Happy Halloween!

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I know it's 10pm (East coast time anyway), so it's a little late to be wishing anyone a happy anything, but still: I wish you lots of fun, candy, and great costumes (be they cute, funny, scary, slutty, or otherwise)! 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
 
 

Pumpkin Mutilation (aka Fall Fun Part II)

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So originally my 'Fall Fun' post was going to include the pictures that I took from my evening o pumpkin mutilation.What actually happened is that I wrote out the first post, realized it was a$$ long, and decided to chop them in 2. And now as I'm writing part two I'm thinking about how since I didn't write any posts in between these two the main page of my blog is still going to be covered in high(ish) quality pictures which will make it slower to load...

Dammit.

Oh well, to MOVE ON. A few nights ago I went all Martha Stewart on the pumpkin I bought from Larriland Farms and turned it into the first carved pumpkin I've ever done as an adult. With her own apartment and everything.

Here is the pumpkin after I've taken all the gooey bits out. I was surprised at how much this 1) grossed me out almost as much as when I cook turkey, and 2) yet still made me proud of my spoon scraping abilities.


I saw this really cool picture on Google of an example pumpkin that I tired to recreate. I was a little sad that even though it was the mouth I liked the most on the picture I found, mine did not turn out very much like it at all.

BUT - when it's all dark and lit up it doesn't look half bad now does it?


FYI: You can't tell, but this is my pumpkin sitting on the front stoop of my apartment building.

 Do you  see how devoted I was to my activity? I picked through, rinsed clean, and baked the pumpkin seeds to make myself a little late night snack.

They were pretty damn yummy if I say so myself. 

So there you go peeps, a close up and personal look of my Fall Fun of the moment. I highly recommend that you guys do this for yourselves, whether it be visiting your local farms or carving a pumpkin. I might even consider doing another to decorate my table for Thanksgiving :)

Fall Fun Part I - Apple picking!

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So apparently I'm having one of the most awesome Fall seasons this year because last Saturday I went apple picking! And there might, just might, have been some beets and pumpkins....

 Google it, it's somewhere in the depths of Maryland about an hour from DC. Even at that distance it's totally worth the drive because this farm is BEAUTIFUL!! On the way there we saw movie perfect Fall foliage. 


"How to Pick Apples" - because apparently none of us college edumacated women can reach up and pluck them from the trees?


 My friend Christine and I walking to find the perfect places to pick Granny Smith and Stayman apples.


I told you there would be beets didn't I?! I think I'm way too proud of this picture but whatever - BEETS!


 End of the day at the pumpkin patch, a little sweaty and tired but filled with that 'I've been fake-ass working in the sun'-spirit.

Stick around for more pictures of the pumpkin itself in 
Part II of Fall Fun!!

New Favorite Purple - MAC's Violet Pigment

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Well I meant to get this picture up much earlier, because I think I actually wore this at the beginning of last weekend, but you know how it goes - life never seems to go as you plan. The point of this post is to show off my favorite new purple, MAC's Violet. I know I'm the purple queen (my roommate teases me about it in fact) but I swear each one I have is in actuality different. Maybe not a lot different, but they're all different. 


What's so amazing about this one is as vibrant as it looks in this picture? That's how it looks in real life. It's not a matter of flash or nice angles; Violet is really just that amazing. I tend to use something like NYX's Jumbo Pencil in Purple underneath, just to give it something to stick to, but the color doesn't need the enhancing. It's almost like anything I do still has it look amazing. And since I got it at the CCO at Potomac Mills it's still in the old larger packaging, so I'm going to have this color for a LONG time. Thanks goodness (though for the rest of you out there Violet is a permanent color, so it shouldn't be going anywhere any time soon). 

If I remember correctly I probably used MAC's Soft Brown to soften the line in my crease and then my new shadow Graphology (which is LE) to deepen the outer V. I could have gone quite a bit darker and added in some black, but when I'm going out in the day I try to keep those tendencies under control (smile). Hope you enjoy!

FOTD - Halloween: The Monkey (10/21/10)

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So it all began with 'I heard your roommate does facepaint...."

