Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lysa's Morbid Stars

Whimsy Beading has teamed up with Lysa from The Morbid The Merrier to create some special edition star earrings in our new beaded star design.

Behold Lysa's Morbid Stars!



You can get your own pair right here in the Whimsy Beading Etsy Shop. They're limited edition, and once they're sold out, they're gone forever. Because of this, they cannot be purchased using coupons, discounts, or Whimsy Beading Christmas Cash. But at only $15 per pair, they're a steal!

While you're shopping for your next signature scent at TMTM, get your morbid on with these fantastic star earrings.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Random update thing

I will have a post coming soon about the Saga of the Balance and Brighten Foundation Amazing Adventure, but for now I'm working away on Christmas orders, and besides, I have to actually receive a Balance and Brighten Foundation in one piece to be able to try it out and tell you folks about it.

Until then, know that I am plotting new sparklies, including another one in honor of my all time favorite band (and long-held lead singer crush) XTC/Andy Partridge. Because I'm sure he'd love to know someone made jewelry in his honor. I can't help it, Mr. Partridge, really.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Indiestyley

Yes, the extra "y" on the post title is deliberate, and a little hat tip to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The very savvy and awesome Grey has started a Birchbox style sample box program called the Indie Style Awesome Box. The mini box soft launch was this morning, limited to a total of 30 pre-launch mini boxes. They went on sale this morning at 8 am, PST and sold out in just under two hours.

I am really excited about the Awesome Box, and I hope you will be too. There are so many great companies contributing to the Awesome Box from bath and body, indie makeup, indie jewelry makers (and yes, that includes me) and other great sellers.

The first Awesome Box full box goes on sale in February. Mark your calendars and get your indie style on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

F- the malls...

...and shop some Indie! Falalalalalalala.

I think that's the right number of "lalala"s after the "Fa" there.

And I'll bet you think you know what the "F" is for up there in the title, right? Well, if you think it means "forget," you're right!

Seriously folks, shop indie and local this holiday season. You'll be able to choose unique, handmade, well made gifts that help support small businesses everywhere. Sure, it may not be a cheap waffle iron, but you won't need to pepper spray anybody to get that fabulous gift, either.

Shop indie, shop local, and *ahem* "f"(orget) the malls this year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Soda! Part 2

As promised, here is my review of Holika Holika's Soda Light Cleansing Oil, for oily skin. I bought my bottle from bello-girl on ebay.


Soda Light Cleaning Oil contains argan oil, grapeseed oil, Harrogate spring water, lemon extracts and "alpine herb" extracts (I'm not sure which herb) to help cleanse your skin of makeup. My impression is that it's oil cleansing for people who want the benefits of OCM, with the ease of a cleanser. I've been using it daily for the past week.

So how well does it live up to my impression? Very well indeed, actually. The first time I used the Soda cleansing oil, I was wearing Benefit's They're Real mascara, which you may recall I said was hell to take off. The Soda cleanser was able to take it off in far less time than my grapeseed/sunflower/castor oil OCM blend, and the Soda cleanser also removed my eye makeup and face makeup (including BB cream) with lightning speed and no irritation.

 It's also quite easy to remove once it's done its job of breaking loose all your dirt and makeup. A warm, damp washcloth will remove the oil easily from your face, and in my case, it left my face feeling clean, but not overly stripped or dry.

Then there's the smell of Soda Light Cleansing Oil. If you like lemon, herbal smells, then you'll love using this product. It smells fresh, clean, and slightly sweet, like an herbal lemonade. It certainly makes using Soda Light Cleansing Oil a pleasure every evening.

Which leads us to the downsides of Soda Light Cleansing Oil. The first one is cost. At $19.99, it's not anywhere near as budget friendly as making your own OCM blends, nor will it last as long. I expect my bottle of Soda Light Cleaning Oil to last me about a month, and that's using two pumps from the dispenser every day. What you get in convenience (pre-mixed, fast removal, ease of use), you lose in cost per use.

The second downside is if you really love Soda Light Cleansing Oil (and I really do), you'll need to purchase it from an overseas seller. Those packages tend to take two or more weeks to get to the US and they come registered mail, so you have to either pick them up at the post office, or be home when they arrive to sign for them.

All in all, the benefits of the product outweigh the downsides. I highly recommend Soda Light Cleansing Oil and enjoy using it, so I will be repurchasing when the time comes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Lady Must Have Her Gloves

For some time now, I'd been on the hunt for a pair of warm, functional yet pretty fingerless gloves. Well now, I hear you say, that shouldn't be too hard, should it? Etsy is swimming in them.

That's true, but I'm allergic to wool. I can't even handle alpaca for very long without breaking out. And cheap acrylic yarn? Allergic to that too. It's been hell on my knitting life, I don't mind telling you.

So what do you do when you want a pair of toasty fingerless gloves to keep your typing hands warm in a cold office, which at work can sometimes mean quite cold indeed, but the bulk of the items on offer would leave you with hands that were not only still cold, but irritated, itchy and sore? As (my favorite) Ninth Doctor once said, you narrow it down a bit. I found one seller offering fingerless gloves of fleece, and began hunting in earnest.

I wanted something pretty this time. Something feminine. A little ruffle, a little delicacy, to contrast against my military styled winter jacket. That's when I found these beauties by rumstadt on Etsy. Acrylic polar fleece, in the most somber of charcoal grey, with a single ruffle running down the length of the glove. I bought them without a second thought.

Photo credit: rumstadt on Etsy


When they arrived, I tried them on nervously. I am, as I have previously stated, a plus-size girl. An extended size girl, as a matter of fact. Finding clothing and accessories to fit me is not as easy as you might think. These gloves fit like a dream on the first go. They were so comfy and warm, I wore them all that work day, and all the way home. I plan on picking up at least one more pair for myself and a pair as a gift this holiday season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"That" Seller



In my journey through the world of handcrafting, one of my biggest dreads is becoming "that" seller. You know the one. You've met him or her at just about every flea market, craft show, yard sale, or church bazaar.

That seller sits in their booth, scowling at you as you walk past. When you walk up to their table because something catches your eye, their animosity for you rolls off them in waves. They hate you, and apparently, they hate your money, your relatives, your children (if you have them), and your little dog too. Polite questions on their products get you a terse, grunted answer, a sarcastic comment, or sometimes, just a forbidding look. If you *do* buy something from this seller, chances are good that their payment terms will be very restrictive. They'll have a minimum credit card limit that requires you to buy $15 when you only wanted something costing $5. They'll have a hand written sign in ALL CAPS with black marker so thick you can still smell the fumes if you get close enough. That sign will tell you in no uncertain terms that if you buy something from this seller, you're fortunate that they've decided to allow you to give them your money in exchange for goods. Sometimes, you feel like if they thought they could charge you just for breathing the air in their booth space, they'd do that too. Even if the thing you're buying is something you really, really want, and you can't get it easily anywhere else, you'd rather tear out your own fingernails than to deal with that seller again, because at the end of the transaction, even when you've gotten what you wanted, their attitude and hostility make you feel like crap. Who needs that, especially nowadays, when so many people are selling a little something on the side to make ends meet, and you can get almost anything your heart desires on the internet? Why would that seller continue to do something they clearly hate to do for people they hate to see?

There are a lot of answers to that question. Let's deal with two of the most common ones. One, it's probably that the seller has been doing this so long that they've lost their passion for what they're doing, but are too financially sunk into supplies, products and equipment to stop doing it. Two, and this one will probably upset some of you - that while you on your own as a person are lovely and lovable, "the public" all gathered under the roof of that show are flaming bunghole jerks. Some shoppers have no respect for the seller, and they make it obvious. Rude comments abound. Even the most forgiving, sweetest tempered seller wants to stick a knitting needle into the eye of the fifteenth person who complains that her 100% wool, hand knit and hand felted hat is too expensive compared to something from Wal-Mart, or the twentieth person who asks "Can't you go lower on the price?" or the first person who tries to cheat her. (Seriously, trying to cheat a seller is definitely needle-in-the-eye for the first offence.)

