2 Colorful EOTDs + Bangs!

As part of my ongoing challenge to myself to get out of my makeup rut, yesterday and today, I did two really colorful eye looks.

Yesterday, I did a very bright tropical aqua & green look using old Aromaleigh samples. I finished it off with a bright purple cat eye for a sort of peacock effect.

IMG_8733 IMG_8736


This was WAY outside my color comfort zone– in general, cool-toned colors tend to really wash me out. But surprisingly, this did NOT look like I had gotten jumped by Mimi of Drew Carey fame. I only wish I’ paired it with a more colorful lip– maybe coral? Well, you live and you learn.

Today, I did pretty purples with a little bit of a silver highlight in the center of the lid. No eyeliner this time– I’m trying out not wearing heavy eyeliner on my top lid sometimes, as it really opens up my eye area. Next challenge: to get my mascara to go all the way down to the roots on the topsides. I always press my mascara wand to the base of my lashes and wiggle it before pulling it up, but I haven’t yet figured out the magical trick to getting the same on the top, and I don’t know if I’m willing to futz with a lash card. Tips?

Purple Look

Purple Look


As you can probably tell, I made a big hair change yesterday! Due for a trim, I tasked my stylist, Aris, with giving me bangs that are a cross between Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift. Though I have a LOT of hair, it is very fine and has a tendency to part in the center no matter how much I train it, so I knew my bangs would have to be thick.

Aris @ Bubbles Salon, Towson

Ain’t he cute? Anyhow, he works at Bubbles Salon in Towson Town Centre. I was pretty skeptical about getting my hair done at a place in the mall, but after a year of fruitlessly trying stylists at various high end places around town, I went, “you know, I have never seen a person come out of that place with a bad haircut,” so I took the plunge. And I’ve been seeing Aris for a little over a year. He’s awesome. (And the secret to Bubbles’ styling genius? The chain pays for their stylists to take continuing education classes. They never get to rest on their laurels, and are always learning new techniques. Well done, Bubbles.) The staff there is always super friendly, they never give me shit about my hair (you’d be surprised how averse many stylists are to colorful hair), and I’ve found their scheduling to be very flexible.

Bangs! Bangs!

I also have slightly longer bits on either side of the bangs that frame my face if I want a different look. Yay versatility! I pulled them back today for a more traditional bang look, though.

Bangs are a really big change for me! I am glad I let them settle overnight before making any final judgments because I absolutely love them!


OMG Pretty Colors – My Eyeshadow Sample Collection

Eyeshadow Sample Collection

I have a hair appointment later today (bangs! I’m doing it!), which means that I will be in the vicinity of a Sephora. As I can’t afford to be super indulgent with my fun money at the moment, I decided to do a “shop my stash” type dealie this morning to remind myself of all the makeup I actually have but don’t use regularly, lest I be tempted by the same shade of fuchsia lipstick that I already have, like, five dupes for.  (And I found that I actually already own the exact Revlon LE lipstick I’ve been lusting over recent swatches of. So it works.)

Then I remembered the colorful eyeshadow challenge I lined up for myself and decided to sort through the incredible morass of eyeshadow samples I have from various indie companies. Most are Aromaleigh 1.0, but there are various other companies in there, too.

Eyeshadow Sample Collection Eyeshadow Sample Collection IMG_87Eyeshadow Sample Collection

And DUDE. Dude. This doesn’t even include the mini-sizes that come in little plastic jars, of which I have an additional empty Birchbox full. Maybe once my next Darling Girl order comes in I’ll photograph those, too. (I decided I needed more duochromes, so I placed sample orders at DG and an inaugural order at Australia’s Femme Fatale Cosmetics, which has AMAZING duochromes.)

So many colors. Pretty colors. Drool.


Pinky-gold Look & Beauty Challenge

I’ve been in a beauty rut lately. It seems I’ve been doing some combo of pink + gold for awhile now… or as I jokingly call them, my “team colors.”

So after this post, I’m challenging myself to do a series of looks with different colors. Which should be fun– in a few weeks, I’ll have an influx of fun new colors from Darling Girl Cosmetics and Femme Fatale Cosmetics to try out. But I do have a bunch of old, colorful Aromaleigh stuff to sift from– time to push outside my comfort zone.

One of the other things I’ve been playing around with is not really using eyeliner on my top lid– I have found that with my eye shape, for colorful looks, it really opens up my eye.

