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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review & Recommendations: 8 Arcana's Apples Crave Scents + 1 Lonely Random Scent

I love apples & pumpkins so I took a huge gamble and ordered a bunch of Arcana's Apples Crave & Pumpkins Crave perfumes from Ajevie's decants.





I definitely worried about hating their pumpkin and apple notes, and then getting stuck with a 15 scents I hated. Luckily, Arcana is amazing! You can purchase them from The Rhinestone Housewife, which I've done before, so I feel comfortable recommending this distributor. They're having a sale right now, so with the coupon code YULE2014  you'll get 20% off all orders between $10.01-50.00, 30% off all orders $50.01-100.00 and a 40% off all orders above $100.01.

Besides The Rhinestone Housewife, you can also purchase it from the Arcana eBay account, where the scents are currently on sale.

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Rhinestone Housewife Customer Service Rave


Seriously, Jeanine is amazing. I sent a question on July 7 about the shopping cart. There was an error when I visited and the security certificates weren't showing up. I got a reply within the same day, and Jeanine was fine taking the time to manually sending me a PayPal invoice so I can feel more comfortable about my payment. I paid on July 8 and my package got shipped the very same day. How amazing is that?

She also included a free tub of Brazen eyeshadow too!



I ended up making 2nd order from Jeanine, obviously, and again, I needed help. The shopping cart kept insisting my address for my credit card is incorrect (it's not) so I couldn't buy what I wanted. I had to ask Jeanine to invoice me manually again. Oh, even better. I stupidly gave her the wrong PayPal email, so she had to re-invoice me. Jeanine has the patience of a saint and fixed the invoice for me. Did I mention she replied to all my emails within minutes? On Thanksgiving. I felt so bad.

My rave isn't finished yet though. So one of the perfumes I wanted had an accident and she wouldn't be able to get a new bottle until the supplier sends a bottle to her. She offered to do 2 shippings for me, free of charge. Obviously, I couldn't take advantage of that offer and told her I'm fine with waiting so she can send everything in one shipping, but it's incredible of her to offer.

Seriously, shop at The Rhinestone Housewife. The customer service is unbelievably great.

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Perfume Oils General Review


Ok, so I'm extremely impressed with Arcana. I was expecting the same note over and over again with slight variations but nooo. You get different versions of pumpkin and apple -baked, dried, freshly cut, puréed, candied, etc. It's extremely creative and your nose definitely won't get bored. I spend a few days testing out only the Apples Crave scents, and I never had to struggle to differentiate the scents –which sometimes happens when you're testing too many scents with the same notes.

The scent's throw is at ranges from casual conversation to faux whispering distance, and stays this way for about 2h. It then slowly fades to intimate whispering distance for about another 2h or so, though by now the scent is pretty unrecognizable from the original scent. You'll get traces of the scent on your skin for a long time after that, with some scents still leaving traces 10+h later! I'm definitely impressed by the sillage and longevity.

Anyway, here are the reviews for 8 Apple Craves Scents, as well as Souleater since I'm splitting my reviews into 2 reviews of 9 scents each.  As usual, they're done blind until the TL;DR's written. If anything in the notes surprise me, I write an overview.


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Apples Crave...


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Cake

"Fresh, crisp red apples blended with our yellow cake layering note."

The apple here starts off as an apple candy sort of apple, but it's not the headache inducing type of artificial scent. After about 10 min, it becomes more of an apple soap sort of apple. 

I was worried the yellow cake portion will smell like those play-doh-ish artificial cake scents but nope. Somehow, the two typically artificial scents combined to become  the most delicious gourmand apple scent. It smells like a wearable apple perfume, with something underneath that's triggers your lust for food, even though you can't identify what you're hungry for.

TL;DR: Apples & food lust.

Overview: The cake bit is available for layering? OMG I NEED IT.

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...Flora

"Fuji apple, tropical Tiare blossm, tuberose, bergamot, orange flower, and vintage patchouli."

This is like an Asian bottled apple tea - sweet, light, cool, very fragrant, with a hint of florals. Unlike the American versions of apple tea, this isn't an artificial sort of apple scent, and definitely smells like perfume. As much as I love Asian apple teas, I often find a few that are hard to drink because they smell so much like a perfume. They taste delicious once I get over my knee-jerk "must. not. drink." reaction, though.

TL;DR: Asian bottled apple tea.

Overview: Oh wow, you cannot smell the patchouli at all. This is awesome!



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...Frills


"Frilly Underpinnings(Pink, white, and black pepper lace delicately through sweet cream, bourbon vanilla, caramel amber, white musk, two sugars, and spice) blend with sweet, crisp pippins."

I think I may have gotten the wrong scent for this. Ok, you know those preserved mangoes with chilli? Like these:

It tastes funky.
Image courtesy of thaifoodshop.co.uk

This scent is similar to how that smells like – sweet & sour & spicy all at once. I'm trying to sniff out the apples in this, but it ends up smelling more like tamarinds instead. The scent actually makes me feel hungry, for some odd reason. I hate spicy pickled mangoes, smelling it never fails to make me feel hungry. Maybe because that sweet & spicy pickled smell is so similar to the scents of the free appetizers they serve you in Chinese restaurants.

This is definitely a funkier scent, and while I personally like it, I won't recommend it to everyone.

TL;DR: Spicy pickled fruits.

Overview: Huh. I did get the right scents. I'm guessing it's all the peppers going sour on me.


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...Orchards


"Dry apple cider with French hay absolute, a touch of heartwood, and a hint of rain."

