Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Welcome to the Freak Show - Strobe Cosmetics

Late last night, a knocking sounded at my door.
I opened the wooden door with a creak and sitting on our welcome mat was a box. Not a person in sight but still the knocking continued.
I picked up the box, taking my trusty letter opener and pierced the tape.
I peeled back the lid, I peered inside.
There was a sea of orange tissue paper surrounding my ticket to the Freak Show.

I am of course talking about the Strobe Cosmetics "Freak Show" eyeshadow palette. Though if you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr you had probably already guessed that.
I first saw this palette in one of Rose Shocks Instagram photos, it was a photo of her eyeshadow palette collection. I hadn't heard of the palette before or the company for that matter but my fascination with the dark, macabre, weird and wonderful demanded that I have this palette. A quick search around the interwebs and I knew where to order this fabulous creation from. After finding the palette on the Strobe Cosmetics website I fell in love with one particular shade in the palette and was more determined that ever to claim it as my own.

I ordered the palette with my birthday money the day after my celebrations; the 15th of March for anyone keeping track at home.

I'd call put this palette in the "neutrals with a twist" category.
The packaging is slim, in gloss black plastic but without feeling tacky or cheap. Placed on the lid is a gloss sticker design based on the old fashioned ticket stubs. In big letters it shows that this ticket or palette for that matter is for a Freak Show.  The back of the palette provides you with ingredients and colour names.
Once opened you are greeted with a full lid sized mirror, the bottom section contains five pressed shadows and a small indentation for a brush to be stored. The palette is the perfect size to fit into my tiny purse, that in conjunction with the brush storage makes it extremely convenient for taking to parties or nights out for a quick mid-night touch up.

The shades are easily workable to design a day or a night look; which means that it is at the top of my list for any straight after work events that I need to attend. I can use the lighter shades for my work day and then apply some of the other shades for the event.

The first shade in the palette (going left to right)

Twisty: in pan appears as a shimmery greyed eggplant shade.
Once swatched, Twisty has a brown base with a bright purple shift. The heavier the colour is applied the more the purple becomes visible.

No Primer or base, rubbed my finger once in the pan and one swipe.
Strongman: when in the pan appears as a light antique gold colour. Once applied it becomes more of a dusty gold, almost a rose gold.

Monsters Among Us: is the colour that had me sold on this palette. The moment I saw it, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be buying this palette. Even in the pan this colour goes through a
dramatic shift. Depending on the light it can appear as a standard dark brown or a bright aqua.

Conjoined: In the pan, the shade comes across as a peachy gold. It keeps the same tone when swatched and on my skin is a beautiful buttery gold highlight shade.

Bearded Lady: A hickory brown in the pan and when swatched, this shade takes on a metallic cordovan or reddy purple hue,

The palette feels durable, it's slim nature means as I said before that it is great for travel and easy storage. The mirror is large enough to use for applying makeup and the colours are extremely pigmented. The beautiful vintage feel of the palette definitely called out to my tastes and earned this palette in my favourites very quickly.  <3

Friday, February 27, 2015

Geek Chic Cosmetics Sailor Moon Release

Hi Ghouls;

The start of 2015 has had me see some pretty bad luck, which will all turn around eventually. However whilst there has been some bad luck and circumstances the start of 2015 has also seen some amazing indie company beauty releases and some incredible clothing releases.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram you already have had a glimpse at the packages I have received over the past few weeks.

GeekChicCosmetics; a brand that I have been a proud follower of for many years; (you can see my review of their now discontinued Zombie and Vampire lines from 2011 here) announced that they would be releasing a Sailor Moon collection.
There has been a lot of renewed interest in the anime since the re-boot aired; I remember when I was little waking up and turning on 'Cheez TV' (Here in Australia this was the big childrens morning cartoon show in the 90's) and signing along to the theme song. It was the anime that introduced me to that world and naturally I was going to happily purchase this collection and enjoy the stroll down memory lane.

The collection came in a -once announced- limited edition tin (I'm not sure if this is still limited edition and if so when it may end). It contained 12 eyeshadows and there are also nail polishes however due to shipping restrictions I am unable to purchase those.
Due to a mass rush to order shipping took a little longer than usual, we were all advised of this in emails which I think it wonderful.
My collection turned up yesterday; there were a couple of images posted to Instgram and sadly my video wouldn't condense enough to meet their length requirements.

The tin is gorgeous, give it a bit of a twist and pull and it opens easily enough, there was a Luna sticker at the top of the tin which made me extremely happy.