I'm not going to list all of the products for this ridiculousness here, just because I used whatever I had on hand to enhance the look. The brown around the face was outlined with eyeliner, but then filled in with 3 different NYX Jumbo Pencils - brown, black, and white with a little bit of MAC's Cream Color Base in Bronze thrown in for good measure. The brown was laid down first and sealed by patting a matte brown shadow on top. 

All of the black lines on the face were first drawn in with pencil and then gone back over with e.l.f.'s cream liner in black. After some general finagling of the face and the outline, I took an e.l.f. angled liner brush and made rapid strokes all around the face to give the appearance of 'hair'. 

I've got to say that even though I've never done anything like this it was a wild experience and it actually turned out pretty good!

P.S. - My roommate's friend wants to be a monkey ballerina for Halloween. That's right - a monkey ballerina.


Mastering the Brow

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I am totally will to admit that I'm a brow fanatic. I'm very, very, VERY, picky about who does my brows. It's only been through a lot of trial and error that I finally have someone I love here in DC. I'm just of the opinion that how can you NOT care how your brows look? They frame your entire face! No matter how you fill them in or shape them, if you've gotten them whacked off by some hack it's going to look unfortunate.

My brows live by the 'less is more' policy. I don't do a lot to them and what I do do does not happen often. On an everyday basis on this blog what you will see are my threaded brows. No more, no less. About every month or so (it varies) I go see Rana at Eurospa Morgana and with almost no instruction I lay back and let her do her stuff. I met Rana for the first time mostly by accident because I was at Eurospa for a haircut. While we were waiting though we got to talking and I got to know her, her personality, and her own opinions about the importance of brows - and those are big parts of what I take into account when choosing an eyebrow lady. 

Also let me be clear on one thing, I do not by-the-books have my eyebrows done every month. Instead I like to give the hair time to grow back. I'm not saying I don't do some maintenance pluck along the way, but I like to give them a chance to kind of do their stuff; I don't want them threaded or waxed into nothingness. I can't say that I have any kind of scientific proof for this, but it's just my little mantra: If I let them grow now they won't stop growing later.

In the end, I think if I were to counsel anyone on their own brows there are 3 things I'd say:

1) Less is more
2) Your brows are sisters, not twins
3) If you're going to fill them in make sure you're choosing the right product and the right color

#2 is the hard one for me, because my own OCD would LOVE for my eyebrows to be twins. The reality is they're different. They're different and that's ok - on me and on every other person who has natural brows. I think it gives the face a more 'real' look, lol. Or at least that's what I tell myself whenever I have an attack of the 'WHY CAN'T YOU BE THE SAME' crazies. 

P.S. - The only real product I've ever used on my brows is this basic Maybelline Brow Gel. It's essentially clear mascara and if you're like me and have hair that likes to move around a bit, then I recommend you try it because it does a great job. (I think I also saw a Boots No. 7 product that's similar to this the last time I was at Target, but I'm not positive)

Torrid - 30% Off Everything!

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Sorry for the late notice, but if you're in the market Torrid is having a 30% off everything sale for their online merchandise that lasts through 11:59PM (PDT) today!


Photoshop Horrors - RueLaLa **Updated**

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Really RueLaLa? I know that this is a Yummie Tummie tank, a brand that seems to be designed to hold you in a bit, but do you really think I'm going to believe this girl took out a rib for your shoot?

If you're interested in seeing this for yourself, this picture is from the Yummie Tummie sale that RueLaLa is having today (10/18/10).

My new caveat to this has to do with the plus size model they're using for the line:
This girl looks MUCH more normal. Obviously the people behind the camera/computer know what good Photoshopping looks like so why do such a bad job on the other pictures? I'm not sure who this is worse for, the skinny girl who thinks she can't look like herself or the plus size girl who looks at the first picture and wishes she looked like that. This just sucks for everyone.

