free fridays: july favorites

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This week’s Free Friday is all about a few of my favorite things! Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, both of which I would class as very enjoyable things. I mean, kittens. But since I don’t regularly swan around scenic mountaintops, here are some things that are somewhat more relevant to my actual life this month. (Links to reviews where I have them.)

1. Darling Clandestine EVERYTHING.

For the longest time, I had no interest in Darling Clandestine. It was a sort of willful ignorance, the same kind I apply to BPAL, though for different reasons. But after I was gifted some DC a few months back, the floodgates opened and I’ve been having a bit of a torrid love affair with the company since. I’ve liked or loved nearly everything I’ve tried, and the scents are just interesting – even the ones I don’t love, I can appreciate. I’ve been buying up bitsies, solids, and the occasional full bottle at a fairly disturbing clip – I went from having zero DC to having four gifted bottles/bitsies to owning 49 51 products in 35 different scents. In less than 3 months.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I don’t think I’ve out-and-out disliked anything I’ve tried yet (well… I kinda hated Carny Wedding), but my favorites are La La La, All Right (which is in my top 10 favorites scents ever, bar none), Cloudswing, Fisticuffs, Hellbender, Pyrotechnik, Tapadero, and Harpy.

2. Silk Naturals Sea Breeze and Zap.

Two lip products I’ve been using a lot this month are both from Silk Naturals – the Sea Breeze slick stick and Zap lipstick. Sea Breeze is a semi-sheer bright coral, and Zap is an opaque orange-red. The slick stick formula is smooth and a little glossy and doesn’t dry out my lips, and the lipsticks are creamy and pigmented. I also love the slim little tubes that keep me from giving myself Joker face if I try to apply without a mirror.

I do wish there were more shimmer-less colors, but that’s just me being boring and anti-glitter-mouth.

P.S. No review yet, but I’ll have a post about these soon!

3 & 4: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary Mermaid and Darling Girl Mermaid’s Dream.

Mermaid stuff!

The star of MDA’s small lineup for me (so far – I have but haven’t tested out samples of the new cologne oils), Mermaid is a gorgeous, sweet, summery floral that took me completely by surprise. If you’ve read my blog at all, you’ll know that I am not a floral perfume person – but I want to bathe in this. I’ve got a solid to carry around with me, but a bottle of the oil is high on my wish list and will probably find its way into this month’s beauty/perfume budget.

(Edit: MDA is having a flash sale today – 20% off with the code Lammas14 – soooo I just crossed that bottle off my wishlist. Perfect timing!)

And then there is Mermaid’s Dream. One of Darling Girl‘s Soft Focus blushes, Mermaid’s Dream is a beautiful vibrant-but-not-unwieldy strawberry red kind of color that I’ve been loving the hell out of. It actually pairs very well with Silk Naturals Zap, and I’ve been wearing them together a lot lately.

5. Cherries!

Cherry season is winding down now, and I’ve been popping them like candy while I have the chance. Cherries are my favorite fruit and several pounds a week have been making their way into our kitchen. Raniers are my favorite for snacking, but I won’t kick regular old Bings out of bed either – and they’re my choice for one of my favorite smoothies, which is:

Soymilk + a frozen banana + frozen cherries + a scoop of maple almond butter + vanilla protein powder (pea protein is my drug of choice) = delicious cherry pie protein smoothie.

6. Rhett Miller’s “The Instigator.”

This album came out the year after I graduated from high school (2002, what the actual fuck), and I listened to it constantly back then. I’ve enjoyed all of his subsequent releases, and of course his stuff with The Old 97’s (saw them live a few years ago, highly recommend!), but The Instigator remains my favorite. I haven’t listened to it in quite a while, but I came back to it recently when I needed something to help me power through some freelance work, and it’s been in near-constant rotation since.

7. New books!

This month I acquired three new books/graphic novels: “Landline” by Rainbow Rowell, “Seconds” by Byan Lee O’Malley, and “Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll. I read the first two during the 4-ish days I was without my laptop last week (it had to spend some time at the Apple store for repairs), and really enjoyed both.

I’ve loved everything Rainbow Rowell has written – Eleanor & Park and Fangirl most of all. Landline is a bit of a departure – it’s not YA, for one, and it’s a smaller, more focused story. There are light and humorous moments, but the overall tone is fairly bleak and tinged with desperate soul-searching and regret. It lacks the youthful yearning and emotional gut punch of Eleanor & Park, and it’s not as sweet and sad and funny as Fangirl, but it is quite enjoyable in its own right, and Rainbow is an author I’ll follow anywhere.

