Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One 'n' done

I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed to admit this, but I have a lot of makeup. Salon brands, indie brands, bargain brands, drugstore brands, you name it. When we cleaned out the bathroom cabinets for some bathroom renovations in March, my huge makeup train case, my brush case and everything else went into my office. That's not counting the stacks and stacks of mineral pigments on the shelf by the bathroom sink or the "Can't live without" items over there, like blush and concealer.

I have a lot of make up.

Which, considering my normal morning makeup routine, is really sort of odd. I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a morning person, and instead of popping out of bed, bright eyed and bushy tailed at the thought of putting on a fresh, exciting face of makeup, you *might* get something vaguely resembling human conversation out of me - if you're really lucky and I don't want to KILL ALL HUMANS for getting up at Way Too Damn Early for a Night Owl Body Clock. You can ask Joey how often THAT happens.

So, what do I do in the twenty minutes where I'm ambulatory but not yet human?
I rinse my hair (I shower at night, but don't wash my hair every time. Too much shampoo is not your hair color's friend), wash my face, dry my face, dry my hair, apply Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum, run some styling product through my hair, blow it dry, wash my hands, apply Metrocream to treat my rosacea, go get my clothes, apply perfume/deodorant, get dressed, wash my hands again, apply Stila's SPF 30 tinted moisturizer in Light, wash my hands some more and put on my jewelry for the day.

That's on a day when I don't put on makeup. For someone as lazy as me, that's still a hell of a lot to do between getting out of bed and leaving for work. And it's made me realize something - I am not cut out for multi-step, multi-shade eye looks.

I've tried. I've really tried. I absolutely adore the looks, but I just can't do it on a regular basis. Also, since switching to cream eyeshadows a few months ago, I've found that I really prefer their texture and staying power, even though I'm a sucker for pretty loose mineral shades, such as Shiro Cosmetics' new Science Collection. I mean, COME ON. It's gorgeous eye colors based on Portal. There's no way I could resist that.

Still, most of the time, I find myself reaching for one of my new go-to shades in cream eye shadow, putting on some mascara (Cover Girl's Lash Blast Fusion for preference - more on that later) and calling it good. If I want to get crazy, I might put on eyeliner. 'Cause - you guessed it - I've got a lot of eyeliner.

So, with all that explanation under your belt about my laziness and incompatibility with both mornings and more multi-step processes to get ready in the morning, here's my list of my top used cream eyeshadow shades:

1. Estee Lauder Double Wear Pink Pearl - a low-key shimmer, creamy soft beige pink.

2. Makeup Forever Aqua Cream in #16, Pink Beige - much more visible shimmer, soft beige pink that's less pearly and more pink than EL's Pink Pearl.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in R.S.V.P. - This is a very soft champagne shade that's very brightening. GREAT for when you aren't feeling your best.

4. Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Flatter Me - This is a much softer tan than a mauve.

5. Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Get Figgy - This is a darker shade than it shows on the Benefit site, but it's a nice soft heathered purple.

And there you have it. My exciting makeup routine, all laid out for you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some words on Heartsy

After a discussion last weekend on Twitter with some friends and seeing Grey's post on Heartsy, I thought it was time to share my experience with them.

If you don't know what Heartsy is, it's best described like Groupon for handmade items. Sellers of handmade goods submit their deal to Heartsy and if the deal is approved, then it goes live for a certain amount of time. Customers can buy vouchers for your deal and redeem them in your Etsy shop or elsewhere, like an Artfire shop.

I was first alerted to Heartsy in March after reading an article in the Handmadeology blog. After doing some thinking about it, and calculating how much money I could stand to lose, I signed up and submitted some items for consideration, such as my Ophelia's Sea Urchin Necklace, one of my personal favorites.

I also submitted the kind of deal I'd be willing to offer. I was pretty conservative, I think, keeping in mind that it takes a while to make every necklace I sell, and how much I could reasonably produce in a short time. I work a very full time day job, and Joey goes to school full time and works a full time job. Etsy is my second full time job that usually starts right after I get home and have dinner, plus most of every weekend. I knew I couldn't offer a huge amount of vouchers because I could never fill them all within a reasonable turnaround time. But still, I thought my deal was pretty good and I sent it off for judging, and we'll get back to that after this short digression.