The first thing I will say about this collection is that there was so much shimmer on my hands after picking them up. Even through the shrink wrap my hands were just coated in different sparkles.
I'll start at the top and continue clockwise;

Space Turbulence: Energy unleashed as a series of beams from Sailor Uranus hands, Space Turbulance is a beautiful pastel canary yellow packed with silver/white iridescent glitter; it can feel a bit grainy during application and causes a lot of fall out, definitely suggest using a sticky base underneath this shade.

One swipe over bare skin, orange fluorescent light
Silence Glaive Surprise: Based on the offensive attack of Sailor Saturn; the manga shows the attack producing a thick fog.
The colour is an extremely light pastel lavender with white/silver and light pink shimmer. This shade doesn't seem to cause as much fall out as Space Turbulence but I would still recommend a sticky base.

Rainbow Moon Heart Ache: Named after the upgraded 'Moon spiral heart attack' this attack can only be performed by Sailor Moon in super form.
The colour is a creamy silver with an opalescent shimmer. This colour swatches bright and solid.

Queen of Darkness: Inspired by the evil queen Beryl herself, who is possessed by the jealous rage of Queen Matallia is this gorgeous cerise shade that shifts in the light with a greeny yellow shimmer.

(NOTE: I missed Chronos Typhoon here, this colour swatch and description will be added in at the end of the post)

One swipe over bare skin, orange fluro lighting
Crescent Beam Shower: Sailor Venus is awe inspiring with her stunning beam of light attack; this creamsicle orange shade, with deeper orange and a slight blue sparkle embodies all that Sailor Venus stood for. The shade is a little grainy when applied but blends out wonderfully.

Tuxedo La Smoking Bomb: I think that Tuxedo mask was the first cartoon crush of many girls. Mysterious, dark, tall and handsome, falling in love not with the stunning Venus but the ordinary slightly chubby and clumsy Sailor Moon. This colour is stunning, a dark matte black base that can shift to look slightly dark purple based; filled to the brim with rainbow glitter. This colour is grainy due to the chunkiness of the glitter but if you use a sticky base that glitter won't budge.

Twinkle Yell: There was no one cuter or more annoying than chibi moon or Rini. This bubblegum pink shade has a slight orange under note with some golden sheen thrown in for good measure.

Flower Hurricane: Jupiter was always my favorite, a tough exterior but inside femininity, as shown by this attack. A beautiful minty green to broadcast the softer side of this sailor scout but with fierce orange glitter.

One swipe over bare skin, orange fluro lighting
Mars Snake Fire: This colour represents the hot headed Sailor Mars; I remember the animation now, the swirling fire snake, coiling out from her pointed finger. This colour is a soft red satin with firey yellow glitter.

Mercury Aqua Mist: Sailor Mercury the lonely brainiac who found a family to accept her. This misty light blue shade has a robin eggs blue sheen, it is beautiful and can range from light blue/grey to a more denser periwinkle blue shade.

Submarine Reflection: An ocean blue teal shade representative of Sailor Neptune.This move has two different abilities depending on if you are reading the Manga or watching the series but I feel that this shade presents it well. The teal of the sea with golden and green glitter it feels as sophisticated as Sailor Neptune looks.

Chronos Typhoon: Finally and ironically is Sailor Plutos' garnet like orb of energy used to dutifully and loyally protect the royal family and the Senshi. Chronos Typhoon is a deep silver with a dominant green shift.

The majority of these shadows are packed with glitter and can feel gritty on the fingers, as mentioned in the descriptions with a sticky base they hold up well but will result in a bit of fall out during application. My suggestion is do your foundation afterwards.
Each shade can range from lightly applied to thickly packed on for good coverage. These were an amazing way for me to reminisce about the anime that literally started my obsession (well Sailor Moon and Pokemon) and as a young Australian watching Cheez TV in the morning, I can safely say that I wasn't alone in having this eye opening experience.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ohh i'm late, i'm late, i'm late! FCS Subscription Box

Subscription boxes have this strange and slightly unsettling allure about them. I have seen many subscription box unboxing videos and read many blog posts, however down here in Australia the subscription box phenomenon is not readily known.

The main reason that I have personally never subscribed to a box is because many of the boxes that are reviewed are UK or US based with only a few based in Australia. Despite a chunk of the international boxes allowing for shipping to Australia, the exchange rate and international shipping costs can often make them too unaffordable. I will be posting a list of Australian subscription boxes or international boxes that ship to Australia here (link unavailable at the moment). I will endeavor to keep the list as up to date as possible.