Seconds is a new graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley (of Scott Pilgrim fame, but I also really liked Lost at Sea), about a chef named Katie who has a bad day… and then gets the ability to undo it. Sounds great, until she keeps undoing it and undoing it and undoing it until she basically undoes herself and everyone else into a terrible life and, oh, kinda breaks the universe. The story is solid and compelling, the art is adorable, there’s a stealth Buffy reference – no complaints here.

I haven’t had the chance to read Through the Woods yet, but I’ve been a fan of Emily Carroll’s work for a long time – it’s beautiful and haunting and terribly creepifying. Flipping through the graphic novel reveals more of the same, so I’m excited to sit down with that… in the middle of the day… so I don’t have nightmares.

8. Pretty Little Liars!

I’m not even ashamed to admit how much I love this hot mess of a show. It’s absolutely, unabashedly cuckoo bananas – it really embraces the cray, and I appreciate that. Every Tuesday night I kick my fiance out of the living room (or sometimes hop on over to my BFF’s house for PLL + chinese food) to enjoy an hour of murderstalking, inapproriate relationship drama, and outfits that had to have been chosen in the dark.

FYI, Hanna is my favorite Liar. She is a magical unicorn. So if you are also a fan you will understand why I find this most recent turn of events very upsetting. Rosewood PA (which is supposed to be located quite close to where I live, actually) has a problem with grown-ass men, and that problem is that they aren’t all currently in jail.

Since I get super obsessed with the shows that I like, I’m always looking for recaps and podcasts about them. My favorites for PLL are the recaps from Forever Young Adult and After Ellen, and the podcasts Bros Watch PLL Too and Pretty Little Recaps.

So there you have it! What were you loving in July?

belated darling girl haul swatches

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dg_jars2I actually received this probably two weeks ago now, but am just now getting around to posting about it. I got distracted by perfume. (I am always distracted by perfume.)

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Swatched over DG Primped & Primed, except for Bodice Ripper and the blushes.

Chicka Chicka Boom: Pale golden champagne with soft pink glow and in certain lighting a green shift.

A really pretty, really sparkly light rose gold. On an angle it looks more brown, but in most lights it’s got a very rosy pink sheen.

Bodice Ripper: Soft dirtied plum, more on the plummy side than brown.

A medium matte plum.

Tip Taupe: Plummy taupe with purple sheen.

GWP. A taupe base with lots of violet shimmer.

Model Walk: Free sample, from an as yet unreleased collection! So no official description. It’s a slightly greyed green with lots of blue, green, and gold sparks.

Paradise Pink Soft Focus Blush: A gorgeous peachy pink.

A light peach with a satin finish. Very subtle, as you can tell. I prefer Fuji – this one is a bit too close to my skin tone to do much.

Mermaid’s Dream Soft Focus Blush: Bright reddish orange coral.

Strawberry red with a smattering of sparkle. This looks completely matte in the site swatch, so I was confused by the sparkle. I’m still not 100% sure it didn’t migrate over from somewhere else, but I don’t think that’s the case. Anyway, I adore the base color, but I do wish it were completely matte. Sometimes you can blend minor sparkles away, but in this one it’s actually more evident when it’s blended out.

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No slanty shot this time, but here they are in the shade. The colors are more true to life here.

Thoughts on Primped & Primed: This was my first experience with P&P. I used it here as an alternative to using primer and Pixie Epoxy together, and it performed reasonably well. As you can see, it definitely intensified the shadows and grabbed the sparkles reasonably well. By itself I don’t think it performs quite as well as PE in the sparkle-grabbing respect, but that’s not really a fair comparison since they’re different products. Darling Girl also makes a Pixie Epoxy-esque glitter adhesive called Glitter Glue that I will definitely be trying out at some point so I can make a more direct comparison.

I haven’t used it on my eyes yet, so I can’t comment on its performance as a primer.

dg_fujiparadiseBonus Fuji vs Paradise Pink Comparison Swatch: This was requested when I did my DG blush post, so here you go! They are similar in tone, but Paradise Pink (which I keep wanting to call Paradise Peach) is far more on the peach end of the spectrum while Fuji is a more yellow-based pink. I like both, but I think I prefer Fuji for myself.

Everything in this post is (or will be) available from Darling Girl Cosmetics.

darling girl blush swatches

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Sample baggies repotted into jars + mini Yes, Virginia! + full size Fantasia + cream blush sample

The blush portion of my Darling Girl order! (The shadows are here.) And the more exciting part, for me personally. Real talk: I barely wear eyeshadow. Like, maybe three times a month. MAYBE. (Why I keep buying it, then, is another issue entirely.) But I wear blush every day. I love blush. And I’ve tried surprisingly few indie blushes, for as much indie makeup as I buy. I have a few from Fyrinnae, and one from The All Natural Face, but that’s pretty much it. Until now!