Gotta give it to Arcana, they keep coming up with different interpretations of apples. This smells like dried apples. The ones that are still chewy, not the crisps.
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and you'll get this scent.
Image courtesy of nuts.com

It's dry, acrid, is dusted with cinnamon and has that dried fruits sort of dried out smell.

TL;DR: Cinnamon dusted dried apples.

Overview: I guess the hay was the one giving that dried plant sort of smell. Unexpected but awesome combo!


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...Peaches

"Green apple hard candy with sugared peaches."

Omg. The peach is amazing. It smells like the first bite into a juicy, sweet, ripe peach. I smell the apples in it and it's more of a cut apple sort of scent. This smells like sliced red apples drizzled in peach juice. This was the first scent I tried from the apples collection and my first thought was, "Crap. I'm going to be broke if all of Arcana's apple notes are just this good."

After about 20 min, the peach bit starts smelling a tad soapy (a fancy soap, though), but the scent is still delicious. It becomes a more wearable scent that's delicious yet clean.

TL;DR: Clean slices of red apples drizzled in peach juice.



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...Resins

"Citron-laced cider with dragonsblood resin, warm myrrh, and smoky frankincense."

Ok, I can't really identify the apples in this, but there's a roomspray type of fruity-vanilla scent. I like the wood resin part in this, since it's light wood resin that's not searing, so it smells more like a brand new wood-panelled room rather than a wood factory. The roomspray part of this kept getting stronger and stronger until by 20min, it's dominant. It's a searing citrus-vanilla roomspray (I'm assuming there's apples in it too) in a brand new woody room. 40 min into the scent, the wood resin has blended into the scent to make the roomspray part even more searing. My nose hurts.

TL;DR: Citrus-vanilla room roomspray sprayed right into your nose.



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...Tea

"Smoky black tea leaf, golden musk, cardamom, and baked winesaps."

Ok, the tea they picked somehow smells very herbal and smoky. For the first 5-8 min, it kinda smells like one of those bitter, icy axe brand oils that my dad (and a lot of old Chinese dads/grandpas) seem to like. I smell hints of apples, but that herbal, bitter icy smell is the most dominant.

The icy bit finally calms down after 5-8 min and it does smell like real apple tea. The loose leaf kind that's made of bitter, acrid, black tea.

You know it'll be sour.
Image courtesy of The Tea Company, you can buy this here!


I have to say I'm very impressed with Arcana for this scent.

TL;DR: Real black apple tea.


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...Vanilla

"Wild apples and green apples with delicate vanilla, sensual musk, and white amber."

At first, I'm just getting a plain apple scent –well, it's unfair to call it plain since Arcana's apple scents smell exactly like a freshly cut red apple –but then a musky sort of vanilla starts coming out. I also somehow get sandalwood in this, and I'm extremely confused about it. As time wears on, the muskiness mixed into the scent makes the apples smell more like the apple filling in a baked apple pie.
Hungryyyy....
Image courtesy of allrecipes.com, and you can find the recipe here!


The resulting scent is still a relatively light scent, but it's a heavier, more velvety type of apple scent. I definitely find it a very unique combination since most apple scents tend to be on being fresh and light.


TL;DR: Musky vanilla on baked apple pie filling. 

Overview: Since amber is often made of a vanilla & sandalwood mix, that may be where the sandalwood scent is coming from.

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Soul Eater

"Rich tobacco, delicious caramel, fir needle, black spruce, peru balsam, and sandalwood."

It's a very dry and old dried fleshy fruit sort of scent. I think there may be wood resins in this because it's just so dry. There's also a bit of a candied scent to this. It's like someone dried to make some long forgotten dried fruit edible again, by candying it.

TL;DR: Candied, extremely old, dried fruit.

Overview: Caramel notes sometimes turn into sugared plums on me, and I guess this is one of those cases. Kinda weird since there's still a sour smell when I did a cold sniff. Maybe it's coming from the tobacco. The cold sniff has more balsam in it, and has a sour, almost fruity smell to it. It smells like a drier and more sour version of HoG's Peach Mama.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review & Swatches: Limnit Lipsticks

I bought 2 Limnit mini-sized lipstick some time ago and got a free sample!



Customer Service Review


Here's the TAT:
  • Ordered: June 27
  • Shipped: July 07
  • Arrived in NY: July 09
Customer service was great! I wasn't expecting the order to take so long to ship, so I had to contact Trina to ask her to ship to a different address since I ran out of time on my forwarding address.  I got a reply within the same day and she made sure my order was shipped to the right address. 


Lipsticks Review and Swatches


These come in tubs and as far as I know, there's no option to buy them in a lip balm/lipstick tube yet. There's also no option to buy samples, which is why I only have swatches of 3 colours.

The tubs come shrinkwrapped, so that's awesome:


I got the old formula, which apparently is prone to crystalizing and will be improved soon:



While I didn't have any problems with crystalization, I did find the consistency a bit hard and waxy, but I guess that's to be expected with matte lipsticks. They do get harder with time though. Here's a gif to illustrate how stiff it is:


It's a bit dark, so it's hard to see, but my brush didn't puncture a hole through the lipstick.


I don't know if I'm imagining it, but I swear it was softer when I first got it about 4 months ago. 

Here are the face swatches:


All under natural light..I wish I can go to work in these pretty colours! Oh, and for these face swatches, I cheated on the make up detox I'm supposed to be on and used 1 layer of Dior's Hyrdalife BB Cream. May my dermatologist forgive me.

As you can see from the photo above, the pigmentation is great. I struggled a bit with the formulas of Abracadabra & League of My Own though, since they kept going patchy. Abracadabra was worse than League of My Own, and as you can see from the lip close ups below, I couldn't get it smooth no matter how hard I tried. Luckily, it blends well with my lip colour, so it's not too obvious. 