You'll notice I said I was going to lose money on the Heartsy deal. It's true. I was offering a deal that would mean for every necklace I "sold," money was going to come out of my pocket. How is that, and why would I do it? The how is pretty easy. I try to keep my pricing reasonable for the customer but still high enough that I will make money even if I put items on a deep discount, like the recent 40% off one-day sale. There's this expectation of handcrafts that you shouldn't sell it for much more than your materials costs, because you're not a "real" business. Well, bollocks to that. None of the items used in the creation of my necklaces and earrings are cheap to buy. With the price of silver nudging $50 per ounce some days, the prices for sterling silver chain and findings has doubled and sometimes tripled from what they were. I'd instituted a slight price increase to account for it in January, but I'm also eating some of the costs because I won't sell something that I wouldn't wear. That means no silver plated wear items (unless plated/filled is all that's commonly available for the materials I need, such as memory wire), and good quality beads and findings. But, bottom line, I must still make money on each piece I sell. If I don't make money on what I sell, there's no reason for me to be selling it, unless I decide, which I did in the case of the Heartsy deal, that the monetary loss would have another benefit.

I was looking at the Heartsy deal in the same light as the blog ads and showcases I've purchased in the past - a way to get eyes on my shop and widen my customer base for future, profitable sales.

Now here's the part that's a little embarrassing. You see, in my day job I'm a Purchasing Officer. It's my job to read the fine print on things. Sometimes it's my job to write the fine print. So, you'd think I'd do a good job of reading the fine print on Heartsy, yeah? Not so much. I read the part where you submit your items for review. I read the part where your items will be judged by Heartsy members and if you got enough votes, you'd move on to the next step. I did not read that the next step was another judging panel made up of Heartsy staff and "trusted frequent buyers." I thought the next step was discussing your deal and ironing out the terms. So, when I got the news that we'd gotten the requisite "Yes, definitely" votes in the three-day time limit, I was expecting to hear back from Heartsy pretty soon with discussions of the actual deal.

A week or so later, I get the email from Heartsy. Only instead of a discussion of the deal, it was a "thanks but no thanks" email that stated that yes, my items had gotten through the first judging, but that the super secret judging panel had voted "no." The reasoning given was that my items were not unique enough to offer on Heartsy and they were looking for something else. Still, here was a five-dollar credit I could use for the shops they did approve, and I could submit my deal any old time I liked.

I think you've probably figured out by now that the email did not leave a good impression on me. No one likes to be told "no" and the tone of the email struck me as very high school clique, which is not the kind of tone I'd want for my business. You can also infer from this that I have not resubmitted my items to Heartsy again, and I won't be doing so in the future.

So, when all is said and done, what do I think of Heartsy? Well, I don't think it's for me, obviously. I have never purchased a Heartsy deal, and I probably won't. I can definitely see the point anti-Heartsy sellers are making that Heartsy is doing more harm to the handmade selling movement than good, turning it into a race to the bottom in terms of pricing, and leading the public into the thought that handmade shouldn't cost as much or more than something you'd buy at Wal-Mart. Handmade sellers fight against that mindset already.

On the other hand, as a seller submitting a deal to Heartsy, you should know what you're getting into before you do it and if you decide that it's something of benefit to your shop in either sales volume or exposure, then by all means, go for it. Here's a very handy article on calculating your benefit versus loss from Fine Heart Boutique.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wipe that smile ON your face!

That's the phrase that greets me every time I open up my Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial Towlettes. And you know what? They really do. As an adult, I've come to love the green freshness of a cucumber, but alas, it is an unrequited love. The cucumber does not love me. If I over indulge, I will definitely pay for it later. So the fresh cucumber scent of these facial wipes just adds to their already impressive combination of factors, including a lightweight, non-drying, non-greasy feel from the cleanser, decent ability in removing even carbon black mascara (you'll want to follow up with an eye makeup remover for really heavy mascara), a nice size towelette and a good price. I bought mine at a local Walgreen's on sale, so keep your eyes open for deals.

To be honest, while I feel like the Olay Regenerist wipes do a better job at exfoliating, it's the Yes to Cucumbers wipes I'll be buying again and again from here on out. They're like a little spa vacation I can take once a night.

Monday, May 23, 2011

40% off? That's crazy talk! So let's talk crazy.

Yep, you read it right. I promised that if we had 400 sales in the Whimsy Beading Etsy Shop by May Day, I would hold a one-day-only, 40% of sale in the month of May.

That sale starts tonight at midnight, and goes until midnight on Tuesday, 5-24.

Here's how the sale works. Come midnight, the coupon code FUN40 will go live in the Whimsy Beading Etsy Shop. If you're not sure how to use an Etsy coupon on checkout, go here for the tutorial.