I have been considering of taking up a subscription box for a while. Even though i do love my beauty products, I have a large container of samples (mostly free with purchase or a free offer with a coupon or survey) that I barely touch because I forget they are there and have a lot of products that I've purchased. Therefore it was safe to say that a beauty box every month was probably not the best option. In terms of clothing, I have a very specific style and unfortunately none of the boxes cater to that. I am also a major nerd but a nerd block or loot crate subscription felt like it would fill the house with figurines that we don't need before we move.
These two boxes are ones that I will more than likely end up trying one we are settled in our own home.
At this point in time I needed to find a box that I would not only find beneficial, but something that i would use.

I've been a fan of FCS or Fortune Cookie Soap since Christmas 2012 when Brody bought me the ENTIRE unicorn farts scent range. I knew that they had a subscription box but refrained from looking into it while I was a poor university student. This is a completely different story now that I am working full time and have a solid income.

The FCS box is a quarterly box, with a new box of sample products released each season. The samples correspond with a collection that they will release within the weeks of the boxes shipment.

I subscribed to the box in December 2014, just after the 'winter' box (Northern Hemisphere Seasons) had shipped out. My first box would be their Spring (our Autumn) box due to ship out in February. The preview card on their website suggested that the box would be based on the Alice in Wonderland live-action move (2010) which only solidified the fact that I needed to purchase this box.

The box shipped out on February 9th (10th in Australia) and arrived on my doorstep yesterday, the 25th. That is around about two weeks for delivery.

The box as i had imagined was indeed Alice in Wonderland inspired and even through the box i could smell the delightful contents. The card on top listed all the products inside the box; in total there were eight products. At the top of the box was a small jeweled blue butterfly, I remember these from when I was younger. I'll probably turn it into a hair clip.

The first product out of the box was the "Futterwacken" Body wash. This is a neon orange colour in an adorable tiny bottle and is described on the card as "Sun warmed lilies brightened with a splash of
grapefruit and a breath of fresh air." The full size of this product is $10.99USD

Next was the OCD hand sanitizer, which i love the name of "We're all mad here." This was a full size 1oz bottle and is a light purple shade in the bottle. The card described it as "Playful mint waters and
natural leafy green notes perfom a masterful balancing act with musky rich cedarwood." For the 1oz bottle the price is $2.89USD but you can also purchase a 7oz bottle or for us Australians 225ml bottle for $6.49USD
The main thing is love about FCS hand sanitizers (apart from the name that is) is that there is hardly ever a chemical smell to any of the ones I have tried.

There was also a tiny jar of "It's only a Dream" whipped cream. A light cotton candy pink which my nose picked up as having a strong citrus smell.
The card describes it as "Calming verbena, lemongrass, calla lily and citrus blended with leafy greens, ylang-ylang, rosewood and ozone; with hints of soft musk and roses."
A 4oz jar will cost you $10.99USD with the 8oz coming in at $16.49USD. These products will last you a fair while, even with continuous daily use.

I pulled out a white bag filled with dried flowers, leaves and probably other things. My first though was that this was a drawer cleaner, pot-puri bag. My second thought was, wait are we supposed to drink this? Turns out I was half right with both my guesses, this is the "Twisted Tea" bath infusion tea. In the full size the product comes in a large jar (much like their bath milk or bath salts do) but our
little sample was sure enough in a tea bag. The scent of this tiny bag was unbelievable. Very natural. The description of the product is "A light, refreshing green tea with notes of sweet herbs, vanilla bean, cucumber, golden amber and hints of neroli and geranium, stirred with a bright sprig of spearmint." The full size product costs $14.99USD and includes a reusable muslin bag (like the one my sample came in) that will fit two tablespoons of product; to be filled and used in the bath.

The "Off with her head" bath fizzer had been slightly damaged during shipping so it was a little crumbly and left residue all over me but the white shaped heart and red rose petals (we're painting the roses red) is perfectly in theme. The card described this bath fizzer as "Groves of Meyer lemons and
succulent oranges mingle with a perfectly manicured garden of wild roses, violets and star jasmine, perfumed with romantic tones of bergamot and Egyptian musk." The full size is priced at $6.99USD

 A tiny vile of "Eat me" perfume oil honestly made me want to do just that. It smells exactly like lollies. I think after I opened the box and read through everything I sat there sniffing this perfume oil.

It's addictive. The card described it as "Scrumptious yellow cake with a fresh slathering of rich, creamy vanilla frosting, topped with fresh white pineapple slices and garnished with a sprig of blooming cilantro.