Left: Under yellow-toned artificial light
Right: Under natural light


Ok, the reason I did 2 swatches is because I don't have a mirror in the spot where I get a good amount of natural light. That makes it really hard to focus, and I also found out I tend to make funny lip movements when I'm trying to take pics of my lips without a mirror.

UPDATE Jan 28, 2015: It's been an additional 2 months since this review, and the lipsticks hardened further to the point where I couldn't get the colour off. I contacted Trina and she responded so quickly. She suggested scouring the surface of the lipstick, and that definitely help make the lipstick more usable. I asked about melting the colour and mixing it with oils/lip balm to soften it, and she suggested against it since it dilutes the colour. I love the colours so much, I don't think I'll risk destroying them. Scouring works well enough for me!







Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: 10 Scents from Conjure Oils' The Ghost of Hallows Past: Resurrected 2014 Collection

I'm done reviewing my 2nd batch of Conjure Oils scents! This time, the scents I'm reviewing is from the The Ghost of Hallows Past: Resurrected 2014 collection. This collection isn't as weird as the Dark Cinema collection I reviewed before, which I was slightly sad about since it's so fun getting weird, way-out-there type of scents when you've tried too many perfumes. For my Dark Cinema review, you can head here.


These scents are also decants from Ajevie and I can't recommend her decant circles more. Head here to check it out!



So here's my review, as usual, they're done blind until the TL;DR's written. If anything in the notes surprise me, I write an overview.


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A Gypsy Flame 2014


"Bonfire smoke, spun sugar, warm caramelized popcorn and candy coated apples."

It's a burnt, papery vanilla cake-like scent. I can only describe this scent as "papery" since it has a light dryness that just has this paper-like quality to it. The vanilla bit was threatening to go sour on me for the first 3-5 min, but luckily it stayed vanilla. There's a bitterness to it that can be either coffee or burnt marshmallow.

As the scent wears on, the bitter bit leaned more towards burnt marshmallow on me. Not toasted, burnt and completely inedible. It has that cloying sweet scent burnt marshmallows seem to have too.

Smells awesome, definitely shouldn't be eaten.
Cool photography by Kyle Dreier


I tried this out on my friend to test out if the bitter burnt marshmallow/coffee part was just my skin chemistry. He got the same scent bitter scent, but it leans more towards over-roasted coffee on him. The vanilla is a bit more cloying on him too, and the "papery" part smells more like perfumed paper.

TL;DR: Burnt vanilla-marshmallow cake.

Overview: Tried this again and still can't get the apple, it could be the sour part in the beginning. The cloying cake-like smell is the most prominent, and I guess it's made up of the spun sugar & caramelized popcorn notes.

Update Sep 30, 2015: After a year of aging, this is GORGEOUS! The burnt bit has gone and it smells more like cotton candy and moist, green apple cake with melted marshmallows on top. It's sooo beautiful! The cotton candy is actual cotton candy too, not the crazy searing Aquolina's Pink Sugar type of sugar note. As the scent wears on, the marshmallows smell more toasted and starts to dominate. Definitely age this!


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Hell Broth 2014


"Black coconut, almond blossom, toasted patchouli, nutmeg, beeswax and bubbling green sugar cane syrup."

Ok, there's patchouli in here but I'm not sure what else. It ends up smelling like a thick Asian dessert broth, with patchouli. There's also something off in the background -the closest description I can give is waxy concrete. Either way, if they're aiming to create the scent of a broth that'll probably punch a hole through your stomach, they've succeeded.

TL;DR: A heavy Asian dessert broth with extra inedible ingredients added in by a crazed chef.

Overview: Not sure how almond blossoms smell like, but almonds, coconut & sugar cane can definitely be found in a lot of Asian desserts. I'm actually impressed they got the waxy scent in, since I'd imagine it's a pretty hard scent to capture. I have no idea what's causing the concrete part. 


Update Sep 30, 2015: Oh wow, now it smells less gourmand and more of a wearable perfume! The scent has definitely gotten lighter and I'm getting clean, light rich coconut. There's almost a floral sweetness to it. It's so beautiful and definitely a scent you need to age.


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Killer Klown 2014


"Spun sugar, vanilla-white greasepaint, molten marshmallow and cherry-syrup blood."

Artificial cherries. There's some vanilla in it so it smells more like kids' plastic toys scented with a cherry scent, rather than Nyquil. At first it smelled exactly like the the cherry "baby food" that came with the Baby All Gone doll I used to have:

Is it just me, or does that doll look creepier than I remembered?
Image courtesy of yeahflashback.com

Then the plastic part got stronger and stronger until it smells like how I imagine a fake, made in China knock off of that toy would smell like. Well, gotta give it to them, it smells like a toy that'll send your kid to the hospital if s/he's dumb enough to chew on it. Killer Klown is an apt name for that toy.

TL;DR: Plastic cherries.

Update Sep 30, 2015: The plastic bit is gone, and now it's this pretty, powdery artificial cherries. If you love that artificial cherries note, you'd love this.



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Mara 2014

"Bo tree bark, Indian sandalwood, thousand-petaled sacred lotus blossoms, warmed honey and pure vanilla absolute."

This starts of smelling like a floral bar soap and then a fizziness enters. It's one of those thick, lotiony, clean florals that always makes me think of serene, elegant socialite moms –light enough to be youthful without being young, deep enough to be elegant and complex without going heavy. The type of florals in this makes the fizziness smell more lighthearted instead of childish.

Unfortunately, after 20-30 min it got heavy. It's still gorgeous –sensual, heady, musky florals –but definitely an older scent. It's like the socialite just aged 20 years.

TL;DR: Heavy, heady, musky florals.