Halloween: Pink & Purple

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I'm not even going to pretend that this look was a short or easy process. It took a while, a lot of products, and a LOT of blending. The basic look consisted of the hot pink in the first 1/3 of the lid, dark purple on the outer 2/3 and using the Violet pigment to blend the line between the two. From there I used Heroic (black) to start shading and deepening the outer corner of the look, but I also continued to use the Grape Pigment to keep it purple in tone. MAC's Soft Brown is a matte skin tone color and shading with that around all the edges of shadow kept everything smooth and blended. After finishing off an extended cat eye with the liner I used silver glitter on the lower lash line and under the wing of the liner. 

I decided after it was all done that because of the dramatic nature of the event I'd wear the look for (Halloween) I'd try a couple different bold lip combos to test the effect. The nude lip was just for contrast, but actually turned out really well. Hope you enjoy!

PS - In case you were wondering my coworker and I are going to be Roller Derby girls for Halloween. Our costume colors are pink, purple, and black, thus the look below.



Products Used:
Eyes -
~~NYX Eyeshadow Base in ESB03 Skin Tone
~~NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Lilac
~~FaceFront Cosmetics Loose Mineral Eye Pigment in Little Gremlin
~~MAC Pigment in Grape
~~MAC Pigment in Violet
~~FaceFront Cosmetics Loose Mineral Eye Pigment in Heroic
~~Stila Eye Shadow in makalu (matte black)
MAC eyeshadow in Soft Brown
~~MAC eyeshadow for highlight, shimmery vanilla
~~MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
~~Sephora Kohl Pencil in 01 keep black
~~Sephora Eye Glitter in 07 gold
~~NYX Glitter Mania in Silver + FaceFront Cosmetics Design Gel
~~Rimmel Mascara Combo
~~NYX Fabulous Lashes in 101 Nirvana



Hot Pink Lips -
~~Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in 905D
~~NYX Lipliner Pencil in 804 Cabaret
~~NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in American Queen

Burgundy Lips -
~~MAC Lip Pencil in Nightmoth
~~Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in 919B
~~L'Oreal Hip Liptstick in Fearless

Nude Lips -
~~Max Factor Lipstick in Ms. Terious
~~NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Sweet Heart






Congrats Monica and Raymond! **pic heavy**

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Sunday was quite a wonderful day. Beautiful weather, good friends, and I was able to take part in the celebration for two fantastic people. My sorority sister Monica and her fiance Raymond were joined together during a really moving ceremony in Baltimore, MD at the Marriott. I'd never been to that particular spot before but the staff did a great job keeping everything moving and keeping the guests out of the way while the space was being turned over from the ceremony to the reception.


And since I'm a big fatty and always notice these types of things, I also have to tell you about the food. It's been a little while since I've attended a day wedding but if this is what people do now-a-days then I say bring 'em on! There was an omelet and Belgian waffle station, tortellini, two kinds of salad, and beef loin!! It was all delicious and I am not sorry to say that I definitely pigged out a bit - it was completely worth it. How often do you get the chance for Belgian waffles AND cheesy tortellini? Not often enough I tell you!



Now on to what I was wearing. It's a Fatih21 dress and the black skirt on the bottom was kind of 'bandage' style and clung to everything so Spanx was a must. The top part of the dress was a looser fitted almost kimono style top done in a blue and black pattern. I've paired it with heels from some random place in DC that I got for $15 :)


And of course no day could be complete without a makeup close up right?


I like to call this my everyday amplified because this kind of bronze-y gold look is super simple to do and complements almost every outfit. Since on Sunday I was wearing the black/blue dress and it was a day wedding I didn't want to pull out anything too over the top and instead went with this. 


At the base of the look is MAC Cream Color Base in Bronze all over the lid and blended out into the crease. On top of that I put a shimmery gold color, MAC's Honey Lust to seal the cream and prevent creasing. I took a fluffier brush and deepened the crease with MAC's Antiqued and finally darkened the outer corner with MAC's Beauty Marked. It's not that hard to do you just have to make sure to keep the brush moving and use small circles to push the shadow where you want - and also have a skin tone color like MAC's Soft Brown to clean up any mistakes :)


Well I hope you liked thisextra- long post and if you have any questions about anything please don't hesitate to send me an email or FB message!!



