Making Make-Up, part two.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Since the wordy-bit introduction was in the last post, I’ll get straight to the point! All of these mica powders were bought from Coastal Scents, who have nothing to do with this post other than selling me the samples.

I used the Semi Matte and the Metallic Pearl Honey Tan as a base. The Semi Matte works as a good primer/filler to even out skin-tone, and the Metallic Pearl Honey Tan is perfect for a daytime shimmery eyeshadow.

Over this, I tried the red/pinks in batches of three. All were applied with a blender brush.

First batch, left to right: Cerise Flame, Bordeaux, Blue Claret Pearl.

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Cerise Flambe came out very bright reddish and shimmery; Bordeaux looked like a deep pink/purple and also pretty shimmery; and the Blue Claret Pearl seems like a great warm semi-matte color for adding depth and shade to any look.

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(Side story: when I blended them together after this, it turned into a perfect shade for a fake fresh bruise. Amateur make-up artists take note!)

Second batch, left to right: Roussillon, Sienna, Satin Rouge.

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Roussillon turned out to be a bright, burnt, shimmery coppery red; the Sienna was also very shimmery and on the pinkish side of red; and Satin Rouge was a semi-matte darker reddish, which I’ll primarily use for shading warm eyeshadow color combos (and possibly lipsticks, etc).

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(This one did not look like a bruise when blended together, in case you were wondering. It was too bright and shimmery.)

For the last set, I did a complete “look”; I still used the same base of Semi Matte and Metallic Pearl Honey Tan, and then used Copper over the lid. I used Blackstar Red along the upper lashes, applied with thin liner brush.

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The Copper is really warm, kind of on the reddish side of orange. The Blackstar Red is a nice deep purple.

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That’s all of the micas!

I hope this was helpful if you’re considering getting any of these colors, or inspiring if you’re considering making your own eyeshadows, or at least entertaining if none of the above apply to you!

I’ll be using these in various experiments and looks in the future, so keep a lookout for those at some point.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

GeGi.

Making Make-Up, part one.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

About a year or so ago, I started down the path of making my own skin and hair care products. It’s been a fulfilling and addictive habit, and has led to the natural progression of wanting to make my own make-up. If I’m going to make the effort of keeping everything I clean and moisturize with fairly healthy for my body, then it only makes sense to do the same with make-up!

That said, I admit I don’t go to the same lengths as other people with keeping everything natural. I like what I like, and I’m okay with a little compromise once in a while. I figure I still have a net benefit, because most of the things I’m using really are great, I know exactly what’s in everything, and there aren’t any extra weird chemical ingredients.

Also, this post is in no way sponsored by anyone, nor am I receiving any compensation for my opinions, nor am I endorsing anything or anyone. This is just a review based on my perception. Okay, disclaimers over!

I recently make an order of mica powder (and a couple iron oxides, and 10 gram jars with sifters) from Coastal Scents. I’m planning on using them for color in basically everything: eyeshadow, lipstick, nail polish, blush, etc. I LOVE shimmer in my make-up, so mica powders are perfect for me. If I’m going for a neutral look, I tend to just not wear anything; make-up for me is to show off.

I figured I’d review the mica powders a little, in case any of you were curious about some of the colors Coastal Scents have to offer. The ones I got are all made with just mica and iron oxide, none of the other ingredients, and they are all marked as safe for use around eyes, lips, skin, and nails. I mostly ordered samples of the different shades of reddish-pinkish colors, because I wanted to compare them.

I love using reds and coppers to bring out the green in my irises. My eyes are kind of a medium blue-green with yellow flecks; I think of peacock feathers when I look at them closely. And, obviously, I have light pinkish skin; the kind that burns in sunlight and never really tans. Kinda like a vampire, but warm-blooded.

Part one of these posts will be unpacking the box, and on Friday part two will be a sample around my eye.

Let’s begin…

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…with all the colors!

These are one swipe with a make-up brush out the sample bag, no fillers or primers.

From left to right, there is:

Cosmetic Iron Oxide Red (the only one without mica powder).

Blackstar Red.

Copper.

Metallic Pearl Honey Tan.

Blue Claret Pearl.

Bordeaux.