Pinky-gold LOTD IMG_8700 Pinky-gold LOTD

This look here uses Aromaleigh’s Vivelerock from the discontinued Sonic Rocks collection. The gold on the lid is actually Darling Girl’s Hope, which is more green shimmer in a sheer lavender base– which is GREAT for brightening eyes. I used just the teensiest bit of Persephone Minerals’ Khalifa in the crease just to deepen it, and Fyrinnae’s Rapunzel Had Extensions under my bottom lashes for a pop of gold.

I applied a shimmery coral blush– NARS’ Orgasm– to my cheeks, and finished up with Urban Decay’s Jilted lipstick, since it is my jam lately.

Pinky-gold LOTD


I’m also considering bangs. Thick bangs. Spring means change, and I’m ready for it.

Art of The Belly 2014 Wrap-Up

If you follow my various social media accounts, you may have seen these photos already, but for those of you who don’t, here are some pics I took while I performed/vended at the Art of the Belly bellydance festival in Ocean City, MD. It’s a truly wonderful four-day festival of workshops, performance blocks, shiny things for sale, and pretty views of the ocean. It’s incredibly well-run by Naimah and her Amandari crew, and the overwhelming feeling is one of cooperation and support. I’m pretty blessed to have this festival within driving distance, and I enjoy going every year.

AOTB Post: Sunrise…I mean, lookit. This is what I woke up to every morning.

I arrived on Thursday to set up my booth. I was vending my Sihaya Designs handmade shinies– fairy wings, wirework, resin, assorted glittery things.

AOTB Post: Wings!On Friday, the festival started in earnest. Workshops were in full swing, the first performers took the stage, and earlybird shoppers descended for the cream of the crop.  For day one, I clipped in a pair of my I Kick Shins rainbow hairpieces for extra color.

AOTB Post: Rainbow Hair SelfieMy makeup was colorful but not full-on bright. I used my Bare Minerals The September Issue palette all weekend on my eyes. This day, my lips were the Bite Beauty pencil in Rubarb.

I also modeled my current favorite pair of wings, which I kept for myself:

AOTB Post: Fairy Wing SelfieOn Friday, I also helped my troupe-mate, Lyra, teach her improv tribal class, by being a demo person for lead and follow. Then it was time to get in costume for Transcendence Tribal‘s prime-time performance slot. (There was much whining on my part. My costuming is pretty, but a pain to put on after you’ve had a long day already.) Transcendence is comprised of dancers and soloists from several troupes who come together to perform using ATS cues. Aside from a few pre-planned things like group switches or formations, our performances are entirely improv– we never know what combination of movements we’re gonna perform until we do them. We rely on watching each other to create something that looks choreographed to the audience. And I personally love to watch ATS troupes to see that process of negotiating. For me, to see a missed cue here and there isn’t a sign of ill-preparedness, but rather it reinforces for me just how magical it is to have an improv performance be so well put together that a missed cue is the rarity and not the norm. Anywho, our performance should be up on YouTube by the end of the week, and you can check in  on our Facebook page for it.

AOTB Post: Performance Hair/MakeupThis was my headsuit for the performance. I was wearing a headband that I’d made myself using coins and shisha mirrors, as well as a few clip-in flowers. For my eye makeup, I used the deep teal from my Bare Minerals palette to deepen it (which didn’t show up on camera phone + weird lighting), added cat-eye eyeliner using a Stila Stay All Day pencil in black, and swiped on some Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Jilted. I kept my wings on, as well as my labradorite pendant, which flipped backwards in this pic, oops. Usually I wear more elaborate jewelry from either the Middle East or India, but like I said: long day, didn’t feel like putting on all the heavy things.

AOTB Post: Full CostumeI did put on some fancy bracelets, though. Some I made, some are from Pakistan and India. I’m wearing approximately 35 yards of skirt here– a 20 yard pink skirt from Tribe Nawaar, and a 15 yard teal Aishwarya skirt from Magical Fashions. I think my pink embroidered vest came from Tribe Nawaar, as well. The purple hip scarf that you can’t see very well in the front is full of sparkly paillettes. And then there are big floofy pantaloons under it all that you should only see when I’m spinning. (SO glad we opted against our heavy coin bras for this performance.)

