delaware, I was a teenager with a nasty makeup habit. My father realized when I was young that I had been effected by my grandmother’s influence and this was a lost battle for him.

Of course I was also a teenager bussing tables for money so I wasn’t exactly rolling in cash. Sure, my grandmother would buy me makeup at the nearest department store because, after all, Barbizon was kinda her idea, but it was always Clinique and it was always brown 😕

Off to the drug store I went! And low and behold, trapped in pretty little crystal cases, I discovered Physicians Formula shimmer strips. I got the one for brown eyes. I loved that thing. I wore it, quite literally, to death.

Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes

Imagine my particular surprise to see these little strips, mentioned some twenty-plus years later, in one of my favorite blogs. Shut the front door, they still make these things? TO THE DRUG STORE!

Of course what fun would it be if I didn’t play around a bit, right? Riiight SO I cackle my way home with my stash:

Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes
Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes
Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes

First thing to note about the Shimmer Strips line is they come in four color sets: Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes, Hazel Eyes, and Green Eyes. They also have Nude and Smokey sets. The colors are rich but not so shocking that they can’t easily be worn to work. The eye shadow strips can be used with the included sponge tipped applicator or, if you are a brush fan like me, a small eye shadow brush.

The results of this test were 2 for 3. In the grand scheme of things that’s pretty awesome.

The Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes was everything I remembered it to be, if not more awesome now as an adult and having a better understanding of what good makeup is. The color applied smoothly. The strip is laid out in three sets of three colors, lined up from darker to lighter. The darker shades can easily be worn for more pop, perhaps on stage, and the lighter shades are certainly work wearable, even for we office dwellers. I suffered zero fallout from the shadow without having applied primer. Twenty-plus years later this strip still passes the test!

On to the Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes. This was a new product for me and I can tell you I am a TOUGH judge when it comes to eyeliner. The biggest sin for me is eyeliner that not only smudges, but leaves “clown-face” half-circles on my eyelids after a short time. This is why I stick only to waterproof eyeliners, and even some of those don’t pass muster. Now these little sticks were lightweight and applied smoothly. No clumpies! Even being waterproof I was able to use a flat angled eye liner brush to smudge the line in to my lashes before it set. It is also waterline safe and applied easily with no burning. Now for the real test and I can say that, after two solid and HUMID days at work, this eyeliner did NOT budge. SCORE!

Lastly we have the loser for this round: Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes. Now these are a GREAT idea. Most major brands have a crayon type line. They’re great when they work. These… do not work. This even started out badly. I was trying to carefully wiggle the rather tight and somewhat awkward cap off of the first one and when it popped off the whole head of the crayon popped off too. So I stood in the bathroom trying to warm this thing with my fingers and crush it back onto it’s seating. Not the best start. It did not apply smoothly. At all. I got chunky bits up top and below. Smudging them with the brush to try to smooth them out was a no go as well. Instead of smoothing out the line it just rubbed it off. These little weird pens don’t retract either, so I was worried the whole time if I bumped it the wrong way the whole head would come off again. It also occurs to me that if you used it, as you used it you’d be getting a wider and wider head with no way to sharpen the thing. But I pressed on and once I had what I thought was a passable, albeit thick, line, I headed downstairs. It wasn’t more than 20 minutes and most of it had smudged off. I regret that these are now back in their packaging and will be returning from whence they came.

Maybe I’ll use the money to buy another Shadow Strip 😉

Enough typing for one night. Work comes early!

Full disclosure and a little thing about loyalty…

Once upon a time, I walked in to a boutique in a mall and encountered two women talking excitedly with the manager. They were all wearing the official “boutique” colors so I assumed they were with the company. Because I’m FREAKIN’ NOSY I started talking to them. Turns out they were what I will from here on out refer to as “community consultants”. In a matter of weeks they had friended me, chatted at me, and submitted my name to be added as a consultant as well. And this, kids, is how my time as a Bare Escentuals Angel began.