Okay, you say, those are both bad. But it's not that hard to do a show, right? You just get a table, put your stuff on it and sell, don't you? Not quite.

Attending a show as a vendor takes a strain on you, both physically and mentally. You're up WAY early before the show starts and either driving there to set up, or you've paid for a hotel for the night before so you can set up. Then there's finding the vendor parking, finding your assigned booth space, unloading, setting up the tent (for an outdoor show), the table, the chairs, the displays, the cabinets, the decorations, the cash register, securing your cash change box, making sure your credit card reader works, your phone is charged, and trying to find a willing neighbor to watch your booth on the rare cases you might want to eat or go to the rest room, if you're on your own.

Then, once you've done all that and you finally sit down, you must be pleasant, cheerful and a not too pushy but involved and engaging salesperson, sometimes to people who assume a "Good morning" is a hard sales pitch, sometimes to people who won't even acknowledge that you've just wished them a good morning or look at you. And you must do it over and over again all day, while listening to nasty comments about your pricing, your workmanship, your materials, your skill level, or the shopper's opinion of what you do compared to their grandmother, cousin, best friend's brother's sister's hairdresser. And when you're all done, you get to take everything back down again, pack it up and start over tomorrow, if it's a two or three day show. Oh, and for the ability to do all this, you've probably paid out anywhere from $50 to upwards of $600, depending on the show venue, not counting the additional jury fees, filing fees, mailing fees, licensing, gas to get to the show, hotel cost, food and incidentals.

If you're a handmade seller, let's also add in the insult to injury of getting to a craft show or art show to find out that the show organizers were more interested in booth fees than in promoting crafts or art, so you're competing with home party sellers and sellers one step up from the ones who approach you in a dark alley with a coat full of watches sure to turn your arm green as soon as you buy it.

It all takes a toll on your average seller. We feel it each time you walk by our table and won't look us in the eye, or when you ignore our greeting of "Good morning" because you think it's a sales pitch. Chances are, we're just wishing you a good morning because we'd like you to have a good morning. If you want to buy something from us eventually, that's great, but it's not required to return a courtesy. We hear every comment you make while standing at our table, even if we pretend we didn't and keep smiling. We try to not let you get to us when you've made a particularly nasty comment about our items on sale. But it does get to us, and slowly but surely, we become "that" seller if we're not careful about it.

It doesn't help either one of us. You don't want to buy something from someone who clearly has no liking or caring about you. I don't want to sell something feeling animosity toward you, or wishing you'd never walked up to my table or come to my Etsy shop.

I fully believe that it is not the customer's responsibility to ensure my success as a business. It is mine. I can do that by giving the best product I can at a price that is both market competitive and self sustaining, by providing courteous customer service, and by living up to the promises I make to my customers. But still, it's not your fault if you decide to spend your money elsewhere. It's your money, and it's your decision, and since I make that same decision as a customer of other businesses every day, I must respect it. I may be disappointed that you didn't buy from me, but it's my job to make my products so good, and so well made and so irresistible that you will WANT to buy from me first. If I didn't do that this time, well then, I want to leave you with the clear impression that you are always welcome to come back again and will receive pleasant, courteous treatment whether you buy something from me or not.

The fear of becoming "that" seller is the reason that Joey and I decided we would not attend more than two handmade shows this year, and as it turned out, we were only able to attend one, due to an unavoidable circumstance. I knew that if I continued the grueling show schedule we had last year, my transformation into "that" seller would be more likely than ever, and I do not want that. I freely and fully admit that I am snarky, often sarcastic, and tempermental, but I never want a customer to feel unwelcome. I haven't always succeeded in that, but I will always do my best.

It's a two-way street when it comes to buying and selling, especially in the handmade world.

As a customer, respect the seller's pricing. They're trying to stay in business. If you love their product, you'll WANT them to stay in business. Don't try to get something for nothing, if you want the business to survive. Be courteous, be polite, and be understanding if they say no, they really can't go any lower, or they can't stack coupons, or whathaveyou. Realize that you're maybe the twentieth person to ask that today, and it can be taken as an insult to the seller sometimes. We don't mean to be insulted, but it happens.

As a seller, realize that your customers are your biggest asset. They don't owe you their money just because you've set up a table/a website/an Etsy shop. They don't owe you anything. If they love your product and tell their friends about it, and you find out about it, be thankful. Tell them you're thankful. Be gracious. Be willing to go the extra mile, and do it with charm, humor and pleasant conversation. And most of all, don't be "that" seller.





Winter Hair - Blue Black and Pillarbox Red

My base hair color needed touching up, and I decided to go ahead and switch over to a more wintery look for my highlights. So, on Saturday, Joey colored my hair with Feria Starry Night, a blue black shade. I used to love it over every other blue black, but I'm starting to change my mind. Feria's formula tends to leave my hair feeling dry, (thank goodness for Silk Naturals Coconut Argan cleansing conditioner!)  and the color this time out turned out as a flat "bottle black" than the shiny blue black I'd been used to.

Still, I would only have just black hair for one day, so I lived with it.

I knew what color I wanted for my highlights - Punky Colours Pillarbox Red. Because my love for black and red is at least as strong as my love for black and pink, if not slightly stronger. So it was on with the highlight cap, and time for bleaching. It usually takes an hour and half for my hair to bleach using 40 volume developer without applying heat. I have a bonnet hair dryer, but wanted to be able to work on beading projects while I was waiting. Joey wasn't impressed with the color of Pillarbox Red in the jar, but I promised him it would look great once he was done. He'd done thicker sections of hair toward the front, and thinner highlights all throughout the back of my hair, almost to my neckline, so there are little threads of color everywhere. I am a very lucky girl to have a husband who will not only color my hair, but do such a fantastic job of it. (I am very lucky to have Joey in any case, but the hair color service is a very nice bonus!)

And so...here's me, with my winter hair:



I will end with my new daily affirmation. Feel free to use it too, if you wanna: "I'm here, I'm fat and I'm gorgeous. If you don't think so? You're wrong. Sucks to be you."


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Your Favorite Colors Blog Challenge: And the Winner Is...

It's time to announce the winner of the Your Favorite Colors Blog Challenge!



3rd Place: $15 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop - Colorway Sari


2nd Place: $25 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop - Colorway Space



1st Place: 1 Whimsy Beading sterling silver crystal spiral necklace in the winning colorway - Winner Colorway Winter's Gold.



A huge thank you to everyone who participated and voted!

Winners, please be sure to email me so I can send your gift certificates to the right email or your winning necklace to the right address.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Satanic Mechanic

Long have I lusted for Sugarpill's Asylum loose eyeshadow. Last weekend, I finally picked it up, and yesterday, it arrived at my house.

Wasting no time, here is a rare FOTD picture of me, wearing Asylum. Bear in mind that this picture was taken with my cell phone, after more than 8 hours of work, so even with Oil Control Serum to aid me, I'm still shiny.

I call this look Satanic Mechanic. One, because I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show and have since I was 14 (when I dressed as Columbia and was sold in the "Virgin Auction" to an otaku, which is another story for another day), and two, because I wanted to wear my new Xelement Inferno Boots today. Which I did.

See? Boots:


And here's me:


I swear I'm not drunk or anything. I'm just closing my eyes a tad so you can see how awesomely red and metallic Asylum really is, at least as far as the picture quality of my cell phone will allow. It really is a shiny, sexy red. People who don't even LIKE to wear makeup were drooling over it today. As well they should!