Purple & Blue Cut Crease **FINAL**

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Hey Everyone!! Sorry it took me a bit to post, but I finally got the purple & blue cut crease look to come out (mostly) the way I envisioned. I'm not even going to pretend that this wasn't inspired by my membership in Theta Nu Xi, because it was. I love the colors together and while they're not quite true to the real Carolina Blue and Lavender it makes me happy just the same.

I'm going to go into a bit more detail with the description here because I almost feel like the looks is deceptively complicated. I used the white eyeshadow base blended onto the lid to prevent creasing and to help all the colors pop. I then used the MAC eye liner pencil all across my lid, filling in and defining where the purple color was going to go. This is a very important step in my case because my lids have a deep fold and colors can move pretty easily - without using this to draw the purple boundary slightly under where my crease ends when my eye is open, the purple color would have moved. After the liner was on my lid I sealed it with the UD shadow and went straight on to using Flipside to draw the general crease shape for the blue shadows. This was a gradual process of drawing the line and using my pinky finger to blend it out towards my brow bone. To seal off that I used a combination of the NYX Irisies and UD's Alice. Alice was mostly used just on the boundary between my crease and brow bone, to blend out the matte NYX color. The NYX  blue was the vibrant hue I was looking for so even though I love Alice as a color I didn't want the shimmer of that shadow to detract from the look. I used some deep blue just along the crease line as well, to just ever so slightly make the look a little smokier.

Finally I used Idol Eyes, a shimmery silver color, along the brow bone, highlighting the arch and blending out the blue some more. I used the same pencil/shadow combinations along the lower lash line and finally added some lavender-ish colored MAC eyeshadow to the inner corner to make the look pop. I kept the liner simple on the upper lash line and just lined my water and tight lines to emphasize the whole thing. 

If you have any questions let me know but I hope you like the way it turned out!

Products Used:
--NYX eyeshadow base in ESB01 White
--MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Designer Purple
--UD 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Flipside
--UD Alice in Wonderland Palette Underland (purple)
--NYX Single Eyeshadow in Irises
--UD Alice in Wonderland Palette Alice (shimmery light blue)
--MAC Eyeshadow in Idol Eyes
--MAC Eyeshadow in Deep Truth
--MAC Pressed Pigment in some kind of lavender/lilac shimmer purple
--MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
--Sephora Waterproof Kohl Pencil in 01 keep black
--Rimmel Lycra Lash Extender in 01 Black
--Rimmel Max Volume Flash in 003 Extreme Black
--Lips - 1) NYX Jumbo Lip Pencil in Iced Coffee 2) NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Sweet Heart

City Chic for the U.S. Coming Soon!

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Lately I've been browsing the internet and reading a bunch of different blogs to read more about the different plus size clothing options and I'm really excited to introduce one I want to try - City Chic. It's an Australian retailer that ships to the U.S. and from the pictures I've been seeing online they have some very cute stuff. I went by their website today to more seriously contemplate buying something and found out that in little less than a month they're relaunching their site with a new focus on reaching out to us customers in the U.S.!! Woohoo!

Even better is that if you subscribe to their mailing list they'll send you a coupon for 30% off and free shipping when it debuts! I can't wait!

B.G.D. IV: The Rise and Fall of the Empire (Waist)

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I have a strong love and hate relationship for empire waisted garments. At their best they help define a woman's shape and nicely disguise any problem areas; at their worst they seem to be a slap you in the face billboard showing that a woman does not know her size.

[[shudder]]

Let me start by saying one thing to the perpetrators of this fashion crime: I sympathize with your plight. I do. I know it's hard to be a woman with larger boobs on a smaller frame, but is this really the best that we can do? Wear empire waisted garments where the line either goes across or above our chest?



  Please see an example of this crime against nature at 1:28

This does not make you look good! You know that section in the back of Glamour magazine, the Fashion Do's & Don'ts? Ladies this is a HUGE fashion don't! When you put this mess on and walk around acting cute all it does it make me think you got dressed in the dark! Don't try and tell me that you think it fits. It doesn't. I know that, you know that, the world knows that. A properly fitting empire waist will have a line that fits under the bustline. No ifs, ands, or buts - that's what the garment is made to do. Emphasize the smallest part of the woman, traditionally right underneath the bust, while releasing looser fabric beneath that to help slenderize the rest of the body.