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Murder of Crows 2014

"The softest touch of black leather feathers, oak splinters, acorn, crumbled leaves and baked apples drizzled in brandy all illuminated by creamy vanilla moonlight"


Leather, ink, wood and a blue note. Makes me think of an old writing desk that looks like this:

You just know it comes with a leather seat, and a quill & bottle of ink will not look out of place there.
Image courtesy of wayfair.com


I tried this out on my friend and he and his girlfriend fell in love with this scent. Here's their quick descriptions of the scent:

Him: Wow, I like this. This really goes with enjoying really good whiskey. It smells like a really good whiskey bar –those old school ones. You know what I'm talking about –the ones with antique books. (he's referring to the ones that are usually dimly lit, has leather seats, wood panels, antique books for decoration, and makes you want to show up wearing an ascot)

Her: This is what I want my library to smell like!

TL;DR: The perfect library/study/whiskey bar.

Overview: I suspect the apples blending with the brandy and vanilla is what's causing the ink smell. 





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Ol'Scratch 2014

"Thick slices of oven-fresh pumpkin bread slathered with butter and served with fresh cream and a drizzle of treacle"

Initially, there was the smell of vanilla/caramel/cream going sour on me but that disappeared in about 3 minutes. The scent I'm left with is a creamy, buttery gourmand. If you want a straightforward, creamy, buttery gourmand scent, this is it. No fall spices or anything else muddling it. Just straight up creamy, butteriness. I get hints of wet, soggy pumpkin here and there, but it never really took over on my skin. If your skin amps up that soggy pumpkin smell, it may be something to watch out for.

Around 40 min, I smell traces of fall spices but it's too faint for me to really notice.

TL;DR: Creamy, buttery gourmand.





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Succubus 2014

"African violet, sugar soaked vanilla, benzoin, coconut milk, triple cream, Egyptian sandalwood musk and red currant."

That's it. I need this in full size. It smells like sweet, candied blue florals (most likely violets, from experience).


Not sure if you've tried this candy, but all the candied blue florals scent smells exactly like this.

I always love the candied blue florals scent, only what makes this unique is that this is just sweet, without the powdery bit. It's a small difference and hardly matters, but I'm finding excuses to get this because I love candied florals.

.....aaaaand right after I typed that, the powdery bit came in. (about 20-30 min into the scent)

Ok, it's too much like Possets' Bouquet a la Marechale, which I already own a full size in. I sniffed them side by side and Succubus is heavier on the candied part, while Bouquet a la Marechale is a bit heavier on the cool floral bit. They're slightly different, but close enough to each other that I can't justify buying a bottle of Succubus when I already own Bouquet a la Marechale. The candied bit makes Succubus seem like a "younger" scent than Bouquet a la Marechale too. If you tell me to pick a favourite between the two, I really can't. I love them both equally. Must. Resist. Buying.

TL;DR: Candied blue florals.






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Vortex Tunnel 2014 

"Sweet funnel cakes defiled by chaotic swirls of vanilla ice cream, topped with corrupt caramel syrup and washed down with hootch."

Perfumed caramel. This ends up smelling like an ice cream parlour at first, where you can smell one of those clean, clinical-looking room scent with the scent of ice cream cones and burnt caramel. The clean room scent is the most overpowering though, and there's also a sunblock smell. Definitely an ice cream parlour by the beach, filled with people slathered in sunblock. And it'll look clean and clinical like this:

It'll definitely have that clean, almost office-like smell.
Image courtesy of gourmetgoro.blogspot
I'm not sure why this is a fall scent since it just reminds me so much of summer. Or at least fall in LA, where it's still warm enough to go to the beach and walk around in your swimsuit (as long as you're not from a tropical country like me, and prone to freezing).

TL;DR: Clinical looking ice cream parlour by the beach, during summer.

Overview: Hootch apparently smells like sunblock.

Update Sep 30, 2015: Oooh...now it does smell like an ice cream parlour. It smells like caramel ice cream over freshly baked waffle cones. There's this hint of a clean, cheery cherry sort of scent that makes me think of ice cream parlours and it's just gorgeous! I love it!



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Witching Hour 2014

"Spiced pumpkin, falling leaves, a black velvet cloak to pull close for warmth and a frankincense candle offering for the spirits residing in the nearby cemetery."

My first impression was: peppers in the wind. There's also a baked goods or baked pumpkin sort of scent in the background. The peppers is that slightly tangy sort of peppers and threatened to go full sour on me every now and then. Eventually, the tanginess does die down and this just becomes an extra sharp and spicy sort of fall spices on some Thanksgiving dessert. 

TL;DR: Extra sharp & spicy fall spices exploding in the kitchen, with Thanksgiving desserts in the background.

Overview: I'm really not sure what's going sour on me. Maybe it's part of the spiced pumpkin going wrong.

Update Sep 30, 2015: Yup. It's still savoury and sour on me. I feel like it's a perfumed version of a bell peppers salad. Not for me.


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Yuki-Onna 2014

"Wind whipped sugared vanilla snow, black orchid, ginger tea and ume blossom."

Artificially sugared florals. The artificial sugared bit is that artificial sugar note that I personally find a bit searing (sixteen92's Black Sugar & Black Violet's Sugar Clouds has this too). The florals are a mellow sort of florals that temper the searing part of the sugar note, but I hate that particular artificial sugar note too much to like the scent.

TL;DR: Artificial sugared florals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review & Swatches: Blackbird Cosmetics' Matte Neutrals V1 Collection (10 Colours)

I've been really awesome at procrastinating on swatching lately. >.<

So I bought a sample set of all the Matte Neutrals V1 colours from Blackbird Cosmetics a few months ago and I really should've started swatching immediately, but I just got around to doing it a few days ago.