Here's the goods:

Eyes:
UD Original Primer
Benefit RSVP Cream Shadow
Estee Lauder Double Wear Color Cream Antique Lace (to highlight)
Pixie Epoxy (lid only)
Sugarpill Asylum (lid only)
Silk Naturals Clutch (blended into crease)
Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion in Blackest Black

Face:
Holika Holika Peach Girl 02
Tarte Amazon Clay Blush in Blushing Bride, applied VERY lightly
Laura Geller Glow Box Highlighter (the smaller, champagne colored dome)

Lips:
Silk Naturals Reddy Kisser Slicker


Three Custom Color Specialists - A review in brief

I took advantage of the Three Custom Color Specialists sale on Hautelook a few weeks ago. I puchased "Mom on the Go" lip and cheek stain in Cool and their "Greige" eyeshadow single.

Mom on the Go, Cool
After bad experiences years ago with cream blushes, I'm just now starting to try them again. This was touted as a sheer wash of rosy color, and I figured that if it didn't work on my cheeks, it would still work on my lips. The texture is more like a lip balm than a cream blush, and it is very sheer, so it takes more than you might expect to get a wash of color. Still, for someone like me with a fair complexion and rosacea, this is actually a feature, not a bug. It's pretty hard to screw up the color coverage using this product, and it blends well with just your fingers. It lasts all day, too. My verdict on Mom on the Go, Cool is that it lives up to its promises, and would be a great carry along product for anyone on the go.

Greige Eyeshadow
I'll admit, this isn't the first color I would have chosen, even with my love of all shades neutral. Again, bad experiences with poorly formulated makeup has left me leery of certain darker greys and blacks, and I'm just now, at the age of 36 (soon to be 37!), re-learning how to appreciate these colors again. I bought this as an attempt to find a passable dupe for MAC's discontinued "Copperplate" shade that everyone loves so much. I missed out on that particular bandwagon, and apparently I missed out on all the dupes, for there were none to be found using Google-fu.

Greige is exactly what it says - a soft neutral grey/beige shade, softer than the color in the pan would have you believe at first. The eyeshadow is very finely milled, and somewhat creamy in texture. It took very little effort for me to pick up plenty of shadow from the pan, even using a light hand and the softest, smallest eyeshadow brush I own. It went on smoothly and evenly, with great coverage, and it blended well. I wore it on my lid with MUFE's Pink Beige cream shadow above it. The result was a riff on the "pink and grey satin" look that I often use for work day looks. All in all, I'm very pleased with my purchases from Three Custom Color Specialists, and I will probably look into getting another of their lip/cheek stains in the future.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Favorite Colors - Time to Vote!

We had to change the rules just a little bit on our contest. There were so many great colorways, we couldn't pick just five. We were able to narrow it down to six colorways for the voting.

Without further ado, here they are, along with a handy poll for you to vote for your favorite. Voting is open from now until midnight on Saturday, November 19. As a reminder, the prizes are as follows:


3rd Place: $15 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop

2nd Place: $25 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop

1st Place: 1 Whimsy Beading sterling silver crystal spiral necklace in the winning colorway.

Good luck, and thank you to everyone who participated in the colorway challenge!











Vote for your favorite colorway!
Coral Garden
Ophelia
Sari
Space
Winter's Gold
Wildwood
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Benefit's "They're Real!" Mascara vs. Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion (now with 50% more rambling)

I have been trying to get my hands on a tube of Benefit's "They're Real!" Mascara for about two months now. Every time I go into my local Sephora or Ulta, it's sold out. Finally, last weekend at the very busy Kenwood Towne Center in Cincinnati, OH, I got the last tube their Sephora had on the shelf.

The Kenwood Towne Center is kind of a strange place to me. It's right across the street from the shopping center with Ulta, and not far from the Trader Joe's. It is a very swanky looking place, with all the middle American luxury brands you might expect  - including a Swarovski store that I didn't go into, having had bad experiences with the one close to me in Louisville, KY, where they treat jewelry makers who use Swarovski products with all the hospitality you might give your drunk, meth-head second cousin showing up to your gala wedding in a tube top, cut off sweatpants hoochie shorts and dirty flip-flops. And now that I've put that image in your heads (and mine), I'll just say that while the Kenwood Towne Center takes great pride on being swanky, the area surrounding it is definitely not, so the whole setup seems a bit incongruous to me. People in Lexus SUVs with bags full of Restoration Hardware and Nordstrom purchases are cutting you off in mall traffic to get in line for valet parking at the Cheesecake Factory while less than a city block away, there's the down-at-heel gas station and decaying strip mall with all the evidence of a part of town that's glory days of prosperity are never coming back.

Of course, none of this stopped me from snatching up my purchases and heading to the Sephora "Gauntlet of Impulse Buys" checkout and out the door, to take the two hour-ish drive home. Joey, sweet man that he is, drove the whole way up there and back home, allowing me to sleep, while trying to convince him that I wasn't napping out of guilt because he was so tired too. I don't think he bought it.

Once I got home, I was too tired to put on makeup, so my research would have to wait until Monday morning, when I got ready for work. After applying my standard combination of primer, cream shadow for all over the eye and brow highlight, and loose shadow on the lid, I applied "They're Real!" to see if the reality lived up to the hype.

I should state for the record, that according to everyone I've ever met, my lashes are declared to be quite long. I've never thought they were all THAT long, but I have been using Silk Naturals Eyelash Conditioning Gel this past month, and I do think it's doing what it says it will, so my lashes feel a bit longer and more lush than they did before. I should also mention my undying love for Silk Naturals products in general. I am going to need a whole new shelf in my bathroom for their products alone, and I use their products every day now. The Argan Oil moisturizer is my new best friend, as is the Awesome Sauce serum that I use nightly.

Okay, back to the mascara talk.

To be honest, They're Real! lived up to its hype up to a point. I certainly had long, more defined lashes that were very black indeed (They're Real only comes in jet black). There wasn't quite the amount of volume as shown on the product packaging, but maybe I just didn't wiggle the brush quite as much as the instructions intended. The brush itself isn't bad, and the varying bristles do seem to pick out every lash and coat them as you sweep it across your lashes. The formula is not terribly wet nor terribly dry, but it does want to clump up easily, so some care has to be taken when you apply the second coat using the little spiky ball end of the brush to give you even more lash length.

The finish after two coats is very dramatic, and it does give you a "You're totally wearing fake lashes" look. If you wanted to make sure your evening makeup had the perfect finishing touch, this would be one mascara you'd definitely want to check out. Since I like the juxtaposition of drama with sedateness, I liked the look of the dramatic lashes with my rather calm (but lovely) pink and grey satin workaday eye makeup.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. I found that the formula could not completely fight against my oily skin, so at the end of the day (12 hours plus), I had a some raccoon eye smudging going on. The mascara dries somewhat stiff, probably for the curling effect, but it might irritate you if you have sensitive eyes. It's also hell to take off. Your average cosmetic wipes aren't going to make a dent in this stuff, and even some of the more gentle eye makeup removers might fail. I was able to get it off using a rather generous amount of my usual cleansing oil mixture, but even that took a while. I didn't lose but a lash or two, but if you're not careful, removing this mascara could remove quite a few of your lashes with it, so be gentle and be patient when taking it off.

Which brings me to the question that I'd set out to answer when first making this blog post - how does They're Real! compare to my every day, go-to mascara, Cover Girl's Lash Blast Fusion in Blackest Black? Well, it's really an apples to oranges comparison to me. They're Real! gives a very dramatic, exaggerated look, while Lash Blast Fusion gives a you a "your lashes, but better" look. Lash Blast Fusion has a very easy to use brush, the formula is not as prone to clumping in my experience, it doesn't smudge under my eyes and it's very easy to remove with a cosmetic wipe or eye makeup remover. The formula is not too stiff, nor flaky, and I think the Lash Blast Fusion gives a more balanced look of extra volume and length, giving your lashes a lush, but more natural look. All in all, I don't see myself giving up my Lash Blast Fusion for every day wear, but when I want that little extra bit of oomph in my look, They're Real! is definitely on my list of products to use to get there. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blog Giveaway Challenge - Your Favorite Colors

It's been a busy week for the Whimsy Beadings. Our 17th wedding anniversary was on Monday (yay, Halloween!), and Joey has been a guest in my hotel room as I attended my annual professional development conference for my day job that started on Wednesday morning and wrapped up this afternoon. We're staying one more night to hit one of our favorite bead shows that just so happens to be in town before we head home to pick up our elderly doggies from the boarding kennel and see what new damage Henry Monster Dammit's done to the house while we've been away.