There are some wonderful shirts and dresses made with this shape and us bigger women should be excited the option exists. DON'T ABUSE THE PRIVILEGE. I might not be Stacy or Clinton, I might not have a 'fashion faerie' who can wave her little arm and fix your sins, but do you know how much willpower it takes for me not to walk up and hit you?! 

A lot. And I don't know how much longer I'll have the strength to continue.

Foundation's Foundation

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I am very picky about my foundation. There's really no other way to say that. I think that other than your skin care routine, nothing can ruin a good makeup attempt like bad foundation. Demarcation lines, ashyness, premature fading  - it's all pretty abysmal if you've gone to the trouble of creating an overall look to present to the world. Thus when I run out of one foundation I always like to take another look at what's available; no matter the year or season, there's going to be at least one or two prominent makeup brands that have a new formula for you to play with.

The biggest deterrent to this I've found? Sales assistants. Nice or rude, their help always seems to come with a downside. If they're rude I don't want anything to do with the product (please don't make me feel like I'm wasting your time when this is your job), and if they're nice I end feeling bad when I ask for a sample instead of buying anything right then. But ladies let me tell you - ASK FOR A SAMPLE. It can be uncomfortable at first if you've never done it before, but it's an invaluable skill to learn. Asking for a sample lets you take it home, try it on, and - the most important - wear it for a day or two and see how your face responds. Because the truth is you'll never know how your face will react with a particular product until you take it for a test drive; as a makeup wearer you want to know if the color will change as the day goes on and it mixes with the natural oils on your face, if the coverage is actually what you need it to be, if the color itself even has the correct undertone to prevent any unsightly lines. It's all only really visible in natural light after a few hours, so always ask for a sample and take it home. I've never had the effort not go rewarded. 

After I finished up my MAC Studio Fix Liquid (which I like and recommend if you're looking for full coverage), I decided to step out of my box and try something which means one thing: a trip to Sephora! They always have the best variety and if after sampling I still end up buying something that doesn't work the store has a great return policy. I did my research before hand, reading up online, seeing swatches - the whole nine yards. After my disappointment with Makeup Forever's HD Foundation a few years ago I knew that it whatever I picked would have to be better than just its hype. I wanted to love Laura Mercier's creme foundation - I really did. It had phenomenal coverage and the texture was divine; unfortunately nothing could change the fact that the color had too much of a beige/pink undertone for it to work. I got a sample of it anyway, but it just confirmed what I could see in the store.  My next two contenders were the NARS Sheer Matte and the new MAC Pro Longwear Foundation. I'd heard good things about both but NARS was about $15 more expensive. I tried them out in store, even bought both of them, because I wanted to give each a week to see how they performed. Initially I leaned towards the MAC Pro because of the coverage it gave me (medium to full) and the way it did really seem to last all day (its promos say that it's supposed to last up 15hrs). What did NARS have? Sheer to medium coverage which isn't perfect for someone with acne scars and INCREDIBLE tone matching. I mean, I have never had a foundation that blended so perfectly from my face to my neck, with absolutely no issue even at the end of the day. Plus there's all this hooplah about oil control and Vitamin C and how it's supposedly going to help my skin over time; that's nice and all, but I needed coverage on a bad day, ok? Everything else is gravy. Nice gravy don't get me wrong - but gravy just the same. 

Ultimately I did what every good makeup girl should do, I tried, changed my routine, adapted and tried again. I found that using the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer under my NARS gave me the long lasting coverage I needed while letting my skin breathe everywhere else. I'm having my cake and eating too because on the left side of my face and forward where I don't break out as much the NARS foundation is on in sheer amounts just to even out the skin tone, but on the right side of my face I'm able to build it up with the MAC concealer so that everything looks as smooth and even as possible. A great result to a kind of complicated journey.