Cerise Flambe.

Roussillon.

Sienna.

Satin Rouge.

If you want to see any of these closer up, just leave me a comment. Otherwise, I’ll skip posting a billionty pictures. I’ll talk a little more about my impressions of each of these in the next post.

I also got Semi-Matte, which is a mostly translucent plain mica powder. I used it to show the size of the sample bags from Coastal Scents:

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They gave me very generous samples; even the smallest amount was enough to fill a 10 gram jar with a sifter (the average size of storebought loose eyeshadow powder that last approximatly forever). Most of the bags had almost 20 grams, enough to fill the jar twice.

With the powders and the box of 25 jars, they also gave me a free sample of their African Black Soap; also a generous size, though I haven’t actually tried it yet.

Alright, that’s everything for this half. My next post on Friday will show them applied around my eye, so you can get a better idea of what they’re like to use. If you want more pictures of them after that, just ask me in the comments!

Love,

GeGi.

Pass The Tissues, Please…

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Third Star is one of the most beautiful movies about death and friendship and life I’ve ever seen. The Welsh film is directed by Hattie Dalton and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Burke, J.J. Feild, and Adam Roberson.

The basic story is that four friends are taking one last trip to Barafundle Bay before one of their number — James, played by Benedict Cumberbatch — dies of cancer. He’s just celebrated his 29th birthday, and everyone knows he won’t be around for another.

They take a special cross-country wheeled chair, because he’s too weak to walk the several day journey, and they take his medications and morphine and some special things like a tree one of them grew from seed and wants to plant at the Bay.

The film progresses a little like a road-trip movie — without the car — with montages of travel across the beautiful Pembrokeshire landscape breaking up each segment of events; a fight at a pub, an encounter with a beachcomber, and so on.

The interactions between the characters really play off perfectly as a group of friends who’ve known each other forever; they joke, they fight, they tease, they carry on. Nothing feels forced or overdone, it all seems genuine. I love seeing relationships done right in movies!

The moments of each scene in Third Star really counterpoint each other well, too. As in real life, the tragic parts mix and blend with humor. Life continues in the face of sadness, and there are absurdities happening even when it feels like nothing will ever be funny again. Death and dying bring out the whole gambit of emotions, from anger to sorrow to laughter. So it goes.

I’ve gone through losing my best friend at too early an age. It was under entirely different circumstances, but some things are true no matter what the trappings. I could understand what they were feeling in this film, because I’ve been to a similar place. The most beautiful part of Third Star to me were how they were able to accurately capture that surreal time in life when a loved one is dying and surrounded by friends.

This is a quiet and understated sort of story, which is exactly as it should be. It’s showing intimate things, both death and friendship, and the strain and relation those things have on those experiencing them. This film feels honest. There’s nothing noble about what these people are going through, but there’s nothing ordinary about it either. It’s real and it’s what happens, the good and the bad and the strange.

This story really hit home for me, especially right at the end. Yet I didn’t find it to be sad or depressing. I did cry, quite a bit, but it was good tears. It was kind of… death affirming, I suppose, though that might not be quite what I mean.

You’ll have to watch it to find out.

(And yes, the title is a Peter Pan reference.)

Love,

GeGi.

Shaggy Fur Pelt, Part Two.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Remember yesterday, when I said I’d get before and after pictures when I cut my hair? Well, consider yesterday’s after picture as today’s before picture, because I forgot. It happens…

Anyway, here’s my new haircut!

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Basically I trimmed the back, nearly shaved the sides, and thinned the top.This has kind of become my usual haircut; it’s a nice compromise where I have the freedom/sensitivity of shaved on the sides, yet enough to play with on the top/front, and the back can be ignored. That pretty much takes care of all my needs, hair-wise.

The best part was that the comb-and-razor combo had the side benefit getting all the loose/cut hair out of the still-attached hair right away. When I showered off afterwards, there was no need to the usual five (or so) passes of scrubbing to get all the little bits of loose hair out, because they were already gone!

Next up, I’ll be looking into dyeing my hair again. It’s been awhile, so clearly I’m overdue. I’m thinking there will be strawberry blonde highlights involved. Fun fact: I was born with strawberry blonde hair, which darkened into what you see now.