So, with all that said, what's this post about? Well, with all the professional development...stuff in my head right now, I thought now would be a great time for my readers, Whimsy Beading customers, friends and fans to have a little fun at the design table, even if only by proxy.

Here's the deal. In the comments of this post, submit your favorite colorway. It can be a picture you like, a poem, another website or just a list of colors that you think would look pretty together. At the end of next week on Saturday, November 12 at 1:00 pm EST, Joey and I will choose five colorways we like best, and I will make an electronic mock up of each colorway. I'll then post them to the blog, and you guys will get to vote on your favorite until Saturday, November 19th at 1 pm EST. The top three colorways will win the following prizes from Whimsy Beading:

3rd Place: $15 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop

2nd Place: $25 gift certificate to the Whimsy Beading shop

1st Place: 1 Whimsy Beading sterling silver crystal spiral necklace in the winning colorway.

Everyone who submits an entry also receives a special coupon code for 20% off their next purchase in the Whimsy Beading shop.

Now, here's the catch - you can enter as many times as you like, but you will only receive one coupon code. Only one colorway per person will be selected for the mock-up and voting. Please keep your entries to one colorway per comment, otherwise, it's a bit hard to sort through.

Good luck, and I can't wait to see the beautiful things you guys will create.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Out of Rejection, A New Mindset

Back in September, Joey and I applied to be featured artisans at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. It's a state-run center, but you must be juried in to be featured there. Well, several other KY Etsy team members are featured there, and while there was plenty of jewelry on display, beadweaving was not a feature. So, it was with hope that we filled out the request for an application, and when the application came, we carefully considered the items and photos to submit.

When filling out the application, one of the first questions that it asks is if you are a member of three guilds in the state. "Uh oh," I thought. "We're not a member of these guilds. Will we get a fair consideration?"

As it turns out, probably not, and more on that in a second.

On Saturday, we attended the funeral of a 20-year-old girl who died of a rare sarcoma that started in her hip and by the time it was diagnosed had spread to her lungs. She battled this cancer for over two years in the face of doctors who were ready to give up hope not long after her first diagnosis. She was a brave, sweet girl whose parents loved her very much. Her funeral was heartbreaking.

When we'd gotten back from the funeral, Joey opened our mailbox to find the photo CD mailed back to us from the Kentucky Artisan Center. Tucked inside the CD mailer was a letter from the director of the Artisan Center that basically said "Thanks, but no thanks" and made reference to the fact that members of the three guilds are given more consideration in the jury process than people like Joey and I would be as non-guild members. We were advised to take part in another state program for artisans.

My first reaction was not the most mature, I'll admit. I was tired, and emotionally worn out from the funeral we'd just been to. So, I sat down and had a little cry (I didn't dare cry in the funeral, in case I didn't stop), and told some close friends about it, who immediately started cheering me up, including a new ad campaign for Whimsy Beading that states "Buy Kelly's Jewelry. It's Magic and Sh*t," which just makes me laugh. Then I had a nap.

When I woke up, I decided that that Artisan Center's rejection of our work and their preference for guild members was a letdown, but that it wouldn't stop me from creating items that I want to create, my way. I also decided that it was a good time to actually sit down and think hard about what Joey and I want to do with Whimsy Beading and where we want to go from here. For now, though, I think I'll just keep making pretty, sparkly things that are magic and sh*t. It's good enough for me.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last day of the Whimsy Beading Christmas Pre-Sale

Today is the last day of the Whimsy Beading Christmas pre-sale! The 30% off OCTXMAS coupon will be turned off tonight at midnight.

Head over to the Whimsy Beading Etsy shop for handmade, jewelry made just for you and your gift list!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whimsy Beading Christmas in October Pre-Sale!

It's time for our first ever Christmas Pre-Sale!

What: Snag your favorite Whimsy Beading items or have a custom item created for you at 30% off during our Christmas season pre-sale! Use coupon OCTXMAS for 30% off, with delivery promised in time for Christmas!

You can even layaway items using the discount!** (Please convo us for a layaway order, so it can be set up for you. You must review and agree to the layaway agreement terms by convo before it can proceed.) 

When: Starts Midnight on Saturday, October 15 and ends at Midnight Thursday, October 20. 

Where: Whimsy Beading on Etsy 

Why: …um because? Also, Christmas is stressful enough. Be rewarded for shopping early and get your beaded goodies in plenty of time for gift giving! 

The Fine Print

*This coupon is for a pre-sale event ONLY. In using the coupon you accept and understand that you are placing an order for Christmas delivery. You may receive your order prior to the stated shipping time of December 10 to December 15, but your promised delivery date is between December 10 to December 15, 2011.

**Layaway terms apply, including eligible order minimums and payment terms. Please review the terms here: Whimsy Beading Layaway Terms

***Wear the Lilac items will not be available during the Christmas Pre-Sale.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hair Product Breakup

Hello, Redken Guts 10. Won't you come in? Sit down? Would you like a cup of coffee? Maybe some tea? A macaroon?

Why am I being so formal, you ask? You've say you've lived in this house for four years, and know me better than this. Well, yes, you have, and you do. I can still remember the first day we met. My hairdresser put you in my hands and told me that you were the product I was waiting for to help with my finely textured but very thick hair. She said you would treat me right, and we went home together to the start of a new relationship. We've had some good times together, shared a laugh and a hair-dryer induced power failure or two. I would sometimes break things off with you to go out with some older products, such as fiber putty, wax pomade and cream gel, but I'd always come back to you in the end. Sometimes, we'd even get a little wild and ask the other products to join us in our morning ritual for a little extra bit of folicular spice on those mornings when the same old, same old wasn't doing it for either of us. Crazy days, Guts 10. Crazy days indeed.

But all good things have to come to an end, you see. And our good thing came to an end a long time ago, I just didn't want to admit it to myself. After all, you're Guts 10! A spray mousse volumizer that has all the great qualities of a mousse (volume) in the ease of a point-and-spray applicator! How could I not fall in love with you? Oh, you still do great things if my hair is freshly washed, but come the second day, when I've cleansed my hair with a cleansing conditioner (all to protect my BFF, Punky Colours), well, you would just drag me down, no matter how gentle I was with your spray applicator, then you'd leave my hair sticky. Let me tell you, Guts 10, no girl anywhere wants to be left sticky at the end of an encounter.

So this weekend, while you were blissfully unaware, luxuriating in your place of honor in the bathroom cabinet, sure of your place in the world and in my heart, I cheated on you. Yes! I cheated. I couldn't help it. I was drawn by the sleek, hot pink packaging, the whispered sweet nothings of strawberry scent and the promise that this time, it would be different. My fine, thick hair would have volume and look fantastic, without all the weighty baggage. As much as I wanted to remain true to you, Guts 10, well, I just couldn't. With a quick glance around to make sure no one I knew saw me do it, I dropped Tigi Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray into my shopping basket and made my way to the checkout line for a weekend of hair volume bliss like I've never known before. My hair was soft, touchable, light as a feather, and full of amazing volume! Why, I hardly even had to do anything to make it work, not even that "hold your head upside down and blow dry" move that you liked so much and claimed made you work so much better. And second day hair? Why, the second day was even better than the first, and there's no way you can make that claim.

I'm sorry, Guts 10, but I think this time our breakup is going to have to be for good. I'm just not the same girl you knew back then. I've moved on and my hair has changed, while you have stayed the same. I just can't do this anymore with you. We had four good years together. Be sure to clean out your space on the shelf and put yourself in that box on the left.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whimsy Beading Layaway Terms

I'm posting the shop layaway terms here for easy reference as we head into the holidays.