I’ve heard a lot about Darling Girl’s blushes, so when I placed an order I knew I had to try a few out. I prefer my blushes matte or slightly satin – no strong shimmer or glitter – so all of the powder blushes I ordered were from the Soft Focus line. Fantasia, a freebie with my order, is one of their Inner Glow blushes. Yes, Virginia! is another Soft Focus blush that I swapped for a few weeks ago – I figured I should swatch it with the rest.

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Swatched over bare skin.

Aloha: A beautiful, earthy pink that leans slight mauve.  This would be a great everyday no-brainer kind of blush.

A light pinky brown – it reminds me of Too Faced’s Cocoa Rose (vegan, a bit cooler than Aloha) or Tarte’s Exposed (sadly not vegan but I’ve seen enough swatches to be able to pick it out of a lineup). It’s slightly pinker in real life than it looks here. I love these kinds of blushes. They’re fool-proof and they give a really natural, healthy, sun-kissed kind of glow. This one is completely matte.

Fuji: Light peachy pink, nearly matte.

Just what it says – a light peachy pink. More pink than peach. It’s a warm, yellow-based pink as opposed to a cool, blue, bubblegum pink (I can’t really wear those). It’s a really pretty, subtle everyday shade that would be hard to mess up. Since it’s so subtle, you don’t need to be nearly as careful during application, and it gives a really nice, natural, glowy look. I thought this was matte, but there is a very slight satiny sheen when the light hits it directly.

Cheeky: Bright cheery pinky coral, nearly matte.

This is a BEAUTIFUL pink coral. It looks pinker on me than in the site swatches. It’s bright, but it can be applied very subtly if you use a light hand and it’s a great color for spring and summer. It has the same satiny sheen as Fuji.

Cherry Bomb: A vibrant cherry red with just the tiniest hint of pink glow.

HELLO NURSE. Look at that swatch! It’s almost retina-searing.

I have a thing for red blushes. They look terrifying, but they’re actually very natural if you apply them lightly – no one really blushes coral, you know? They give a really nice Snow White kind of effect and it’s very flattering. Most days I end up reaching for a red blush anymore, so I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to my collection – and this one is gorgeous. It’s a VERY vibrant blue red, leaning pink. It looks completely matte to me. It reminds me of a brighter, even more pigmented version of Milani’s Bella Rosa (vegan!), which is another recent acquisition I’m in love with. The caveat here is that if you have fair skin you need to be really, really judicious in your application of this – I used my regular blush brush and just the tiniest speck of Cherry Bomb and it was still verging on sunburn territory, so I’m thinking maybe a duo-fiber brush would be a better choice.

Yes, Virginia!: A lovely lilac-pink.

Light purple. I suppose it is more pink purple than blue purple, but it doesn’t read pink to me – just purple. On my face it’s actually much more subtle and wearable than I was expecting. It doesn’t look pink, per se, but it doesn’t quite look purple either. I’m not sure how I feel about it on me – I have pretty yellow-toned skin so I think it makes me look a little sallow – but this would probably be beautiful on cool-toned skin. This one appears to be totally matte.

Fantasia: A gorgeous orange/coral with a very subtle violet shift.

This was a freebie with my order. Full-size! Super generous. Unfortunately it is not a color I will wear – it’s a vibrant orange coral with a purple sheen. This swatch doesn’t do it justice at all – you can’t see any of the purple shift. Blended out on my skin it just turns carrot orange. I can get on with orange blush, but this shade doesn’t do it for me. Since I also prefer my blushes matte or nearly so, this one was just not meant to be. I’m glad I got to try it, though, and I’m sure I will find it a good home in a swap soon.

Papaya: Juicy ripe papaya with red undertones.

Another beautiful red – warmer and less pink-leaning than Cherry Bomb. The cream blush formula has a really pretty translucency to it. When I washed off these swatches, Papaya stained my skin a bit, so I imagine the lasting power is pretty good with this. This shade is not as in your face BAM POW as Cherry Bomb, but if you have fair skin you still need a light hand here.

I’m into these. The Soft Focus blush formula is my favorite – it’s very soft and blends beautifully into the skin. I don’t generally have problems with my blush fading quickly, but the ones I’ve tried so far have lasted all day. There are a few more colors in that line that I’ll definitely be trying out.