And there's a handwritten note too! I feel even more guilty...


Customer Service Review


My order was shipped 2 days after I paid, so that was awesome. Also, what really impressed me is that Maleah, the owner of Blackbird Cosmetics, paid attention to her customers' feedback and actually announced she's reformulating her eyeshadows after taking into account all the issues her customers found with them:

Screenshot taken on Nov 18, 2014
I find it very impressive when brand owners actually listen to their customers, so A+ for customer service here.


Eyeshadows Review

First of all, I did a random check of ingredients and everything's in order. This brand is legit. If you want to learn how to identify the ingredients in eyeshadows to avoid buying bad formulas, here's a guide I wrote previously.

I found them pretty hard to blend, but as mentioned before, they're being reformulated to make them easier to blend. If you have the old formula though, don't trash them. I found out the trick to blend them out is using the right brush.

What I normally do to blend my other eyeshadows, is to use a fluffy brush to slowly add in colour while swirling it around to fluff it out. Unfortunately, with these eyeshadows, the colour kinda sticks the spot I applied the colour to, and refuses to budge.

I found out the method that does work is to draw a line with the eyeshadow first with a small, stiff brush, then using the brush to smoke out the eyeshadow with lots of small movements (the kind of movements you'll make while etching out small details). So here's an example of the blending with both methods:


Top Swatch: blended with a fluffy brush
Bottom Swatch: blended with a stiff brush
As you can see, the top swatch  that's blended with a fluffy brush can't achieve an even gradient. The bottom swatch that's blended out with the stiff brush looks more smoked out with a more even gradient.

Anyway, enough with the talk, here's the swatches below. I unfortunately cannot find my UDPP while doing these swatches, so I had to use NYX's HD Primer -which I hate since it doesn't seem to agree with a lot of indie shadows and tend to darken colours. Since there's no shine to these colours, I did all the swatches under natural light, and didn't swatch them foiled or over glitter glue.




Close up of the shadows over primer!




As you can see, these eyeshadows look amazing on their own against bare skin, so I had to try wearing them out without any form of primer whatsoever. I don't really recommend this method since the shadows cling to your pores and holy crap, I never knew how porous my eyelids are. But despite my ugly pores, check out how long these last WITHOUT any primer:
Gross, gross, gross pores.
Immortals on inner corner, Imogen all over lid, Fiction on the outer corner
I'm pretty sure they could last longer, but I didn't get the chance to take more pictures after this.

Anyway, these eyeshadows are now my go-to eyeshadows for my no-make-up make up look for my eyes. Here's the a look I love to do with them: 


Eyes:


  • Blackbird Cosmetics: Dim Tradition, Beau, Dog Days, Fiction
  • Fiberwig Mascara
  • Maybeline Falsies Mascara
  • NYX HD Primer


Lips:

  • Little Sparrow: Oh My Papaya


Nothing on my face since my dermatologist banned me from putting anything on for 2 months, so excuse the spots!

Eye close ups (cropped because I'm growing out my eyebrows and just realized how hairy they were zoomed in):


Dim Tradition on inner corner, Dog Days all over lid, Beau on the outer corner, Fiction on lower lashline


Side view to show how I line my monolids


Monday, November 24, 2014

IMAM Gift Exchange!

I participated in the IMAM gift exchange and got Cheryl from Midsummer Dreams Apothecary as my exhange partner! Woot!

So pretty!
I felt so bad when I saw this because I have a huge confession...I didn't wrap my gifts up. I figured I suck too much at it, so I kinda gave up on it. Now I feel so bad. Here's the gifts unwrapped:

She's so generous! Omg!


And you can guess what I did with the sticker!

I love it!

Ok, so I got a vial of Dragon's Blood as a single note from her, since I discovered I tend to like scents with Dragon's Blood in them, but have no idea what it smells like. Googling descriptions also left me confused.

Here's from Brambleberry:

This mysterious, alluring blend is difficult to describe. With warming notes of amber, incense, Madagascar vanilla and patchouli, our Dragon' s Blood Fragrance Oil is lightened up with layers of romantic notes such as rose, jasmine and lilac. Finally, our sensual, deep blend is topped off with the colorful, light touches of blood orange and grapefruit. 

From Crafter's Choice:

Luxurious blend of amber and myrrh with cozy sandalwood and patchouli.

From CandleScience:

A year round favorite, Dragon's Blood is a potent and earthy fragrance infused with cedarwood, orange and patchouli essential oils. The scent combines sweet and spicy notes to form a sophisticated complex blend.

Yup. Looks like it's a note like amber, where everyone has their own proprietary blend. I'm guessing the one I got is from Brambleberry, because it smells like an Indonesian woody smell. If you've gone to Indonesia, you'll know what I'm talking about. It smells like a spicy, slightly aged wood, but has a sweet, rounded floral touch to it. The scent just takes you to Bali and it makes me instantly nostalgic. If you've fallen in love to Bali, watch out for Dragon's Blood notes, especially from Midsummer Dreams Apothecary. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: 8 More Soon-To-Be-Discontinued Alkemia Scents

Since Alkemia just announced that they're discontinuing a few more scents, I figured it's time to dive into my collection and finally review the scents they're discontinuing. So here's the review for 8 of the soon-to-be-discontinued scents.

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written, and overviews are only written if anything in the notes surprises me. For my previous Alkemia reviews, you can go to the Alkemia tag on the side or click here.



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Corsaire


"An aromatic fougère based on an 18th century men's cologne — a blend of spiced bay rum, amber, tonka, and french lavender with a splash of fresh oceanic breeze ."