An item that i was a bit confused about but extremely excited to see in the box was the "Who are you?" Incense cones. I adore incense, my mum used to always have it burning in the house and when I left home I continued with that tradition. They came in a little fabric bag and as directed by the card you can either burn them or keep them in the bag in a drawer. When I opened the bag I could smell pear, like the pear jelly-belly jelly beans. After a short while I got a lime after scent.
The card described the scent as "A mysterious mixture of crisp, ripe pear twisted with tart limes, vanilla orchid and a dash of raw cane sugar." I am unsure what the full size of this will be worth.

The item i've saved for last is the "Almost Alice" namesake fortune cookie soap. Neon blue in colour
the fortune inside read "Eat Me" apt and fitting for the theme. The card described it as "Fresh green snap peas and juicy pears brighten this bouquet of sweat pea flowers and freesia, sprinkled with ripe berries." This product is sold at $4.25USD

The full collection will be released on the 27th of February, at this stage I am not sure if anything from this collection will be made permanent.

I can safely say that i will be using all these products, in fact one of the incense cones is burning as i type. I am looking for to the Summer box (our winter) that will be shipping out sometime in May.

The box is charged every three months on the date of your original payment. For example if you paid in late January just before the box shipped out, you will not be charged until late April. For me I paid in December so my payment will be retrieved in March.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Red Bubble Comic Character Haul

Hi Ghouls;
I am pretty sure most of you are aware of the site redbubble; it's a site where artists can upload their work and get them printed on shirts, hoodies, homewares and other items. Unlike TeeFury and other sites of the same design all the art remains obtainable (not just a 24 hour sale) they don't have the same amazingly cheap pricing. However if you found a design that you liked on TeeFury, Zebra Tees or any of the others and you missed the sale you can more than likely find it on RedBubble.

RedBubble and I have a love hate relationship much like that of my relationship with LookHuman. Before Christmas I found a 24 hour sale shirt that I wanted to buy for Brody however with the holiday period coming up I just couldn't get the money together, luckily for me I found the same design on RedBubble and when my pay cleared I went onto the site to buy it. This is were the love hate part comes in. I put the item in my cart and then decided to see what new merchandise was out for Harley Quinn (with her being last years trend there were thousands of designs coming out with her face on them) I found two designs that I loved and decided that I needed to get them too. 150AUD later and I checked out.

The shirt that I originally went to the site to buy was the "Merc with a Mouth" Design by Fuacka. Brody and I both love Deadpool and the hidden disguise ripped shirt design is one of the more
popular and clever ideas that people are beginning to create.
I've never had a problem with Red Bubble, the quality of the shirt is standard nothing special but not poor. It's the same quality of a shirt that you would get if you bought one from JayJays or another fashion store. The shirt was 30AUD and there was no real decision to be made about the design on the back or the front as the ripped shirt clearly shows pecks and abs.

If you follow me on Instragram you will already have seen this one of my items that I've already started using at work.
I actually got this design "Eat at Harleys" by Sean Corbin on both the Tall Mug and the standard women's t-shirt. There isn't a decent Harley design that I don't like and buy in a shirt. I have four or five other Harley shirts from various t-shirt sales sitting in my cupboard so it was really no surprise when I added this to my cart. Again the quality is standard, they're good for Australia due to the fact that they aren't extremely thick so you can wear them in summer but they also aren't thin so layering them with a cardigan or jacket they are fine for winter as well. The womens shirt was 26.94AUD.

Since I started my new job I've been looking for a mug to keep at my desk, I wanted something unique and when i noticed that the "Eat at Harleys" design could be printed on mugs my brain said "You have to have it, It'll be like you went to the diner and then you took the mug home with you" A weird train of thought but mine none the less and so into the cart went a Tall mug 17.18AUD. I've never bought homeware from RedBubble before, my first question when Brody told me that I had both a box and a parcel delivered from RedBubble was is the mug damaged.

Brody opened the box and let me know that the mug was fine and when i got home i was able to see the packaging, not only was the mug shipped separately, it was also wrapped in thick and large bubble wrap which filled the space surrounding it in the box. In other words it was very secure, which means that if I find another item i'd like on a mug I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again. The mug is again like any mug, thick white ceramic with a gloss finish, no join lines from a mould and no little rough edges. The design is vibrant if not maybe a little blurry around the small details but that is to be expected. I've washed it twice and the print hasn't faded. The RedBubble mug information section says that they are dishwasher safe.