Love,

GeGi.

Shaggy Fur Pelt On My Head In Summer.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Living in the tropics. Having thick fast-growing hair. Preferring short styles. Getting overheated easily. Being really grumpy whenever overheated. Not having much money. Enjoying DIY.

Why am I listing all these things?

Well, for a start, they are all true about me.

Together, they mean I need an inexpensive way to frequently trim my hair.

I used to just get those buzzer-clipper things that you plug in and use to shave all the hair off. But I got bored with that because I like having personality to my hair, a style I can play with or not as I choose. My hair is a reflection of my mood and identity; it’s one of the ways I can reinvent myself when I need a change. At the same time, if I don’t keep it short, it tries to eat my soul and take over my life. Seriously, just ask my best friend — she’ll vouch.

Basically, I want SOME hair, just not a lot of it. And I want it to look good.

I started using scissors on myself; but with the kind of short punk hairstyles I like, it was time consuming and annoying. I could never get it just how I wanted it.

I did some research and discovered that a razor would give me the result I was looking for.

I started looking into the razor-comb things as a possible solution. It seemed like a good fit: it would take less time than scissors, and give more texture and layers than the buzzers. It also seemed be relatively easy to do on myself.

I figured I’d get a cheap version that allowed for replaceable razor blades, since I lot of tips and complaints had to do with needing to use a sharp blade. But it still came to about $10 for the comb and replacement blades online, and I wanted to be sure I’d like the result before I spent the money.

Then I had a very simple and brilliant idea, based on items I ALREADY had:

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I took a plastic comb, a single-edged razor blade, and masking tape, and made the obvious combination:

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Laying the blade along the teeth of the comb and taking a bit of the tape to hold it all in place creates a similar effect as the cheap razor-combs. Not quite though, because the blade is exposed on one side, so you have to be a little more careful.

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Ta-da! I can adjust the length of the teeth guarding the blade by repositioning the razor on the comb, and I can take the whole thing apart to wash it when I’m done.

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I gave it a test, and it works fine for what I wanted. The cut hair gets a little stuck between the comb and the razor, but that’s not an issue at all to pull out as I work it.

I didn’t take a “before” picture because I didn’t think about turning this into a post until I saw how well it worked, which meant I was already done. But here’s what my hair looks like “after”:

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Basically, just imagine all the hair being about the length and shagginess of the stuff up top now. The layered trimming of the lower back part was done with this contraption in about ten minutes, including sweeping the floor after. Maybe less time. Oh, and that little patch at the nape that looks shaved? It isn’t, that’s just how my hair grows naturally.

I’ll get around to experimenting more with length and style at a later date (and remember to take pictures before AND after, too!). But for now, I’ve saved $10, and I know that I can quickly and easily keep my hair thinned and trimmed enough to not feel like a shaggy fur pelt on my head in the summer. And that is always a win.

Love,

GeGi.

Dear Cyber-friends,

Thanks for following my blog.
I’ll post more when I have the energy.

In the meantime, here’s a photo I took of the view at my ‘office’ — the B&B where I do housekeeping. Please don’t hate me for it!

Love,
GeGi.

Bacon!!!

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Dear Cyber-Friends,

Bacon is delicious.

Home-cured, home-made, smoked bacon from home-grown, GMO-free, organic pigs is just…the best thing ever. Seriously.

So it’s obvious I had to use it in a recipe.

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This has become my go-to recipe book for ideas of the quick and easy. I’ve already shared one of my standard recipes in this post, so now it’s time for another one: Drop Biscuits.

There’s a couple variations, but all use the same proportions of ingredients as a base, so it’s easy to mix-and-match what you want. The biscuits are a yummy snack if you’re in the mood for something more savory than a muffin, and they are a great accompaniment for soups and salads. I’ve even used them to make the most awesome mini tuna melt sliders!

I made the Bacon Biscuits this time, but since the variations are so similar and easy, I’ll give you them all at once and you can experiment as you like!

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4 Eggs

1/4 cup Bacon Drippings (Non-Bacon version: same amount of Butter or Coconut Oil.)