AOTB Post: Upon My Pink ThroneAnd post-performance. Sitting upon my matchy pink Adirondack ‘throne’. With matching sparkly pink Chucks, natch.

Day two dawned, and I had truly excellent sales. Two of my favorite of the day were sales to people who were clearly MEANT for the pieces they selected. My troupe-mate, Jenn, has a thing for door/portal imagery, and so this Art Nouveau & peacock titanium druzy piece was perfect for her.

AOTB Post: Customer ShotThen there was this lady, who gave me the most warm fuzzy compliments. She herself makes jewelry, and as such rarely purchases jewelry. She was so complimentary, and she bought these long dangly Jem earrings (named after Jen Bem, the bellydancer who commissioned the first pair in this style), among other pieces. They were so perfect for her Autumnal coloring– copper bedazzled with hessonite, garnet, citrine, and carnelian.

AOTB Post: Customer ShotSaturday was also the day I bartered with my next-door vendor, Diva Dreads. She makes some of the most realistic fake hairpieces I’ve ever seen, and they’re so affordable. Plus she had a dreadfall pair that matched my hair SO perfectly.

AOTB Post: Diva Dreads!How cool are they? Anyhow, I wore them long to advertise the awesomeness of her wares. In general, though, I think I will be using them as stage buns. My natural hair is very long, but also quite fine. It can be painful to clip in flowers or adornments, so if I use the faux-dreads for bulky buns, it should take care of that, AND I don’t have to clip things to my real hair. Double win.

AOTB Post: Diva Dreads!


AOTB Post: Diva DreadsSo long, so perdy. And right-side up necklace, bonus.

Sunday was the final day, and folks were winding down. I vended until the afternoon, packed up my booth, and headed out. I was eager to get back to my husband and fuzzy children.

Goodbye, Ocean City. Goodbye, AOTB. See you next year.

AOTB Post: Sunset over Assawoman Bay

Deconstructing Eden: Kushiel’s Legacy Perfume Reviews, Part II

It’s been a little quiet ’round these parts. A big part of that is that I have gotten back to a normal work schedule after a long winter of being ill, and preparing for a multi-day vending / performing / watching extravaganza at the Art of the Belly bellydance festival in Ocean City, MD. I am selling my handmade jewelry as well as performing with one of my troupes, Transcendence Tribal. So, I spent two weeks hurriedly filling the gaps in my product line, making more labradorite, druzy, and fairy wing pieces.

In the process, I broke, like, five nails. Oh wait, six. It’s an occupational hazard when you hammer things for a living. Not to mention, the patina/polish process is hell on my poor cuticles. Sigh. Anyway, I had to cut all my nails pretty short, and I’m waiting for them to grow back. I also haven’t had time for anything more than the most basic makeup. But fear not, I will take shots of pretty bellydance makeup.

What I have had time for is spritzing on perfume, and so I have four more reviews from Deconstructing Eden‘s Kushiel’s Legacy line.



Delaunay: Ambergris, red leaves (for his hair), black agar wood, a touch of leather, amber key accord, rosewood, cassis, a touch of lime and the barest drop of fresh apple. The fruits are not at all sweet and this blend is absolutely masculine.

Masculine is right. This is a scent I want to nuzzle. It opens with a punch of leather softened by ambergris, and dry, dry leaves. The woodiness reminded me a little of vetiver– that gravelly, musky manly smell– and I got absolutely no fruit. Overall, this gives off the impression of an Autumnal cologne.

Alcuin: Cool and clean as befits the character. Alcuin is white musks and white amber, the pale greens and grays of his marque, with moss and a chypre accord and a base of soft wood.

Alcuin is so subtle that you almost don’t notice it. Fitting, I think, considering the subtlety of the character it was created for. The impression I got from it was of white musk and reedy, blonde wood. There are overtones of ozone and aquatic, but this scent is so unobtrusive that I had to sniff my wrist closely to be sure it was actually there. It’s clean, bright, and unisex.

Melisande: This blend opens with cinnamon, Sambac Jasmine and fresh ginger. Heart notes of a chypre accord, amber essential oil, Egyptian musk, tuberose, and spice accord. Clean skin musks, ambergris, mahogany wood, black agar, precious resins, the barest touch of patchouli to darken the blend and leather form the base notes.