Ok, something is going sour on me. The rotting kind of sour. What is going on. Underneath the rotting, sour smell, there's this cool, slightly bitter blue scent that smells like a lot of mainstream high end men's colognes. Fortunately, after 10 min, the sourness dissipated and I'm left with this mellow, cool and a tiny bit powdery sort of blue scent.  The scent may be passable as a unisex scent, but it leans more feminine on me. If I'm picking an add for this perfume, it'll be this picture:

Slightly amazed she can still breath in that corset. It looks kinda painful..
Gorgeous photo by Mascha Seitz

TL;DR: Clean, cool and muted with a touch of boudoir.

Overview: I don't smell the spiced bay rum at all, and I'm wondering if it was the scent that went bitter & sour in the beginning.




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County Fair


"The nostalgic scent of an old-fashioned American carnival midway - pink cotton candy, hot kettle corn, freshly fried dough, candied apples, and saltwater taffy."

There's a sugared plums sort of scent, and I can't tell if it's deliberate or it's a caramel or vanilla note going sour on me. I think it's deliberate since it's a tad like apple soap, so it's different from the caramel/vanilla going sour sort of scent. There's an edible, buttery scent underneath that smells a bit like a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a loaf of bread (not the freshly baked ones), but the apple soap bit is definitely more prominent on me. I think if the apple smelled like actual apples, this can be a gorgeous chocolate dusted apple fritters sort of scent.

I think the combination is unique, even though my brain's a bit confused about whether I should eat this or wash my hand in it.

As the scent dries down, it becomes more of a luxurious apple liquid hand soap that has a more mellow, creamy, rounded apple scent.

TL;DR: Apple soap and chocolate-dusted, buttery, carb-y snack.

Overview: I'm not sure what's causing that slight chocolate smell. Maybe it's the kettle corn going weird on me? I definitely don't smell kettle corn.




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Fetish 


"Commanding black leather, blood-dark roses, sharp thorns..."

It's a very sweet version of that baby oil-like scent. Extremely sweet. The sweetness got to the point where I smell like ants will eat me alive. The baby oil bit got less cottony and the scent smells like sugared syrup water with a dash of baby oil. I have a bit of a headache from this scent.

TL;DR: Extremely sweet baby oil.

Overview: Sniffing it again, I can smell the roses, but it's definitely drowned out by the sugary sweetness. Maybe the leather note added into it makes it smell baby oil-ish. It definitely doesn't smell like the fierce type of  scent you'd expect from the name. It smells more like a perfume belonging to someone with this kind of bed:
Don't get me wrong, it's pretty....but I'd be more in the mood for a chaste cup of tea rather than something naughty.
Image courtesy of decoholic.org




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Incendere


"Fiery red carnations, incendiary dianthus, erotically hot spices, a touch of burning incense, and a hypnotic splash of bay rum. "

It's a wooden smell that's dry and astringent yet powdery at the same time, there's also a hint of sourness. I'm guessing there's a black tea note in this? It's definitely that same dry, astringent and sour scent. It makes me think of opening a drawer in a grandma's wooden vanity-there's the old lady powders and the smell of old, dusty, dry wood.

Ignore the nice product photography and imagine the smell of those drawers if this thing has been unused since your grandma's time.
This is apparently on sale from indeeddecor.com for $1,870.


TL;DR: Grandma's vanity drawer.

Overview: I tried sniffing it again and the carnations may be adding to that tea-like scent. Now that I'm looking out for it, I can sniff some of the hot spices, but it just blends in to the dry, astringent wood scent.



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Las Solderas 


"A blend of commandingly sexy musks blended with Queen Elizabeth root (a hoodoo charm for strength and luck); fiesty pink pepper, bay and ginger; a splash of honky-tonk ale; a fleeting kiss of tonka; and a dash of gunpowder."

It starts of as very sour citrus soda with something slightly bitter. The bitterness is more of a new leather sort of bitterness. Makes me think of drinking a whiskey sour with soda added into it, while sitting in a leather chair. The bitterness left after about 10 min though, and I'm left with a whiskey sour soda that's heavy on the lemon. The smell makes me want to pucker my lips.

Taste the sourness.
Image courtesy of Straubs and you can find the recipe here!
TL;DR: Very sour whiskey sour.

Overview: I think it's the pink pepper going extremely sour on me. I don't really smell gunpowder since the boozy sour soda smell is strongest on me.




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Sanguinaria


"Sweat-spiced skin arches hungrily toward the slow, sensual penetration of a fang. Dragon’s blood incense, virile dark red musk, and hauntingly blood-kissed Asian florals."

In the beginning, this starts off smelling like a dank, musty broom closet. The kind that even little kids won't be afraid of because they know any ghost/monster will just go, "Fuck that. I'm not going in there, it smells!"

After about 45 min, the dank, musty scent faded a bit, and there's this sweet sort of scent that makes me think of red velvet (the cloth, not the cake), with a bit of an old lady sort of floral perfume. While the floral perfume is heavy, it's faded enough in this scent that it smells more like the lingering traces of a very heavy perfume. It's definitely an old cloth too, since there's still that musty smell. It's nice enough, but kinda makes me think of someone grabbing their great-grandma's red, velvet dress from the closet for a last minute 1800s themed party.

TL;DR: Musty old, red velvet dress.

Overview: I normally love dragon's blood so I'm trying to sniff it out here. I guess it's behind the slightly wooden scent, but it's definitely drowned out by the mustiness. Maybe the sweat bit is behind the mustiness. The old, dank part may be the incense here, and I'm guessing the musk and Asian florals is the great-grandma note.