(Non-Bacon version: 1/4 cup Honey or Raw Sugar. This is left out for the Bacon and the Cheese versions, but I added about 1 tablespoon anyway, just because I like them with a hint of sweetness. For plain biscuits, I still add a little less than the 1/4 cup, because I don’t want them overly sweet.)

1/4 teaspoon Salt

(Non-Bacon version: for Cheese Biscuits add 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder. I would also recommend for ANY version adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, and maybe a dash or two of parley flakes, and whatever else you felt like.)

1/3 cup Coconut Flour

1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

and of course, 6-8 strips Crisp Bacon, Crumbled. (Non-Bacon version: leave out, or replace with 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded, for Cheese Biscuits.)

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To begin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit because this is going to go fast.

Combine the eggs, bacon drippings, salt, garlic powder, and raw sugar, and beat it with a whisk until smooth.

Pro Tip: I’ve found that hand-whisking the eggs in coconut flour recipes really helps end result be more fluffy, since there’s no gluten to do that job and the baking powder doesn’t seem to have quite the same effect alone.

Then add the coconut flour and baking powder, and beat it more with the whisk until blended. Add the bacon crumbles and fold together with a spoon.

Drop fluffy spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet (I used coconut oil).

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They should look something like this. The yellowness comes from yolks of our farm eggs, because our chickens get to feast on grasses and weeds.

Bake for 14-15 minutes. I did 15, but probably would have been fine with less time. Sometimes I need more. It just depends, so go low and check them before you take them out. You can always add more time if you need to.

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Yum!

They’re delicious fresh and hot from the oven, or cooled down. They’re even great when they’re cold from the fridge; and if you have leftovers, that’s where you’ll want to keep them. The high egg content means they spoil quickly on the counter, but they keep just fine for several days when refrigerated. I haven’t tried freezing them yet — since I tend to eat them all before they’d get there — but if you do try please let me know how it works out!

Happy eating, and enjoy your food!

Love,

Gegi.

Fictional Therapist Fail.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

I just finished watching a surreal strange Swedish film call Kill Your Darlings (2006).

It follows three main storylines:

The celebrity therapist and hangers-on, who can’t seem to stand up for himself or make his 14 year old daughter a priority.

The Swedish writer/photographer in L.A. who has an idea but no plot, with a woman who convinces him to take a road trip and turns out to be an insane and dangerous former patient of the therapist.

The somewhat shady and armed man who is hired to drive two suicidal non-celebrity patients to Las Vegas to meet with the therapist who had been treating them.

Though the movie beings and ends with the writer, though the therapist was the comment element, by far my favorite storyline was the last.

The first was kind of sleazy and sad, overdone but realistic. The second was uncomfortable and a little horrifying — as it should be — and all the more so when remembered that it had been inspired by something that had actually happened to the writer/director of the movie. But the third storyline was brilliant. It was understated and surreal and hilarious in subtle twisted way, and brought the whole movie a sense of heart and growth.

Julie Benz, Fares Fares, and Alexander Skarsgard.

There are so many moments in this film that would never have existed if it had been a “Hollywood” movie. This is not a loud, in-your-face, over the top kind of movie. The cringe-worthy moments are raw and honest. The funny moments are raw and honest, too. There’s a stripped-down feel to the whole thing. It doesn’t play out in a predictable way. The storytellers don’t give you every exposition and backstory; they show you people and situations, and allow you to fill those details yourself.

Kill Your Darlings (2006) is certainly not going to be for everyone. But if you are open to the weirdness and charm of a slightly disturbing tale, I suggest you should give it a chance.

Love,

Gegi.

Speaking Of…

Dear Cyber-Friends,

I finished a couple more oil paintings today, and thought I’d share them with you.

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I’m still toying around with a name for this one… it’ll have something to do with watching shooting starts in a grassy field on summer evening, because that’s the feeling it conjures up for me.

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This one I’m calling “I Open My Heart.”

It’s the phrase I thought of when I decided it was done, which is how I usually name my paintings. It didn’t photography very well, unfortunately, but when I look at it in person, for some reason I think of the last line of a movie I watched once:

“Knowing love, I can allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and to face all things with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.”

Love,

Gegi.