The layaway schedule is based on your total shop purchase amount, but does not include shipping costs. For example, if you have two items adding up to $45 in your cart and $5 shipping, it is not eligible for layaway.


$1 - $49.00 - layaway is not available.
$50 - $100 - maximum of two payments - 1/2 payment each time.
$101 - $500 - maximum of three payments - 40% due at initial payment, remainder split between payments 2 and 3.
$501 - ? - maximum of four payments - 40% due at initial payment, remainder split between payments 2-4.



Standard Layaway terms - At least one payment is due each month. If you do not make payment in a month without making arrangements by convo or email, your order will be canceled and your payments, less the initial down payment and appropriate Etsy and Paypal fees will be returned to you via Paypal. A reminder convo will be sent to you on the 15th of each month. You will also receive a statement showing your payments and remaining outstanding balance via email if you choose. You must "opt-in" for the statements, as it requires us to have your email address.

We retain the initial down payment to cover our outlay for the materials to create your order. Once you have placed a layaway order, we are committing our time and materials to you. We appreciate your understanding on this point.


For the holiday season 2011 - Payment in full required by December 3 and a shipping date of December 10 - December 15 to allow adequate shipping time for Christmas. If your final payment is not received by December 3 and you have not made payment arrangements by convo or email prior to that time, your order will be canceled. Please be aware that payments made after December 3 will set your order back in the queue. We will do everything possible to fill and ship your order in time for Christmas delivery, but cannot guarantee it. Your acceptance of a payment extension means that you also accept that your order may not arrive by December 25th.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Every problem, Mr. Higgins, is an opportunity in disguise

You can't make everything perfectly every time. You can try your best, but we humans are messy, imperfect creatures, which is all part of our charm. Besides, if you never made a mistake, how would you learn? Isn't working toward mastering a discipline all about learning what not to do as much as it is learning the best practices?

So what do you do if you've sold an item to a customer and it breaks, or arrives damaged, or is not what they expected? Do you look at it as a negative judgement on your skills and your worth as a person, or do you take it as an opportunity to learn and improve? It's all too easy to take the first option, but in the end, that doesn't help your customer and it doesn't help you. If you look at a problem not as some huge horrible monster waiting to eat you but instead a new path to create something better, you'll find that you approach it with a much better mindset and you may discover ways to improve your business that you might never have thought of on your own.

As an example, around mid-year I changed silver chain suppliers. The new chain is lovely, but it has a tendency to tangle up a bit if left loose in the jewelry box. A few customers mentioned it to me that their necklaces had arrived tangled, but they were able to fix them easily. I apologized for their trouble and thanked them for the feedback, because I can't fix a problem if I don't know it exists, right? Then I set about fixing it - or in this case attempting to fix it. At first we tried wrapping the chain around a notched business card, and it seemed to work okay - until it didn't. A customer ordered two identical necklaces for her bridesmaids, and somehow, the notched card was shaken loose from her necklaces in transit, and both ended up horribly knotted. I suspect gremlins had something to do with it, the knots were so bad.

Well, her necklaces knotting wasn't her fault. It wasn't strictly my fault either, but there was only one person in this transaction that could take responsibility and fix it. So, I asked her to send the necklaces back to me and I refunded her shipping costs in sending them down to me. When the necklaces arrived, one of them was knotted beyond repair. Even after I got the knot out of the chain, the chain itself was too damaged to keep on the necklace. I wasn't about to send her necklace back with damage. That's not what she paid for, and it's not what I promised her I'd send to her when I originally made the sale. I replaced the chain section and recycled the damaged part into other things after cutting out the damaged links. But one way or another, this chain knotting problem was going to be FIXED.

I set about trying to solve the problem again, and came up with putting the chain in a small plastic baggie that I then taped to the back of the necklace card. Voila! There wasn't enough chain hanging free to knot up, and the structure of the baggie kept the chain from shifting around too much and knotting within the bag. For a few pennies of cost, a plastic baggie and a little scotch tape, my customers have the pretty necklaces they love without the worry of knots in the chain, and I have happier customers. A win-win, in my book.

While not all problems are so easily solved, and not all of them can end in a win-win resolution, approaching that problem as a positive opportunity for growth and change can make the difference between joy in your work or stress from it. I know which path I'd rather choose.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's not personal, it's business

When you have a small business, you walk a fine line between business and personal every day. You want to be friendly and approachable to your customers, and you will often develop personal friendships with them, but there's a line between that person as your friend and that person as your customer. There is also a line between you as a person and you as a business owner, and you must be aware of not only where to draw that line, but which side of it you're on when.

This goes double these days in the age of Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, bloggers and the ubiquitous online culture where a seller in Kentucky can send an item halfway around the world thanks to a few mouse clicks and a Paypal account.

If you are a maker and seller of things, you have to realize that you are the business. You are the face, the management team, the PR team, the complaints line and the venture capitalist. Suddenly that line between personal and business starts to resemble a tightrope which you are attempting to traverse on a pogo stick.

Business owners are people. We have opinions, beliefs and pet peeves that all have bearing on who we are. We can make great decisions that help spur our business to greater heights of success, or we can make bad decisions that could put our business into financial or legal trouble. As the owner of the business, you get to take all the credit for the good, but you don't get to blame anyone but yourself for the bad. 

It's my belief for my business that I treat people the way I would like to be treated, and that the expectations that I have for a business are the expectations that I should meet or exceed. That means that if I forget part of someone's order and they write me to ask about it, I apologize without excuses and make it right as soon as possible. If someone's item breaks, I repair it, no questions asked and free of charge. It's what I would want, if I were the buyer. My goal is to not just make money on the item I sold, but to leave the buyer with a pleasant, positive experience so that they will enjoy doing business with me perhaps to return - and become a friend.




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updates and various

This will be a short blog post. I have a larger post about how to say "No" graciously in the crafting world, but it's not going to be written tonight.

On Saturday, I became a convert to the cult of Silk Naturals' Idolize eyeshadow. I was wearing a cool light blue top and decided to pair up Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit all over my eye, with Idolize on top of the lid.

If you like neutrals, you really must give this a try. I can't think of an eye color that this color combination wouldn't flatter, and I've been fighting the urge to wear this color combination every day.

I also picked up my first MAC Paint Pot in Reubenesque. It's a fantastic peachy gold shade that's not TOO gold, so it's very flattering to my skin. When I was in the mall on Sunday, the lady at the Estee Lauder counter was convinced that I was wearing Golden Sands, which is a more sheer metallic gold than Reubenesque. I'd say if you're fair like me and you could only have one of these shades, go with Reubenesque.

I have to say that I like the MAC products I've tried so far, but I really hate going to the MAC counters near me. They're usually super crowded, and if you know what you want to buy, it's a little difficult to get that done. The staff have always been very sweet and helpful, but even with five or more of them working in the teeny tiny store space allotted to the MAC counter, they're usually swamped, so it can take a while to get your one thing and go.

Other than that, it's fall, and I've reverted back to my love of neutrals. I think at heart, I'm really much more of a neutral eye look girl than a brights girl, though I love seeing the bright looks on other people. I think neutrals can be every bit as exciting and fun as brights, and there are some amazing neutrals from Darling Girl CosmeticsSilk Naturals, and Evil Shades.

Okay, so this post was longer than I thought it was going to be.


Monday, September 19, 2011

In the Pink (and the Peach!)

Here is my lovely new hair color, thanks to Joey. Some of the shorter bits near my crown will need to be touched up this weekend, but I'm so happy to have my pink streaks back that it's a minor worry.

We avoided the areas that were most damanged by the failed Cupcake Pink Manic Panic coloring episode, so there are only a few pink pieces in my bangs. I really like it! My base hair color is Garnier #316, Pure Purple. I bribe a dearly beloved Canadian friend to ship me this fabulous purple-black dye in exchange for jewelry.