Please don't use the coupon for the "Wear the Lilac" charity items. I make nothing on those items, so I can't discount my portion of the proceeds. I'd have to take it from the donation, which really isn't cool.

Also, please keep in mind that custom orders are limited to the stock on hand. Due to the deep discount, I can't bring in a lot of additional stock. If you are interested in a custom order, please send me an Etsy convo.

Finally, depending on sales volume, orders may take longer than the usual 7 business (which excludes weekends and postal holidays) day turnaround.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Maybelline Fails Me Again

Last night I picked up Maybelline's One by One Washable Mascara in Blackest Black. It looks lovely on the model, doesn't it? Yeah, that must have been the five seconds before it started to flake off and smudge. I look like Rocky Raccoon over here. As soon as I get home, this product is hitting the bin.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Update time

It's been crazy busy in Whimsy Beading land lately. I've been attending a professional development seminar for the last three days, and my brain is full of professional developmenty stuff. I still need to post about Joey's surgery, latest makeup loves thanks to Grey of Le Gothique, my love of the Yes to Blueberries product line that I was introduced to thanks to my friend Phyrra, and my annual "Wear the Lilac" fundraiser.

Whew. I'm tired typing all that out, really.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time for a change of hair

I'm pretty well known for having pink hair. I've had pink streaks in my hair almost continually since October 2009. Most people have been very positive about it, and I'm happy keeping it to streaks/highlights only, which works better for me than dying my whole head pink.

Joey is my color stylist of choice. He does such a good job that my hairdresser's co-workers think she does it. She gives him all the credit, just like I do. :D

Thing is, going from black to blonde ain't easy without a color remover, and I didn't have one last time. The hair I normally highlight is pretty fragile, so doing a radical change wasn't in the cards. Still, my Flamingo Pink had started to fade out a bit, and I wanted something different. So, off to the paste hair color stash for something new!

I found a jar of Manic Panic Pillarbox Red in the stash and decided to use it. Manic Panic doesn't have the staying power that Punky Colour does for me, but I think it was on sale at my local Sally's, so it's easier to get than Punky Colour. Either way, waste not, want not, right?

Here's the results:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Staples - That Was Annoying

I have a loathe/hate relationship with Staples. One way or another, every time I set foot in a Staples location, something will happen that reminds me how much I hate going there, be it the misleading "rebate" policy on items, or as in this last experience, the obnoxious sales pitch for extended warranties on products that really don't need them.

But, I love my mother-in-law, and she needed a new desk. Staples was having a special where if you purchased a desk over $149.99, you got a free chair. It would be a perfect setup for her, as she's been making do with a student desk from probably the '40s or '50s and a wooden stool seat for a while. So, we went to Staples yesterday to look at the desks and see what was what. Joey and I would buy it, and then my brother-in-law and his wife would pay us half back, so the desk would be Mom's Mother's Day gift.

As it turned out, none of the desks at the $149.99 price point and beyond looked like anything Mom would want in her house, and the free chair was pretty crappy. I found a much more comfortable chair for a good price and spotted a nice looking desk on deep discount plus a matching file cart. All together, they added up to the same amount as the other desks, only with a better chair. I was pretty happy with myself at that point, thinking I'd found my mother-in-law a desk she'd like with additional storage and a nice, comfy office chair, and I did it all on budget. Go me!

Then I got to the checkout line, and was forcefully reminded of why I hate going to Staples. When the manager started her sales pitch on the repair and replacement warranty on the chair, I stopped her with my standard question "Have you heard of the Bathtub-Shaped Hazard Function? It means a product is most likely to fail at the start or the end of its life cycle. I don't want the warranty" Granted, this little bit of quality control trivia and the "Five S" method are pretty much all I remember from my quality control class from college, but it's handy for stopping the warranty sales pitches dead, most of the time. Only not this time. The manager kept talking over me and demanding to know what "bad experience" I'd had with a repair/replacement warranty that I didn't want the one she was offering. Aside from the bad experience where an obnoxious manager won't take no for an answer, you mean? Aside from the bad experience that your store is selling things so cheaply that it's attempting to make cash flow from selling me a practically useless warranty on a $100 chair? I'd be willing to pay higher prices on things if it meant that the store employees didn't turn into pushy jerks trying to sell me something I clearly said I didn't want.

So, Staples, thanks for reminding me why I hate shopping with you. I really hope my mother-in-law loves her desk and her unwarrantied chair. If it should fail somewhere in its life cycle, I'll be sure to get her another one - at Office Depot.
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