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Palette Love: BH Cosmetics Blushed Neutrals Palette

Sorry for the radio silence!  Life’s been a little bit off for me lately, but I’m back now!  A few days ago, I was browsing the BH Cosmetics website, and came across the Blushed Neutrals palette.  I really liked it because most of the colors were rosy, and included some matte shades.  I’ve been feeling like I’m in need of more mattes.  I’ve got lots of shimmery and glittery shadows.  Anyway, I’ve never tried anything from BH, so this is my first experience with them!  This is the box it came in.

BH Blush palette

The palette goes for $13.99 on their website, but I happened to get it during a flash sale for $9.99.  It has 21 shadows, and 5 blush shades, with a combination of shimmer, matte, and satin finishes.  Let’s open this bad boy up!

Blushed

The larger pans at the bottom are the blush shades.  Off the bat, I can tell you that the lightest shade will probably be used in another way, if I use it.  It’s rather light for a blush on brown skin tones, haha.  In fact, I’m not even sure how well it would show up on lighter skin tones.  But I’m kind of a blush noob, anyway.  The fourth blush shade is shimmery, all of the others appear to be matte.  It’s kind of scented, but not really.  It doesn’t have any particular scent when you open it up, but when I put my nose up to it, there seems to be some kind of maybe a flowery aroma.  Let’s get on to the swatches!

All of these swatched pretty well, and the ones that seemed a little bit light, built up nicely.  I forgot to add that I don’t have any primer on my arm, so the pigmentation for these is pretty darn good.  There also doesn’t seem to be much fallout with any of the shades, and I didn’t feel that any of them were chalky.  They had a very soft feel.  I’m excited to use this on my eyes, and figure out new looks!  Until next time! ❤

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Cosplay Life: #28DaysofBlackCosplay

I thought about whether or not I’d include a section on this blog for my general ramblings, and I decided that I would. 🙂  You’ll see posts ranging from what games I’m playing, to maybe just something that popped into my head and I decided to write about it for a spell.

So, if you’re a fan of cosplay and have been on Facebook and Instagram (maybe other social media too), there’s a hashtag going around this month called #28DaysofBlackCosplay.  As it is known, February is Black History Month, and a few years ago, a cosplayer that goes by the moniker of Princess Mentality Cosplay decided that it would be awesome to shine the light on POC cosplayers in the community.  As awesome as this is, there is always some confusion as to the intent of this movement.  It seems like every year, there are people out there that get offended and sound off about it not being fair, and why can’t there be a 28 days of <insert ethnicity> cosplay movement.  First off, if someone out there wants to start a hashtag of a similar nature at some time of the year, I’m certain they are more than welcome to.  Just make sure it’s for a good reason, and not to be spiteful.  But people need to stop and think about this from another perspective, and that’s what gets overlooked.  It’s not about making black cosplayers “more important” than anyone else, it’s about shining the spotlight on a demographic within the cosplay community that doesn’t get the same amount of love, respect, and recognition as other cosplayers out there.

Black cosplayers face a lot of ridicule.  We’re told “<insert non-black character> isn’t black,” or called “the black version of <insert character>, that we “can’t”/shouldn’t cosplay outside of our race, or the character’s name is twisted to include some stereotype about black people, like this:

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Seriously??

Let’s look at this meme for a moment.  Here we have a black male cosplayer dressed as a pretty good Link from Legend of Zelda.  Not only is he “Black Link,” but he’s out to get his “hoe” back and “cap” someone.  Why can’t he just be Link?  Why did Zelda become a “hoe” in association to the person cosplaying Link being black?   I want to make sure it’s known that I’m not “offended.”  I just want to take a moment to ask some questions that a lot of people might not stop to think about.  That being said, I’m sure that there are other POC cosplayers in the community that deal with this sort of thing as well, and I’m not trying to act like black cosplayers are the ONLY ones who face some of these problems, it’s everywhere.  There was an awesome female cosplayer that did Disney princess characters with her Hijab that faced a lot of trolls, so no one is really immune to this kind of thing.  This hashtag is meant to bring awareness, and shine the spotlight on black cosplayers as a whole because we are just as much a part of this community as much as anyone else.  And you don’t have to be black to participate in this celebration either.  If you aren’t black, but follow some awesome black cosplayers, or you’re a photographer with photos of black cosplayers, you can participate and join in on the fun.  Like Black History Month serves as a celebration of the impact black people have had on history and society as a whole, this movement serves as a celebration of the talent and creativity that black cosplayers have, as well as a reminder that no matter who you are or what you look like, you can cosplay like anyone else.  It’s ironic that in a community that the outside world might look at as “weird,” that there is so much judgment within it aimed at each other.