I am wearing Holika Holika Peach Girl in Shade 02 in these pictures, both BB cream and the cream blusher, plus the Magic Pore Cover Powder. Peach Girl 02 is VERY close to Holika Holika Green (Watery) in tone, and it loves my skin, even more so than Peach Girl 01. I love it right back. It makes getting ready in the morning (and as we know, I am so not a morning person) so much nicer.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Custom OCM Blends from GloryBeHerbals

My friend Jackie at Glory Be Herbals on Etsy has started offering custom OCM oil blends in her shop! If you have wanted to try OCM, this would be a great way to start! Order yours here!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Something old becomes something new

I've added something new to my skincare and makeup regimen this weekend. While researching ways to make your own cosmetic fixing spray, I learned that most recipes for MAC Fix + are one part glycerin to three parts water. Well, I knew from shopping at my local food Co-op, that you can get Rosewater and Glycerin ready made, for about $6.00 for 4 oz. (I'm only linking to the Amazon listing to show you what the bottle looks like, not to endorse that particular seller, as their shipping is WAY high.)


I also did a little research on Burt's Bees Rosewater and Glycerin Toner, which gets high marks for being close in formula to Fix + Rose. I decided to try both, since the outlay was under $20 for both, and both are multitasking products.


Rosewater and Glycerin are said to be great to gently moisturize sensitive, acne prone and mature skin. The bottle at my Co-op was a flip top bottle, but I had a 4 oz. sprayer bottle at home from the set I used to make up my OCM oil blends, so I cleaned it out with alcohol and distilled water, then filled it with the Rosewater and Glycerin. I have a metal aromatherapy spray bottle that I cleaned and used for the Burt's Bees Rosewater and Glycerin toner.


Since I have oily skin and like the soft matte look that my Holika Holika Pore Magic Cover Powder gives me (yes, I will be posting about it later), so I decided to try using the Burt's Bees toner almost like a primer. I gently sprayed my face with the toner, let it air dry, then applied my Holika Holika Watery BB cream, Peach Girl cream blush and Pore Magic Cover Powder. So far today, I have noticed that my makeup has stayed put nicely, and my skin looks somewhat dewey, but not oily. The rosewater scent is also very pleasant. If you decide to try the toner as a makeup fixing spray or primer spray, I'd be extremely careful about spraying it near your eyes due to the alcohol content.


As for the Rosewater and Glycerin, it states the following: "Certified. Soothing and old-fashioned. Skin lotion you can trust. Harsh weather defense. Suggested use: Use as a face and body lotion wherever the skin needs soothing and protection. Shave well before using. Certified by periodic laboratory test to be free of pesticide residues. Seal of approval. Not tested on animals. Atomizer mist sprayer. Contains: Vor-Mag Water (water that has been vortexted and magnetized to raise the energy to a higher vibration that we believe to be more beneficial), Natural Vegetable Glycerin and Hydroessential Rose Oil. Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings."


I'm not sure how much of that claim you'll want to believe, but I do believe that the rosewater is pesticide free and that the glycerin is glycerin, and that both are beneficial to your skin. I am using it as a facial spray after I use my moisturizing oil blend at night. I love the smell of roses, and it makes my skin feel smooth and cool.


So far, I can't complain about the less than $20 I spent to try these two products. When you compare it to the $19 you'd spend on one bottle of MAC Fix +, I consider a thrifty win to get two great smelling, naturally based multitasking products for the same cost.

A side benefit to OCM?

I love nail polish, but that isn't the point of this post. The sad fact is that I haven't been able to wear nail polish for some time now. Firstly because I'm a horrible nail biter and tend to bite my nails off very short and secondly because I'm hypothyroid, and being hypo affects your hair and nail growth. My nails are extremely fragile and extremely brittle, and it gets a little worse every year. These days, I can painfully shatter my fingernails trying to open a cardboard box. Sad but true.

However, while on my way to lunch with Joey today, I noticed something. My nails looked a bit smoother and shinier. A little healthier than usual. The only thing I'm doing differently these days is using OCM to clean my face at night and using oils to moisturize instead of creams. Of course, there's oils left on my fingers during the oil massage and the nightly moisturizing. I wash my hands gently with soap and warm water, but I don't spend a ton of time scrubbing the oils off because I like the way my hands feel after the oils soak in.

So it could be that a side benefit (at least for me) to OCM is a little help for my fragile, brittle nails. I certainly won't complain if that's the case.

Monday, September 5, 2011

OCM - Favorite Oil Blends


I've finally taken the plunge and invested in some small dispenser bottles for my OCM regimen. I've found a few oil blends that I like best for cleansing and moisturizing.

For cleansing, I like a fairly thin oil blend right now, so I'm using 2 parts Grapeseed oil, 1 part Sunflower oil and 1 part Castor oil, with about five drops of lavender essential oil per batch.

I've found that for my face, the lighter the oil blend, the more "scrubby" it is, and the more oil plugs and crud comes out during the oil massage. The only downside is that this blend is not as moisturizing as the previous blends I was using, so I need a few drops of moisturizing oil after I've steamed/cleansed my face.

For moisturizing, I'm using a 1 part Grapeseed oil and 1 part Sweet Almond oil, with about ten drops of a custom essential oil blend that my friend Jackie at Glory Be Herbals made up for me. If you'd like an essential oil blend of your own to use with OCM, contact Jackie through Etsy convo and I'm sure she'll make one for you too. Mine is blended for someone with aging skin, sensitive skin and acne/rosacea. It smells great and I think it has helped my skin improve. I am noticing that my skin is no longer red in the morning (a common side effect of rosacea), and I am not having as many rosacea lesions, even during periods of hormonal imbalance, which used to be an itchy, burning, living hell, let me tell you.

So how much did I make? Truth be told, not much. I think I did three batches of cleansing, and maybe half that much of moisturizing, since I only use a very small bit of the moisturizing blend each night. Still, it should be enough to last me for a week or two, since my standard "part" measure is a teaspoon measure, so each batch makes enough for two washes. I didn't want to make too much at one time.

What about you? What are your favorite OCM oil blends?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peachy

Here's a picture of me wearing Peach Girl, both BB cream and blush, along with Morgana's Sheer Cherry lip balm.

A Tale of Six BB Creams

I’m getting over a cold today, so there won’t be any picture goodness, but if I don’t get off my lazy butt and write this post now, it probably won’t be written.

After reading Phyrra’s review of Holika Holika Orange BB Cream and finding the price on the Holika Holika Petite creams well within my “Oh, what the hell, I’ll try it” budget at $10.00 each from Bello-girl on eBay, I decided that my curiosity about BB creams could be indulged. I’ve purchased all my BB creams from Bello-girl, who states that she deals in 100% genuine products from each line she sells. Shipping takes anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on the total cost of your order. Each time my order has gone over $25, she’s sent it registered mail, which takes a little longer and must be picked up in person from the Post Office. So, if you go the eBay route and purchase from a Korean seller, that’s something to keep in mind. That said, Bello-girl ships quickly, and her shipping cost to you is nearly always free, so I have no complaints about the service I get from her. She also sends very sweet handwritten notes with each order, and lots of free samples.

So what BB creams did I try? I’ve stuck mostly to the Holika Holika line of creams, partially due to cost, and partially due to their size and the online reviews.

Before we get into this, so you can compare my results to your skin, I went to Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix to find my MAC skin shade number. For a better statistical match, I took three foundation shades that were close to my skin tone (Everyday Minerals Cool Multitasking Bisque, MUFE HD 115 Ivory, and Estee Lauder Double Wear Light 1.0) and matched them to the matrix. Each shade came back as a close match to MAC NW15, so that’s our basis for comparison. I will state that when I asked Joey to do the “what color are the veins in your arm?” undertone test for blue (cool) or green(warm), his answer was the same as mine – “Blue-green,” so there’s that.

On to the BB creams!