For the following years ALL of my makeup was BE. ALL of it. I owned literally nothing else because I wanted to support the brand and be loyal. Because clearly, something is wrong with my head. Every month they would send me free samples and I was supposed to share them out to my friends. The problem here is that, at the time, most of the women I knew were online. Mind you, this isn’t a problem now but at that time I was new to the area so I knew no one. So I kept collecting the stuff. Some of it I would try (often once) but much of it I would not, and it would go in to the Bag Of Doom I kept in the spare bedroom. I’d also use my “points” to buy discounted sets, many of which would include colors I’d never wear, or that were the same color with a different name as colors I already had. Into the bag they went. And so it went… until 2010.

In 2010 the Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido, bought BE. Without getting into all the details of branding and public face (because that would make this a LOT longer), part of the “deal” was that they would make no major changes to the brand for three years. At least that was the agreement. However shortly after acquisition we who purchased and used the makeup started seeing changes. Product line changes. Serious quality changes. Apparently there was quite a fight going on in the background between the BE team and Shiseido regarding material quality. People who never had a problem with their makeup were starting to have breakouts, even so far as allergic rashes. This was while they had an agreement to not be making major changes.

That agreement ended in 2013. One of the first changes Shiseido made was to terminate the Angel program. A few hundred women who had spent, easily, thousands of dollars each, on their products, whose sole purpose was to promote the brand in the community. Axed. We were given the new “points” card specially printed with “Founding Member” on the face of it as our parting gift. Uh, thanks? This will come in super handy if I get locked out of the house I suppose. They also shat in the face of the decades long position as leader in the field of mineral makeup and loose mineral foundation and turned their attentions to… you guessed it, a liquid foundation line. Like every other brand on the planet. Oh, and to use it you should totally buy this super special unique application brush that can really only be used for our special foundation for the low, low price of $28. At this point you could kiss product quality goodbye. I have not purchased anything from them since 2013, and my purchasing had slowed down considerably already since 2010. I am, unfortunately for them, not alone. This, kids, is how you MURDER your brand loyal customers.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well first of all, don’t expect any BE related reviews from me, LoL! The only things I did keep when I offloaded all of my hoarded BE was one, singular Buxom Insider Eyeliner (because it doesn’t give me clown face like the BE ones did) and a handful of the small sized Buxom Lip Gloss. The lip gloss is super tacky and it doesn’t last, but I liked the color and wanted to hang on to a few until I found suitable replacements 😛

Secondly, brand loyalty is a great thing when it’s working for you. The thing you have to keep in mind, however, is that no matter how loyal you are being to your brand, your brand is a PROFIT DRIVEN ENTITY and is not, in fact, loyal to you. You are a consumer. They see you in terms of sales figures. If you leave there will be others to fill your place. You may be IN LOVE with one brand of lipstick, but if someone comes along and says “hey, this one is super freakin’ awesome, you should try it”, don’t discount their opinion just because it’s not from the brand you are loyal to. You only do yourself a disservice. It’s really actually okay to be loyal to more than one brand at a time. It’s like trying to tell someone they are only allowed to have one friend. That’s silly and often how mental breakdowns occur. Don’t try it. It’s okay to have a close group of friends and many, many acquaintances. Same holds true for brand loyalty.

There’s also the simple fact that different things work for different people. Differences in skin type, skin color, body chemistry, and activity level will drastically alter results of the same product between different people. It’s a simple fact of biology. You may LOVE the foundation from one brand but find that their eyeliner doesn’t do it for you. Don’t stress. It’s really ok to tell the consultant in the store and ask for advice. One of the great things about a store like Sephora or Ulta is that they know a ton about makeup because that’s what they DO all day, but they aren’t loyal to one brand over another. And it’s in their best interest to make you happy. So they should offer you options for whatever makeup concerns you are having.

Now for the part where I piss people off. Yay!