My final purchase is probably my favourite although at one point I did ask myself what i was doing buying a Hoodie in the middle of Summer.
I came across the design "Harley Quinn Portrait" a sensational and modern grunge view of Harley by BladeSummers. I was sitting at my computer just in awe of how perfect for me it was. As I previously mentioned above I have a lot of Harley Quinn T-Shirts and I wasn't sure if I should add one more to the collection, then I noticed it came in a hoodie. I only ever wear zip up hoodies, they're better for the Melbourne weather, sometimes the rainy day turns into a heat wave and with a zip up hoodie you don't need to take it off completely. It's thick enough to be warm but light enough to not feel like you're weighed down. I chose to get the print on the back so that the zip didn't interfere with the image in total it cost me 56.94AUD but I believe it was well worth it.

That was it, with a total of five days shipping before the goodies were in my hands.

I hope you in Australia all have a wonderful long weekend and to those in the rest of the world i hope you enjoy whatever you may be doing today.

Until next time,
Ashlee Adams xx

Monday, January 19, 2015

A night at the Hofbräuhaus

Good Afternoon Ghouls;
Here's a small post about what I did on Saturday night.
Saturday the 17th of January was the date of Brodys' belated work Christmas function.
His boss always organizes them for January to avoid the Christmas rush and to ensure that everyone is back from their holidays.
This year we (the thirty or so employees and partners) were booked into the Hofbräuhaus.
Dinner was set for seven and some of the guys organized a pre-drinks session starting at four at the Asian Beer Cafe.
Three hours of beer drinking seemed like a bit much for Brody and I, we decided to turn up at five.

For those in Melbourne who have never been to the Asian Beer Cafe located on level 3 in Melbourne Central you should arrange to go. On level three to the Swanston St side of the complex at the far end near the Hoyts counter you'll see an embossed sign that identifies the wooden facade exterior as belonging to a lager "cafe" around the bend.
Two security attendant will check ID and during the peak times there is a red carpet entrance line.
There are plenty of bar tables and even an outdoor deck for the smokers; the whole place gives off a rustic charm.
Our group was situated at a long communal table much like those found in beer halls. During "Happy Hour" between four and eight pm you get two for one cocktails.
My first drink was a standard fruit tingle. The attendant mixing the drink was heavy on the alcohol and very light on the grenadine; however talking with those who had been there from opening said that the woman who had her shift before him had a much better ratio.
At this point i do have to apologise; my camera went flat and I only took very few photos on my phone.
The fruit tingles were not the greatest so I did not bother to photograph them.
My second drink however was worth a photo.
The Whore-Nicopia is a popular cocktail at the venue and after having one I can definitely see why.
Although the $11.50 price tag may seem steep during "Happy Hour" I'll be content to pay it.

This beautiful light pink drink contains some of my favorite flavours; lychee and watermelon with two shots of vanilla vodka and it goes down a real treat.
It more or less just tastes like freshly squeezed watermelon juice. Those four drinks took me until ten to seven at which stage we needed to leave.

We manuvered through the streets towards Market Lane where out dinning venue was situated.
The Hofbräuhaus has two halls, one the standard beer hall set up and the second with a stage and a dance floor.
For such a large group booking the boss opted for the Bavarian Feast Platters; however due to the cross-contamination on the platter I was given the option of choosing my own meal.
The Hofbräuhaus menu contains a lot of Gluten Free Possible dishes (marked by a GFP) and I opted for the Paprika Hahnchen. (Chicken)
Whilst the orders of others around us were being taken a brass band all in Lederhosen played. Most notably to me they played the Game of Thrones television theme song.

The meal began with Bavarian Pretzels and hand whipped butter, although I could not try Brody admitted they were beautiful but for his tastes far too salty.

The platters were brought out adorned with two pork knuckles, pork belly, chicken schnitzel, sausage skewers with two slices of each variety. Amongst the meat were bread dumplings, potato dumplings, fried onions and sweet pickles.
Side plates accompanied the platters with Sauerkraut, a capsicum, tomato and onion salsa and a potato mixture.

My meal while it may not have looked pretty tasted amazing. A baked chicken breast in a spicy tomato brth with a side of Spatzel (an egg ball noodle coated in potato flour almost reminiscent of Gnocchi) with a dollop of cream sauce on top.

The venue most notably however was the home-brewed beer selection available in one litre steins.
During dinner there was live entertainment with a lovely MC encourage us to do shots.
Brodys' boss shouted us all some Vanilla Schnapps of the Lindenhof brand, very smooth and easy to shot.

It was a memorable night that I would and plan to definitely repeat.

Ashlee Adams xx