BB Cream #1 - Holika Holika Moisture (Purple) with Hyaluronic Acid SPF30 / PA++ in Shade 01, Light Beige

The texture of Holika Holika Moisture is fairly thick and creamy and I noticed right away that it was pretty dark on my arm swatch. It didn’t look quite AS dark on my face, but you could still tell I was wearing it, and coverage was medium and a bit shiny. It wore well for the time I had it on, and did not irritate my face or set off my rosacea. Still, the darker shade was just not working for me, so I passed this BB cream on to a friend with darker skin tone than I have. Some people have made comments that Holika Holika Moisture tends to “separate” during wear, but either I didn’t wear it long enough for it to do that on me, or I just got lucky.

BB Cream #2 – Holika Holika Baby Bloom with Milk Proteins SPF25 / PA++, in Shade 01, Skin Beige

I got this BB cream as a sample with my purchase of Holika Holika Moisture. Again, this BB cream is thick and creamy. The tone of it was a bit brighter than the Moisture, and it swatched fine. Then I put it on my face. The coverage for me was fairly thick, somewhat cakey, and a decent color match. I noticed right away that I felt a little itchy after application. For the first hour or so, I thought I was just being hypersensitive to having something new on my face. By the second hour, when the first angry red rosacea lesion sprang up, and I had the undeniable feeling that I’d scoured my face with coarse grit sandpaper then washed my face in flaming kerosene, I knew it wasn’t in my head. HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP, THE BURNING. Apparently, instead of making my face baby smooth and fresh, milk proteins make my face very angry indeed. It’s a lesson I won’t need to repeat for it to *ahem* sink in.

Once I got home, I took off the rest of the BB cream that I hadn’t taken off in the restroom at work and treated my face to a Yes to Cucumbers Calming Facial Mask, which is truly amazing stuff if you suffer from any kind of skin irritation. It helps calm down my rosacea flares and soothes my skin really quickly.

BB Cream #3 – Holika Holika Essential (Orange) with Marine Collagen & Caviar SPF30 / PA++ in Shade Light Beige

I had such hopes for this one. When Phyrra and I have spoken in email and compared makeup colors and foundations, I’ve come up about half a shade to a full shade darker than she is, but I was still hopeful that Holika Holika Orange would work for me. It makes Phyrra look so utterly fantastic that I just couldn’t resist trying it.

Short ‘n’ sweet – It didn’t. Longer version – It REALLY didn’t. The whitening agent in the Essential turned me grey, and while the texture of the cream was quite nice and a bit thinner than either Moisture or Baby Bloom and the finish not as cakey, it didn’t matter when the color made me look like I’d been suffering from a long term illness. Holika Holika Orange made its way to the lovely Phyrra, who could get the use from it that I couldn’t.

BB Cream #4 – Holika Holika Peach Girl with Peach and Strawberry Extracts SPF37 / PA++ in Shade 01

I almost didn’t try this BB cream. I received a sample with my Holika Holika Orange BB cream, but was so disheartened by my experiences so far that I almost threw it away. Still, ever the optimist, I tried it one night as we were going out to dinner figuring that if it hated me or I hated it, then I wouldn’t be wearing it long and I’d lost no money on trying it.

When I opened the package, I was confused. See, Peach Girl in Shade 01 is actually lighter than Holika Holika Essential. I swatched them side by side on my arm to compare, just to be sure. Essential is warmer and greyer in tone, while Peach Girl is lighter, a cooler pink and has a softer finish. Still, press ahead in the name of BB cream research, eh?

Wow. That’s really all I can say. It’s all I could say each time I went by the mirror with Peach Girl on my face. The coverage is a soft medium, so all my rosacea bumps are covered without being obvious, and the permanent blush on my cheeks turns into a soft pearly glow.

I looked amazing. Not only that, but something in Peach Girl loves my skin because my skin looked better after I took it off that night than when I’d first put it on. The same thing happened the second night I used it, using up the rest of my sample.
Since my sample didn’t come with the nifty peach cream blusher that’s included in the full size of Peach Girl, I didn’t get to try it until my full size arrived on Saturday. After some bad experiences with cream blusher I was a bit hesitant to try it, but I needn’t have worried. While it looks like a bright coral peach in the container and when you first put it on, it blends into a gorgeous, natural peachy/pink shade and the cream itself is pretty easy to work with and blend with your fingers.

BB Cream #5 – Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF25 / PA++ in Shade #21 Bright Pink Beige

I tried the 20ml sample size, which is $14.99 from Bello-girl. Missha’s BB cream has a lot of different extracts and ingredients listed, so instead of typing them all out, it mentions ginko leaf water, amino acids, lavender extracts and skin lipids as part of the ingredient list. I was a little hesitant to choose between shade 13 and shade 21, but after doing some digging around online and finding a BB cream review that actually shows Missha shade 21 on someone who is also an NW15 skin tone, I decided to go with it. I’m glad I did, because shade 21 actually looks a little too grey on me when I first put it on. Luckily, it settles down and looks more natural after a minute or so.

The texture is very smooth and thin. This may be the thinnest BB cream I’ve tried, so you have to be careful when dispensing it. It’s better be cautious and add more if you need it in spots than to be generous because the finish tends to be a bit cakey if you’re not careful. Still, it holds up well for all day wear, even in the August heat, like the trip Joey and I took with our friend Carolyn to Cincinnati earlier this month. ‘Cause let me tell you, people, it was hot and humid while visiting that lovely city on the Ohio River, and even after a day of running about in town and going to the top of the Carew Tower,( an annual tradition, even though I’m an acrophobe), my makeup still looked pretty darned good when we headed out to dinner at The Rookwood (if you go there, get the olives appetizer – tasty!).

I know Missha is one of the more recognized BB cream brands, and while I really can’t complain how the Missha Signature Real Complete performed for me, I’m also not in love with it either. I think if you were going to give it a try, I’d definitely look for the 20 ml size to purchase before you commit.

BB Cream #6 – Holika Holika Watery (Green) with Green Tea and Glacial Water SPF25 / PA++ in Shade Bright Peach

This was my standard BB cream while waiting anxiously for Peach Girl to arrive. I decided to try it since I loved the way Peach Girl had looked on me and wanted to compare the two peach tones.

Out of all the Holika Holika Petit BB creams I tried, this one is my favorite. The peach tone suits my skin and the finish is a soft medium, and maybe a little more matte than Peach Girl. It wears well, doesn’t irritate my skin and looks very natural on me. It doesn’t quite have the “Wow” factor of Peach Girl, but it’s a very close second. It made getting ready in the morning very easy indeed.

The listing in Bello-girl’s eBay shop states that Watery is for dry skin, but I’ve found that it works just fine for my oily skin. All in all, for $10 or so, it’s a great bargain and I will keep it as my backup/alternate BB cream.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Randomosity Sale!

Whimsy Beading is holding a Randomosity Sale! Starting now and continuing through midnight on Monday, August 29, you can spin the wheel, take a chance and save with discounts on your favorite Whimsy Beading items or free shipping! Click the link below to find what QR coupon code Madame Fate has in store for you. The QR codes will change at random times, so you can take the first one you see, or wait for another one to come around - just leave your browser open on the image to see it change!

As always, please do not use the coupon codes to purchase Wear the Lilac Charity items.

http://tinyurl.com/wb-random-0826

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kelly Bobs Her Hair

I have a longing/love affair with the many variations of the bob hair cut. It's been my chosen cut since I was 14 years old, and I've had my hair in a bob more often than just about any other cut.

Each time I get my hair bobbed, I swear I'll never stray from its lovely look again, but we both know I'm a liar. I start looking for other, newer cuts, and then one day, the length that made up my bob is gone away and it takes me forever to grow it back out. Now, my hair actually grows really fast thanks to the battle between two endocrinal/autoimmune conditions that cause hair to either grow too much or too little, but I'm not complaining really.

It's just...I like new haircuts. I like trying new styles. And yet, I always come back to my bob.

Which I have done tonight.

I have a not-quite-chin length, A-line, stacked bob with bangs. My hairdresser has styled it in a lovely straight, smooth style, but I can tell you that come tomorrow morning, it will be wavy and messy. Come the weekend, I plan on dying it purple-black and putting in some pink. I've been told off at work a few times for not having my pink streaks in for a while.