This opens with spice– cinnamon and ginger– backed by a heavy chypre incense base. After a moment, there is a creamy, musky scent as well– I am going to guess that’s the Egyptian musk, which always reads as sort of creamy to me. The creamy stage didn’t last particularly long on me, but on the drydown, I got a base of amber still touched with spice, and the faintest overtone of Jasmine Sambac. I think this perfectly expresses the character, and is a lovely take on the ‘oriental spice’ genre.

Prince of Travellers: Musk and leather, Tsingani spices, dusty tobacco and exotic woods.

I absolutely adored Prince of Travellers. Adored. The description is spot on– it’s leather and spice, backed by wood. To me, it smells like a Renaissance faire, particularly as it sweetened on my skin as I wore it. It’s the scent of mysterious parcels, of swashbuckling romance novel heroes, of rakes-with-a-heart-of-gold. I spent a good deal of time that day nuzzing into my own sleeve. A winner, for sure!


That’s all for now! I have some more of the Night Court houses and the fallen angels to review, so there will be more reviews forthcoming.

*Note: for this set, I purchased all but Prince of Travellers.

Subtle Stamping with Ninja Polish’s Mystic Glacier

My favorite nail polish I acquired in 2013 was a gorgeous multichrome from Ninja Polish, Mystic Glacier. This stunner has a blue jelly base with teal shimmmer, but at various angles, that changes from purple to amber to vivid green. It’s an absolutely hypnotic shade.

When painting my nails, I had the idea to use a multichrome base and do a very subtle stamping over top that the stamping would only be visible from certain angles. So I used an old drugstore pale gold to do the stamping (Scherer Chameleon brand, now out of business). And I loooove how it turned out!

Ninja Polish - Mystic Glacier

Ninja Polish - Mystic GlacierWhen tilt my nails so that the green is most prominent, the stars nearly disappear. It’s a really cool effect!

Also, that day, I was working on wire-wrapping some druzy, and I noticed that the druzy I was working on framing matched my nails exactly.

Ninja Polish - Mystic Glacier


How cool is that?  Also, how horrific is it that my hands dry out so much when I work? Metalsmith woes. Anyway, the finished collection of wrapped druzy & labradorite will be in my shop by month’s end!

Maybelline Color Elixir Lip Color – Rose Redefined & Glistening Amber

Continuing their streak of awesome drugstore lip products, not too long ago, Maybelline released their new Color Elixir formula in a dizzying array of colors. These are lip glosses, but they come in a wide range of finishes– sheer to opaque, shimmery and not.

Let me just say I’m generally not a gloss person. That said, I am DEFINITELY not a matte person when it comes to lip products, and when I was lemming something new, I was lured in by the super cute packaging. Because look! Super cute packaging!

Maybelline ColorElixir - Rose Redefined & Glistening AmberThey look like lipsticks, but they’re glosses. Adorable.

Anyhow, given that I recently discovered that softer pinks look quite nice on me, one of the shades I picked up was Rose Redefined, a softer rose pink shade. I also got Glistening Amber, a sparkly nude, to warm up neutral lip looks. When worn, it definitely leans yellowy on me, so I don’t like it by itself at all. I think I probably would have done better to pick up one of the more caramel-y shades.

Maybelline ColorElixir - Rose Redefined & Glistening AmberThey have doe foot applicators. They’re nice and soft, so they go on pretty easily.

Maybelline ColorElixir - Rose Redefined & Glistening AmberThese two were decently pigmented. It can be really hard to tell ahead of time whether the shade you’re looking at is sheer or more opaque, so I suggest Googling swatches if you have a particular preference.

Maybelline ColorElixir - Glistening AmberThis is Glistening Amber. It’s sheerer than Rose Redefined, but you can definitely see the yellowy gold cast and the sparkle.

Maybelline ColorElixir - Rose RedefinedAnd Rose Redefined, which is just sooooo pretty.

Maybelline ColorElixir - Rose RedefinedIt was all soft and plush and I like this one a LOT. It’s just so non-fussy and put-together looking.

The formula is oil-based, so it feels really plush on your lips. It’s on the stickier side, but it’s a gloss, so what do you really expect? Longevity is about 2 hours. It has sort of a floral-y scent that I don’t care for, but it fades after about 15 minutes. Memo to drugstore brands: vanilla, not florals. Please and thank you.

Overall, I really like these! I’m in the process of checking out other swatches, and I may add one of the purples to my collection.