But in the end, what do I want you to take from this? Don't settle and don't given in to pressure - you know what works for your skin, life, and routine. Stick to your guns and try new things but stay true to that 'foundation' for foundation. You'll end up much happier with less  money wasted.

Beauty Q&A: Skin

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Q: So I'm really tired of having these bumps all over my face, most particularly along the jaw line/edge of my face (does that make sense?). Anyways, I am looking for something that helps. I think it probably does not help that I always rest my head in my hand when I'm bored so I'm trying to stop that but it really sucks when i have to worry about these stupid bumps on the perimeter of my face.
I use the St. Ives Apricot Scrub in the shower right now and Neutrogena moisturizer.

[Before attempting to answer this question I asked some follow up inquiries of my own, the first one being what types of bumps they were- the white heads you get with zits, blackheads, or the white bumps that are under skin can't be squeezed (milia)? Secondly I asked if the scrub was the only cleanser used. Lastly I needed to know what type of skin she had: dry, normal, combination, oily. Answers: All of the above, yes it was the only cleanser, and combination skin.]

A: First things first- an exfoliating cleanser should only be used max 3-4 times a week, especially when it's something like that St. Ives on where the actual particles themselves are on the bigger side. A product like this should be used in addition to a regular cleanser, not on its own.

With combination skin you're going to have to be careful with any type of cleanser - you'll want to treat the acne without drying out the rest of your face. Neutrogena has a gentle cream cleanser, its Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash, that has ingredients to prevent irritation and redness. It also has 2% salicylic acid to treat any existing acne and I find it a nice soothing alternative to some of the other products I use on my face.

Still there could be other reasons. As you say you're aware that sometimes you rest your face on your hands so try to cut back on that. Remember to wash your pillow cases often, check where your phone rests against your face when you use it and try not to pick! That's the hardest for me, because I admit I'm a picker, so at the very least make sure your hands are completely clean and that whatever acne you're looking to excise is ready for it; if you pick at it too early you can actually make it worse and possibly leave a scar.

Finally you might also want to consider looking into a gentler exfoliant that could work better on your skin. There are ones you can try that have finer grains or no even no grains at all - chemical exfoliants are very popular with some people. 

The idea is to gently cleanse the skin morning and evening, then in addition to that use an exfoliator/mask a few times a week. You don't have to use the same thing morning and night (I don't) but watching your skin and seeing how it reacts is what's important. 

For more information here's a great article on WebMD  about the care of acne prone skin and one from Beauty Advice on the types/uses of exfoliators.

Cutting the Crease

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Two things I learned from this experiment - creating a cut crease look isn't as hard as I initially thought and trials are always a good thing. Because if I'd done this on two eyes I would have be annoyed as it's not quite right and for the time it took to do one, two 'not quite rights' might have sent me over the edge.

I'd had the idea to create an even bolder version of my TNX look for some time but I hadn't quite worked out how I wanted that to look. Finally I was looking at a video from YouTube's Queen of Blending and it occurred to me that doing something bright, something that just incorporated all the colors I liked regardless of what 'should' go together, would be exactly what I wanted.

I know the product list look like a lot, but once I tallied up everything I'd dabbled in and patted here or there (since I was just winging it) it was kind of more than usual. I can say that I want the final product to not involve so much - we'll see how that goes....

Products Used:
--NYX eyeshadow base in ESB01 White
--NYX Jumbo Pencil in Lavender
--UD 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Flipside
--UD Alice in Wonderland Palette Underland (purple)
--NYX Single Eyeshadow in Irises
--UD Alice in Wonderland Palette Alice (shimmery light blue)
--NYX Single Eyeshadow in Opal
--UD Alice in Wonderland Palette in White Rabbit (shimmery white)
--MAC Eyeshadow in Deep Truth
--MAC Pressed Pigment in some kind of lavender/lilac shimmer purple
--Stila Smudge Pot in Ultra Violet
--Sephora Waterproof Kohl Pencil in 01 keep black
--Rimmel Lycra Lash Extender in 01 Black
--Rimmel Max Volume Flash in 003 Extreme Black