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Sea Goddess

"An oceanic hymn. Warm skin caressed by iodine and seawater swirled with seaweed and a whisper of seaspray roses and beach plums on a summery breeze of honeysuckle, nardo, and champaca blossom."

This is such a gorgeous floral blue! I was a bit worried at first since Alkemia has some pretty room-spray-ish blue scents, but this is gorgeous! There's a Balinese flower in this that I can't identify, but it's definitely one of the popular ones since I often smell this in Bali. This is definitely a mainstream high end perfume, reminiscent of one of the Tocca scents.

If I'm picking a model for this scent, I'm so going with her:

The model's Ricarda Kalla and she's so pretty! This photo is by Martin Strauss and the amazing hair & make up is by Anja Nega.

It's just such a classic, elegant scent!

There's definitely roses in this, since as the scent wears on, heavy roses started blooming. It's still a lovely scent, but it's personally got too heavy for me. Pretty sad since the initial scent was so pretty. It's still something I'd recommend for people who prefer more mainstream high end floral scents.

TL;DR: High end mainstream blue & floral scent –elegant, feminine & classic.

Overview: That's it. Honeysuckle & rose is my magic combo. Everything smells great with honeysuckle & rose! I wish this didn't get too heavy though, the initial smell was gorgeous!





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Vanille Vert


"The innocence of fresh ferns, sweet green grass, and tender new leaves juxtaposed against seduction of white amber, Madagascar vanilla orchids, and vanilla musk."

This is a very green, fresh scent. It's very light and more of the watery, leafy sort of green. 

I smell the vanilla, mostly because I was looking out for it. It's more in the background, grounding this scent so it smells more like perfume rather than room spray, which a lot of greens tend to turn into. As it dries down, the scent gets very sugary, but my skin tends to amp up sweet notes so it may not be a problem for other people.

TL;DR: Wearable fresh, green scent. One of the best light, fresh scents I can think of!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: 9 Scents from Conjure Oils' Dark Cinema: Hallows 2014 Collection

I got a bunch of Conjure Oils decants from Ajevie again!





So here's the review for 9 scents from the Dark Cinema: Hallows 2014 collection. As usual, all reviews are done blind until I'm done writing the TL;DR, Overviews are written if anything surprises me. 



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Perfume Oil General Review


These perfumes definitely specialise in...weird. I guess it's because it's a Halloween collection. The throw's great and is somewhere between intimate to faux whispering distance for the first 1-1.5h –about half the length of an iPhone 5, to be exact. Then it goes down to intimate whispering distance. It doesn't get faint until about 2h after initial application.


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Dracula


"Corrupted incense, blood musk, clove, Tunisian myrrh and blood red pomegranate."

There's that game-y scent that many perfumers like to describe as opium or incense, and NAVA likes to describe as Kashmir. There's also the scent of some slightly artificial red fruit I can't really identify over all the game-y scent. About 45 min after I first applied it, it finally starts smelling like a fruity version of my grandma's altar -full of joss sticks and that prayer paper. If you're not a fan of Chinese incense, you may not like this scent. 

TL;DR: Fruity game-y "incense" note turning into Chinese joss sticks.




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Far East Frightfest

"Japanese musk, juniper, green tea and osmanthus. Pale, haunting and terrifying."

The scent is like a watery and papery sort of floral scent. There's just something about this scent that makes you think of delicate paper flowers. Unfortunately, there's something at the base of this scent that I find a bit cloying -it's the artificial grape sort of cloying. It doesn't have the grape scent, but has the cloying part, if that makes any sense. That cloying part reminds me of chewable calcium supplements and that paste some dentists use when they're deep-cleaning your teeth. I guess this part makes it unique, but I kinda wished it stayed boring at the watery, papery florals bit.

TL;DR: Slightly cloying watery, papery florals.

Overview: I had to check out the scent of osmanthus & juniper to figure out what's causing that cloying smell. I think it's the juniper. According to How Stuff Works:
"The fragrance is pungent, herbaceous, peppery, pinelike, and camphorous. The needles produce a turpentinelike scent called juniper tar."



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Grindhouse

"Sleazy booze, cigar smoke, booze, maybe a hint of something green and illegal… and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Did I mention the booze?"

It smells like a wet toilet in a cheap structure, minus the poo & pee. The kind with white tiles, corrugated pipes and a cheap lemon-floral air freshener that sears your nose. 


Think this, but with less shiny pipes.
Image courtesy of 24dash.com

Not for me, but I'm sure it's deliberate and I'm impressed they captured that scent so well. As it dries down, you're left with a floral, fruity citrus scent that smells like the air freshener in slightly nicer toilets, but still a toilet air freshener.

TL;DR: Clean toilet in a cheap structure. 

Overview: Ok, I can see the metallic corrugated pipes scent being the scent of blood from someone who follows a high iron diet. I can't really smell any smoke over the other scents. If I try really hard, I can smell the weed scent, I guess. It's really faint and drowned out by the air freshener scent though. I guess the sweet, wet part of the scent is slightly boozy, but it's more of that sickly sweet smell like last night's booze that was spilled on the couch. Let's be honest though, a lot of cheap, public restrooms often smell slightly like weed and last night's booze. 



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Slasher Chic

"The waters of Camp Crystal Lake, the steamy hiss of a boiler room and a dark Halloween night of crisp leaves and doom."

Oh, a blue note and some kind of pepper. Ok, so this scent is trying its best to be sweet, but it just ends up with this sweet & sour peppery scent, that just reminds me of eating instant Tom Yum flavoured ramen. After about 15-20 min, there's a sweet musky scent that finally overpowers the Tom Yum ramen scent, but unfortunately, I find it too heavy for me. 