I know a TON of women (and a handful of men) who are Mary Kay, or Avon, or Younique, or (insert a hundred more here) consultants. They are very, very interested in getting you to use their brand. So far as they will ask you to bring them receipts so they can show you just how much more of their product you could buy from them instead of whatever it was you bought. I get it. This is their livelihood. They need to make sales. For some of them this is their ONLY source of income. This is why I’m not in sales, seriously. I don’t want it to come down to needing to sell another mascara to be able to pay my phone bill. Now if you want to tell me about some awesome new item you have that fits the description of something I am looking for (waterproof eye liner, waterproof mascara, waterproof lip liner, waterproof… you get the idea) then AWESOME, I will sample that bad boy. But if you want to invite me to a party where you scold me for spending more money on other brands and try to convince me that you have every possible thing I could ever need and I should just pitch that other, lesser stuff well… I will prolly eat your chips, drink your wine, take a catalog, thank you for your time, and not buy anything. Sorry, but I learned my lesson with the whole BE fiasco.

That, and I’m kinda attached to my liquid eye liner. Sorry 🙂

Three cards I use and one I don't...

Three cards I use and one I don’t…



Hello there 🙂 I’m Wendy, better known to most as the dancing otter. For those of you new to my program please be advised that my native languages are sarcasm and innuendo. I do also speak English to assist those who don’t understand the other two.

Please make yourself comfy, grab some wine and cheese, and I hope you enjoy, learn something, or at the very least get a giggle out of our time here together.

So why am I writing YET ANOTHER INTERNET MAKEUP BLOG? Dear gods, it isn’t because we need another one. I suppose it has more to do with where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going, and the amazing women I meet along the way. Some of them have stated that they are interested in what I’m saying. For the sake of not repeating myself ad nauseam I decided HEY, why not write it down.

I’ll start with where I’ve been. I grew up in a house with a grandmother who was rather fond of makeup. I learned by example. When I was a teenager she started trucking me off to Barbizon every week. Now while I will admit as an adult that this was in fact HILARIOUS, at the time it was rather eye-opening and as I got older I realized that I had learned a handful of things TO do and a WHOLE SLEW of things to NEVER EVER do again. Oddly enough, some of the latter were far more pressing. In my late teens and early twenties I started working with community theater and performed as an extra in an independent movie or two. I spent most of my time juggling wardrobes, prepping wigs, purchasing makeup for the shows, as well as advising and often applying the makeup. Fast forward to my mid to late twenties when I started taking dance classes as a hobby. While I knew that dance would be great for my health and help alleviate many of the physical aches and pains that came with my compacted spine and my twice diagnosed fibromyalgia, what I didn’t realize is that the greatest thing I would get out of dancing was the incredible community of women, women I consider my friends and in many cases my sisters, who my life would be so much less vibrant without. Which brings me to where  I am now.

Every woman brings her tools to the tribe. That is the way of things. My knowing how to sew has been one valuable skill, surely. My ability and willingness to talk to absolutely anyone about absolutely anything was another. However as we progressed as a student troupe and began performing more often, sometimes outside in natural light, sometimes inside in artificial light, sometimes on stage with bright, glaring florescents mere feet above our heads, it occurred to me that many of my dancing sisters weren’t wearing proper, or in many cases any, makeup.

Now some of these ladies have AMAZING skin and don’t really need help in the day to day. What most gals who don’t wear or aren’t familiar with makeup don’t realize or understand is just what sort of effect the various lighting we are performing in can do to our faces from a distance. And if there’s a photographer there you can be assured they will take photos, and there is only so far you can push Photoshop when you didn’t think to line your eyes before you walked out on to the stage.

My goal here is to share my experiences, past, present, and future, to help a sister out. And that’s where we’re going 🙂

One last thing to mention here is that, while solidly and comfortably middle class, I am by no means independently wealthy. Sure, I could totally go out and spend $50+ on a tube of lipstick. And that would be STUPID. I could buy two, or more, for that price, and get the same quality with change left to grab a chai on the way out of the mall. For serious. So for the sake of sanity and not going bankrupt I hope to offer practical advice that won’t leave holes burned through your wallets.

As I’ve been making notes in preparation for this, I’m going to grab a drink, get comfy, and start typing.

I hope you enjoy!