My favorites from this bunch are Aloha, Fuji, Cheeky, and Papaya. Cherry Bomb is GORGEOUS but it may actually be too pigmented – I’ll have to experiment with different brushes. Yes, Virginia! I’m on the fence about, and Fantasia will get swapped away.

Everything in this post (and more, obviously) is available from Darling Girl Cosmetics.

darling girl eyeshadow swatches

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mini shadows + GWP shadow + sample baggies repotted into jars

Darling Girl is one of those companies that I always meant to try but just never got around to. I’ve never heard anything but good things about the brand, and they have a lot of really lovely colors, but they just never made it to the top of my “to try” list for some reason. Until now. Well, a few weeks ago, technically – I placed my first order on April 7th, it shipped April 21st, and arrived in my mailbox on April 25th. Not the fastest TAT, but not unreasonable and within what’s stated on their website, which is really the important part.

In all I ordered 4 mini (petit) eyeshadows, a 5 sample pack of 4 blushes and one shadow, and a cream blush sample. I also received a GWP shadow (comes with every order over $10), an additional shadow sample, and, much to my surprise, a full size blush in Fantasia. I’ll cover the shadows here, and the blushes in another post since there are 6 of them plus another shade I swapped for.

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Swatched over primer + Pixie Epoxy. (No neat little rectangles this time because I ran out of tape.)

Adoration: Lightest tan satin pearl.

Very light peachy tan. I swear there is shadow there – it’s just hard to see because it’s not much darker than my skin. Without Pixie Epoxy it’s more of a pale cream color, and even less visible on my skin. The PE brings out the peachiness. This is kind of a strange, in-between color for me – not light enough to use as a highlighter or a lid-brightening wash, but not dark enough to use as a crease color. Obviously where it falls on that spectrum is highly dependent on your skin tone, though.

Jeweled Taupe: An amazing, metallic, bronzey taupe with multi-colored shimmer like tiny little jewels ribboned through it.

A brownish taupe with multi-colored shimmer. It has a slightly pink cast to my eye. I see the purple and blue sparks the most. Very metallic, very pretty. I get the hype. Reminds me of an Urban Decay color – YDK, maybe?

Brocade: Violet base with strong metallic gold overlay.  This is a shade you will want to pat on rather than swipe on to get a nice even finish.

This is the shade that made me place an order. I’m a sucker for a good purple/gold shadow. Brocade has a purple base with strong coppery gold shimmer. The purple is a bit more visible in person. The name is very appropriate – it looks rich.

Naughty Bits: Saturated chocolate cherry.

Just what it says – a very dark reddish brown. It’s beautiful and I don’t have anything quite like it. It would make an amazing liner. The matte formula is really nice and very pigmented. I generally don’t use or swatch matte shadows over a sticky base – this time I did, and was reminded of why I don’t. It looks a bit patchy but I’m putting that down to the PE. Mattes are better used over just primer in my experience.

Sakura Season: GWP, no description.

Looks like a grey base with strong reddish purple shimmer. Like a purple version of Serendipity from Fyrinnae, or DG’s Hot Rocks.

Sugar Plums: Lavender with silver iridescence and color shifting lavender sparkles.

Metallic lavender. Definitely has a frosty silvery cast. I notice the blue and green sparks the most.

Crystal Lake: Pale lilac with copper shift and soft pink flash.

My free sample. This is more of a medium purple to me, with warm pink shimmer. A cooler, more blue-toned purple than I usually go for.

dg_shadow_swatches2Darling Girl’s samples are small. Probably the smallest I’ve gotten from an indie. They are cheaper than usual, though, too – 5 for $4 – and still a good way to try out colors you’re not sure about. However I think the minis are the way I’ll go in the future – they’re $2.50 each and probably all the shadow I’ll ever need for most colors.

Overall I really like these. The formula is great across the board, and in general they swatched for me very similarly to how they look in the website swatches, which is always a plus because it’s nice to be able to trust that what you see is what you’re going to get. Darling Girl is not completely vegan, but the ingredients are listed for each shade and if something is not vegan it’s clearly stated.

My favorites from this bunch are Jeweled Taupe, Brocade, Naughty Bits, and Sakura Season. I’m glad I got my order in while Sakura Season was the GWP – I think it would be a really popular shade if it were added to the lineup. (Edit: As of 4/30 I heard from Susan at DG that she will be adding Sakura Season to her core lineup!) Adoration is perfectly nice but it’s not a stand-out shade for me. I’m on the fence about Sugar Plums – it might be too silvery, but I’ll reserve judgment until I give it a try. Crystal Lake is just not a color I will reach for.

Everything in this post (and more, obviously) is available from Darling Girl Cosmetics.