I never realized how much fun I would have joining in on this.  Because last year was a leap year, the hashtag was #29DaysofBlackCosplay.  And as the month went on, I found more and more that I was really getting into sharing these other cosplayers, the importance behind it, and just how much fun it is in general.  I feel like I’m an emcee for a very creative, kick ass fashion show, and I love it!  It gave me new cosplayers to follow, and I realized that I’m part of this too, because I’m a black cosplayer.  The thing is, that in a perfect world, none of this would be needed if everyone were looked at as equals.  Sadly, that’s just not the way the world is, and that’s why things like this are important.  It’s important to see more than just the same faces, it’s important to broaden our horizons, and our scope of vision. And while I have no intention of getting political in this post, given what we’ve all been seeing in the news as a whole, it makes things like this extra important.  We need more togetherness, positivity, and support of one another.  I’m going to show a few examples of the awesomeness I’m talking about.

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Princess Mentality Cosplay as Akasha (Queen of the Damned) Photo by Hell or High Water Photography

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Shawshank Cosplay and Props Making as Black Panther, photographer unknown (but I will update this caption as soon as I find the photographer)

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Mahogany Cosplay as Effie Trinket (Hunger Games), photographer unknown (will update)

If you’d like to see more of this awesomeness, click on the hashtag the next time you see it somewhere.  I’m participating again this year, so you can check out my Facebook page as well, as I will be sharing at least one (sometimes more) cosplayer a day, and you can check out my personal work on there, and other sections on this blog.

Talent, creativity, and love for geeky things isn’t reserved for only certain types of people, it’s for everyone and anyone who wants to be a part of it.  If you read my About Me on the front page of this blog.  I started doing this just because I thought it would be fun to do, and that’s what we ALL do.  Thanks for reading, I’ll see you soon!!

Palette Love: Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette with Swatches & Look

Probably the most anticipated makeup release for 2016 was the Too Faced Sweet Peach eye shadow palette.  This palette was released two different times, due to the high demand.  I managed to get one the first time around, and to say I was excited is probably an understatement.  I’m pretty sure I was quite the spectacle at Ulta, hahaha. I love peachy colors, and actual peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so when I heard about this palette, I was VERY intrigued.  Ulta had a test palette out, and after swatching some of the shadows, I was sold, particularly because of the colors Bellini and Just Peachy.  I mean, this palette is just L-O-V-E.

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I also LOVED that this palette was scented like peaches, but it’s not a natural peach scent.  It’s more like a candied peach scent, but not overpowering (unless you just happen to have a sensitive sniffer).  The one con I will say for this palette is that I felt like the lighter shades (White Peach, Peaches & Cream, and Georgia) do not how up very well on me.  And again, it could be the formula, or it could just be that these shades are not as noticeable on brown skin tones.  It doesn’t stop me from using them, but I don’t use them as much as the other shades. Here are the swatches, which I did by columns, instead of by rows.

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All of the metallic shades in this palette are gorgeous, I love them.  The one green shade, Bless Her Heart, is one of my favorites.  It’s interesting though, because it can almost take on a greenish-gold color under different light settings.  My favorite transition shades are Puree, and Summer Yum.  Charmed, I’m Sure is another good transition color, but I usually go for Puree or Summer Yum when I use this palette.  Now, let’s get into the look I decided to do with this peachy beauty!

Today, I decided to do a peach halo eye.  I do a lot of halo looks, it’s probably my favorite style.  I’m going to do something a little different today, and give a picture tutorial.  🙂  First off, here are all of the colors I used: Puree (blue box), Candied Peach (yellow box), Just Peachy (green box), Nectar (pink box)

palette

Process

Sometimes I do my face makeup before my eye makeup, and sometimes after.  Today, I decided to go ahead and get it out of the way.

 

before-and-after

I look a lot more awake after makeup, lulz.

Next, I primed my eyes, and took Puree into my crease with my Elf crease brush.  Then I blended it out with the Elf blending brush.

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Next, I took Candied Peach into my crease as well, and blended it out, using the same brushes I just mentioned.

Moving on to my lids, I dipped into Just Peachy, which is  GORGEOUS metallic, and used a flat lid brush to put that on the inner and outer parts of my lid.  After that, I took the shade Nectar into the center of my lid.  I went back with the blending brush and gently blended the crease and my lid to get rid of any harsh lines.  UGH, IT’S SO PRETTY!! ❤

lids

After that, I lined my lower lash line with Just Peachy and Nectar, to make it match my lid.  Then I did my winged liner using the Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen, and then I lined my water line with my NYC City Proof 24 Hour eyeliner pencil.

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For lashes, I used these eBay roulette lashes from Japan.  I LOVE these lashes.  I bought one pack to see if I liked them, and when I found out that I did, I ordered more.  They have an invisible lash band, and it’s awesome.

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Finally, on my lips I used this L.A. Girl Lip Paint in the shade Tango.  

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Annnnnd, this is the finished look!