And it will still be my bob. Welcome back, bob. I've missed you.


P.S. You can also see how the OCM is working for me. This is me with BB cream on from this morning, no powder and no photo tricks other than to brighten the lighting a bit and correct the photo temperature and size.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OCM, days Seven and Eight

Day Seven:

The Mixture: Same 2-to-1 (ish) Sweet Almond Oil to Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil.

The Method: Same

The Results: A bit more scrubby feeling than usual, still very smooth and moisturized after steaming/removing. I have not been using an evening moisturizer since starting OCM, with the exception of Burt's Bees Repair Serum around my eyes before I go to bed. I do still use MetroCream on my rosacea after my face has dried.

Day Eight:

The Mixture: 1 part Grapeseed Oil, 1 Part Sweet Almond Oil, 1/2 part Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil.

A new challenger! After doing more reading I decided to include some Grapeseed Oil into my oil cleaning mixture. It's highly recommended for acne prone, aging and oily skin, so it seemed like just the thing for me.

The Method: Same

The Results: Scrubby feeling during oil massage, and a nice smooth feeling on my skin. After steaming/removing, my skin felt clean and very moisturized, more so than when I was using just Sweet Almond Oil and Castor Oil alone. I am noticing that my usual "Rudolph the Red Nosed Rosacea Patient" look in the morning was diminished and after getting up and moving about, the pearly pink shade in my cheeks seems to be fading a bit, which is good. I'm hopeful that it means that the healing properties of the oils are helping to repair my skin. We will continue to see as time goes on.

Grapeseed Oil isn't all that cheap. It's not quite as spendy as Jojoba Oil, but it's up there. I do know that my food Co-op sells it in bulk as well as in individual bottles, so if you wanted to try a bit before committing, that would be what I'd do.

I am hoping to be able to put up the post on BB Creams very soon, by the by. I am still anxiously awaiting my package of Peach Girl and the Strawberry Pore Magic Cover powder. It was two weeks on Friday since I'd purchased, so I'm hoping it won't be much longer now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

OCM, days Five and Six

The mixture: 1 teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil, 1/3 (ish) teaspoon of Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil

The method: The usual massage, though I'm sitting down to maximize my "massage until I get tired" routine. I'm a big girl. I like to sit down. You don't have to. I only steam/remove once, otherwise my face starts to feel too tight and dry, which is not the goal here.

The verdict: So far, so good. A little "scrubby" action, great relaxing scent of lavender, no major breakouts.

Additonal benefits: My BB cream goes on like a dream in the morning, my cheeks are now a pearly shade of pink instead of Female News Anchor Red, and I've noticed that my forehead and T zone have lost a lot of their oil slick resemblance as the day goes on. My BB cream is very nearly the same dewey finish it was when I put it on this morning. (Incidentally, I'm using Holika Holika Watery BB Cream for its soft peachy-beige finish. I will post about all my BB cream adventures just as soon as my tube of Holika Holika Peach Girl gets here.)

So, judging from this, you'd think I'd be telling all of you how freaking wonderful OCM is and how you all have to go get some type of natural body oil and castor oil RIGHT NOW to start trying this wonderful face cleaning method, right?

Well, I'll say that OCM is working well for me. I don't know if it will work well for you, because you are not me, and I am not you. I am not a believer that one size fits all or that any one regimen is the right one. I will say that if you want to try OCM and you don't have the dough to invest in a bunch of oils, this is what I would do - I'd find the nearest Food Co-op or health food store near me, and go talk to the person in the natural care aisle about getting a few samples of oils to try. They usually have them in bulk containers and will sell them by the ounce. You won't need much, maybe an ounce of Castor Oil and an ounce or two of a carrier oil. This way, if you don't like OCM, you haven't lost much.

If you do try OCM, let me know how it works for you. If you want to tell me why you don't like OCM, I'm more than willing to give you the space to do that, because I think that's just as important as a glowing (heh, made a funny there) endorsement online.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Four Songs that Annoy the Crap Out of Me

Let's take a break from talking about my new facial cleansing regimen to discuss a little music. More to the point, music that gets on my nerves. To stay in keeping with my somewhat more relaxed and zen-like ambitions for living my life, I'm only going to target four songs. Ready? Here we go:

1. "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield.
The song itself is a classic of pop, and it's catchy as hell. It's a well written song by two gentlemen who knew damned well how to make a song. I just don't like what the song says. Even as a little kid, listening to this song in my dad's truck on the way home from some outing or another I remember thinking "Wait a second! Why do I have to change everything about myself to get this mythical guy? Why doesn't he like me for who I am? Well, screw him! I'm not changing just to be his." I'm sure my thoughts weren't quite so articulate as a kid, but the general idea has always been there. The message that you have to change yourself to find love isn't one I want to bop along to.

On the heels of that...

2. "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift
This is a Nice Guy™ screed, all dressed up in its angsty,lovelorn teenage best with some faux-country trappings and a pretty, virginal looking girl behind the microphone who doesn't even need the Extreme Teen Makeover™ to remind us that she's very, very attractive and should get the guy in the end. But - having the song sung by a girl doesn't make it any less creepy, any less entitled or any less manipulative. Think about how it would sound coming from a 35-year-old man to a woman. You still think it sounds all romantic?

3. "The Great Pretender" by The Platters
Yep, that's two classics of rock and roll on a four song list, and this time I'm taking on a band who helped put Do Wop on the map. Why, you ask? Well, it's nothing personal against The Platters.

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a theme park called Opryland. My parents took my sister and I there on many a summer vacation. They liked it better than King's Island, which I did not, because at King's Island, I always got a Scooby Doo sippy of fruit punch! Opryland did not have Scooby Doo, and therefore was theme park slumming it as far as I was concerned.

Well, one very hot summer's day, my sister and I were wandering through the "Do Wah Diddy City" portion of Opryland, a place devoted to all the neon-colored kitschy Fifties and Sixties goodness that you could possibly stand, and as I was to find out, more than a ten-year-old girl could reasonably be expected to stand. See, we were supposed to meet up with our parents in Do Wah Diddy City, and when we got there, our parents were nowhere to be seen. Rather than go running all over the park looking for them (my idea!), my sister sensibly suggested that if we stayed in one spot and just keep walking around, they would eventually run into us and all would be well. My sister should be thankful that she's seven (yes, seven, Donna!) years older than I am and was therefore the better thinker of the two of us. So, we stayed put in Do Wah Diddy City. The thing is, the soundtrack in Do Wah Diddy City was a bit limited. As in four songs limited. Do you want to know how many times you can listen to "The Great Pretender" in a two-and-a-half hour stretch, which was the amount of time we were separated from our parents? Twelve and a half times. Now try being ten years old, scared you're never going to see your parents again, and not having enough money to get a sno-cone, let alone food and trying to hide all this from your big sister. I think I've blocked out the other three songs in the Do Wah Diddy City repertoire, but my loathing for "The Great Pretender" has stayed with me for the last 26 years. No offense, The Platters. It's not you. It's me.

4. Any song by Ke$ha
I don't care which one. Pick one. Any of them. But I swear to the heavens, if you attempt to play one of them in my presence, I will jab a pen in your eye. Everytime I hear one of her songs, I'm terribly afraid those brain cells that immolated themselves in protest of the aural abuse will never come back.

And finally, to give a little karmic payback for all my song-hate, here's a song that scares the crap out of me:

Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris
I used to love this song as a little girl. That is, until the day my parents and I sat down to watch the John Carpenter adaption of Stephen King's novel Christine. Little Bitty Pretty One is the song used when Christine the evil, evil (but very pretty) 1958 Plymouth Fury attempts to kill her owner's new girlfriend by having her choke to death on a hamburger while in the car. I can't hear that song to this day without seeing that bit of the movie in my head. Fair point to you, John Carpenter.
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