The scent it leaves when it dries down is that generic, heavy, sweet, and musky blue scent that could be an old lady's signature perfume.

TL;DR: Tom Yum ramen and old lady perfume.




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Strange Geometries 


"Black and white musk, black currant and white pepper."

It's hard to describe this scent - it's that slightly bitter blue scent that makes me think of men's colognes, at the same time, there's a candied, musky amber scent that reminds me of an older woman. There's also that scent of icy oils for muscle relief (eucalyptus, balsam) but without the icy zing. 

The result is like an absent minded old man who accidentally spritzed on his wife's perfume, then tried to cover it up with his own cologne. Oh, and he's the type of old man who perpetually smells of icy oils, of course. 

The musky amber got amped up on me to the point where it's giving me a headache. 

TL;DR: Old dude accidentally using his wife's perfume.




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The Old Dark House

"Brandy, fading bouquets of calla lilies and cracked leather."

This is awesome. It's a floral with some fizzy fruitiness in it. The florals is one of those elegant, light florals that smells fresh and ladylike at the same time. I got a burst of what smelled like that plasticky leather note in the beginning, but the other parts of the scent overpowered it. It's still hanging around in the background, but it's faint enough that it smells more like good quality plastic chairs rather than cheap plastic stools that get sticky in hot temperatures. It's a clean, sweet scent -has a bit of that office type of sterile smell, but still toned down with elegant florals to add some life to it. Oh and plastic chairs. There's plastic chairs in this scent.

This scent reminds me of one of the tuition centres I used to go to as a kid. While I'm technically Indonesian, my family's still Chinese, so obviously I've been going for extra tutoring since I was in kindergarten. It's definitely the smell of one of the nicer tuition centres -the kind with carpeted floors, adorable kid-sized chairs, teachers who don't yell so much, and actual play time.

This is a daycare in Vegas and I really want to attend it. Screw work. I want to fingerpaint all day.
Image courtesy of creativekidslearningcenter.com


TL;DR: Really awesome classroom. 




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The Outsiders

"Green musk, bracing lime, Martian flora and a drop of mint."

Ok, I got citrus and that cottony, baby powder-ish scent, only the cottony bit is attached to a rather heavy and powdery musk. It's a bit too heavy for me..almost suffocatingly heavy. I was going to scrub it off but got called to a meeting and ended up stuck with this slightly headache-inducing scent for about an hour. After an hour though, the scent dries down and it's amazing. It smells like clean baby oil. I've encountered a lot of baby oil scents before that don't come with the headache-inducing heaviness, though, so I think I'll pass on this one. 

TL;DR: Citrus and very heavy baby oil. 

Overview: Tried again...the mint probably got drowned out by the heaviness because I can't smell it.



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The Wolf Man

"Gypsy incense, deep forests and soft fur."

Ok, we've got some citrus here and a scent that smells like the taste of soap in your mouth. There's that game-y scent again. The kind perfumers often refer to as opium or incense & NAVA refers to as "Kashmir". The sweetness is a bit too heavy & cloying for me, but my skin does tent to amp up sweet notes. 

After about 20 min, the game-y scent faded enough but it's still there. The scent smells more chemical-ish now, thanks to that soap suds in your mouth scent. The resulting scent is like the scent of shirts in a Southeast Asian market - where you can still smell the ink and goodness knows what else goes into  the manufacturing process. 

TL;DR: Game-y citrus & soap suds, turning into printed t-shirts in a Southeast Asian market.

Overview: Ugh...looks like they also use that game-y incense note. Not getting anything incense from Conjure anymore. 



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Torture Porn


"Dark fear (dark chocolate) collides with singed flesh (bacon)."

Chocolate & singed hair. The chocolate is one of those very well done rich, velvety chocolate notes. As time goes on, the singed hair scent got a bit wetter and it kinda reminds me of burnt victim in a hospital. I guess I'm thinking more of burnt flesh rather than cooked meat since there's this clinicial hospital disinfectant smell, so it smells like being in an ER full of burn victims. If this is their smoke note going wrong on me, I'm avoiding anything with smoke from them. Forever. 

Luckily the burn victim smell is gone by 25 min, and the scent I'm left with is Indonesian "chocolate". In Indonesia, a college graduate often only get $300/month for salary. As you can guess a $1-2 bar of chocolate is like a $10-20 treat for a recent American college grad in the liberal arts fields (ex-Sociology major here..still pretty bitter about the job options). So what a lot of companies, including international companies like Nestlé, would do is that they use a cheaper "chocolate" to make their candies cheaper. The cheaper chocolate tends to be more crumbly and tastes like solidified oil and crumbly, cheap, chocolate powder. Some companies take this to larger extremes and create chocolates that are even cheaper at 5-15¢ for each bar. 

This is a 20¢ chocolate bar. It's actually not bad! The plastic doesn't look like it's toxic and it doesn't taste too artificial! Though the chocolate bit does taste mostly sweet, and more reminiscent of chocolate rather than tasting like actual chocolate. They can make it this cheap without compromising too much on quality, by making it relatively small...there's my driver's license for scale. 


These 5-15¢ chocolates usually has this weird waxy film over them, taste mostly of solidified oil with few sad traces of crumbly, sickly sweet "chocolate" powder, and always, always smell of the cheap plastic wrapping it's in. This is what the scent smells like –oily, powdery cheap chocolate and cheap, plastic wrapping. If you've ever tried extremely cheap chocolate coins from Asian supermarkets, you may know the taste I'm talking about.

TL;DR: Some psycho making chocolate fondue in an ER unit full of burn victims, turning into cheap Indonesian "chocolate". 

Overview: Their bacon does smell like singed flesh. It's creepy.