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“I feel pretty, oh so pretty…”

There we go, a nice, peachy, shimmery look!  This palette is like the love of my life, I swear.  And I squealed uncontrollably when I found out that Too Faced was going to make this permanent like their other large palettes!!  Hope you all enjoyed this look, I’ll see you soon!! ❤

 

 

Vintage Glamour: Billie Holiday Shoot

I love vintage glamour.  I think it’s hard not to.  The old photos of singers and actresses, perfectly coiffed, flawless makeup, and that film noir lighting.  I’ve always wanted to do a shoot like that, and I hope to do more in the future whether it’s based off of someone else, or just me.  I used to be in a group called the Carolina D20 Girls, and while it wasn’t a cosplay group specifically, many of the women in there liked to cosplay.  We were always throwing shoot ideas around.  I suggested a vintage glamour shoot, you could choose to channel someone famous, or just get dressed up really nice in some kind of vintage attire.  I chose a Billie Holiday-inspired look.

I did this shoot back in 2013, and I’m pretty sure it was the second photo shoot I had ever done.  All of these images are by my friend Midday Enchantments Photography.

We had the shoot at an antique shop in Cameron Village, in downtown Raleigh.  This was probably the second costume I had ever made.  I love these photos so much, though.  I love that cosplay allows you to make fantasy a reality.  And when I look at these photos, I really do feel like I stepped back into time, where maybe I could have been a sultry songstress.  I do sing, and without tooting my own horn, I’m not too bad at it.  I usually keep it to myself, though.  But I felt like a singer was a nice choice for me, it’s like art within art.

My makeup was very simple, I didn’t know very much about how to do vintage-inspired looks.  Now that I’ve gotten more into makeup, I’ll have a better idea of how to create what I’m going for, the next time I do a shoot like this.  In fact, I kind of feel inspired to try out a vintage makeup look for funsies.  Perhaps there will be a blog post about that in the near future. 🙂

-See you next time!

Morrigan Aensland: Sensual Succubus

Morrigan

Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I was first introduced to Morrigan maybe 5 or 6 years ago, while playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  I loved the moves that she had, and the fact that she could turn her wings into weapons.  I also later watched Darkstalkers, and still need to play the games.  Once I got into cosplay, I knew she’d be an awesome character to dress as, and a challenge because of her wings.  Besides her charm and deadly allure, she’s also strong and confident.  She’s not really a heroine, but she’s not entirely a villain.  I might call her chaotic neutral.  At any rate, she’s fun, and she was a big departure for me, at that point.

I had a brief moment of anxiety when I made up my mind to finally cosplay Morrigan.  Her body and mine aren’t exactly the same, aside from being pretty boobtacular, lol.  I wondered being the size that I was, if I would really be able to pull off her outfit.  Then one day, I got an idea to modify her leotard.  I sketched it out, and I loved it.  Instead of wearing her classic leotard, I would wear a dress.  I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to what she wore, but I also wanted something that I felt would flatter me, and this was the result!

The dress is made out of a suede cloth fabric that has a leathery look to it. It was really easy to work with, and I’ll have to remember it in the future if I ever do anything else like this.  I used Simplicity pattern 2400 and modified it to be a slinky, high-cut dress, similar to her leotard.  For extra lift in the chest area, I sewed a push-up bra into the top of the dress, and replaced the straps it came with, with clear ones.  I ordered feather trim from ebay, and some open gloves from Amazon.

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A work-in-progress photo, circa 2014

The wings  came after that.  I did some hunting around online and found large sheets of craft foam, which was awesome.  I was pretty new to do cosplay at the time, so there were lots of materials I didn’t know about.  But I happened across that, and then found out the rolls could be bought at either Joann or Michaels, so I went out and bought a large roll of foam, and some smaller sheets for her head wings.  I’d found a tutorial online for how to make the head wings, but I ended up just kind of doing my own thing with them.  The head wings are made of 14 gauge wire that’s soldered to a metal headband.  The talons are made of sculpey, and there is vein detailing done with puff paint, on the back of both the head and back wings.  The frame for the back wings is made with 9 gauge wire.  When it came time to paint the wings, I was really inspired by some artwork I had come across of her, where she was in the sky and her wings appeared to have a purple and blue gradient look.  I really liked it so I tried to re-create it as the color-scheme for my wings, but the purple came out more pink-ish.  I still loved it though.  You can check out the WIP album for both sets of wings here.

I found purple tights at WeLoveColors, and made a bat stencil and  painted the tights myself.  That was really tricky!  I’ve since had to replace those tights with another pair that still needs to be painted.  I debuted Morrigan at Dragon Con in 2014, and about a month later, I did a photo shoot in her with Paul Cory Photography.  This was the first time I had truly gotten to see everything I had done, and I was incredibly happy!

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Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I wore her to Animazement in 2015 as well, and did an impromptu shoot with my friend Kim, of Midday Enchantments Photography.  You can see the rest of the photos from both shoots on my Facebook page.

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Photo by Midday Enchantments Photography

Currently, she’s “retired,” but not really.  I need to re-make the back wings.  But I am currently working on another version of Morrigan that I plan to debut in Spring 2017.  She’ll probably come out to play again someday, as I have really been wanting to do a night time shoot in her.  Until next time!!