february 2015 favorites


Among other things, yesterday’s very snowy snow day gave me the opportunity to finish up the February favorites post I’ve had sitting in draft form for like two weeks. Progress!


Excuse the shitty photo, I forgot to adjust my f-stop and then the battery died so I had to make it work.

First up is the smelly and smelly-adjacent stuff. Lots of Haus of Gloi this time around.

Haus of Gloi First Blush Pumpkin Butter: I wasn’t 100% into First Blush when I reviewed it, but man, I’ve since fallen head over heels – especially for the pumpkin butter. I originally just ordered this mini, but went back for a full size during one of the restocks (and a hair oil in a subsequent restock, can’t stop won’t stop), and I have no regrets. I have literal mountains of lotion in my hall closet, including pumpkin butters from 2012, if not earlier, because I go through lotion at a glacial pace. But not this guy. I’m almost finished with the mini in question, so now I’m extra glad I have that full size waiting in the wings.

The formula is fantastic, of course, but mostly it’s the scent I’m loving – soft and fruity and girly, it’s been bringing a bit of springtime joy to the icy winter hellscape from which I’m increasingly convinced we will never emerge.

Haus of Gloi Come Hither Perfume and Hair Oil: I looooove Come Hither. Love. It smells like sexy honey vanilla roses and I look forward to its return every Valentine’s day. I have a bottle of the perfume already, and a pumpkin butter too, so this year I just picked up a hair oil to round out the set. I really like HoG’s hair oils, though I use them more on my hands than my hair. (Review.)

Haus of Gloi Lip Balms: Hazelnut Mocha Latte just happened to be the nearest HoG balm when I was taking pictures – I have three of these open right now. This one lives on my dresser, Caramel Apple lives in my purse, and Rose lives on my desk at work. I also have four more waiting on deck… you know, for when I finish these three in 2016. I’ve noticed that the texture of these balms varies a bit from batch to batch – Caramel Apple feels thicker and more emollient than the other two I have going at the moment, so it’s my favorite of the bunch.

Darling Clandestine Reddit Hug of Death: Smells like grown up gummi bears. Get on me. Plus the bottle is so fancy. I generally prefer tinted glass bottles for extra light protection, but this thing is just pretty. It looks like something Princess Jasmine would dab on before climbing out the castle window and going for a magic carpet ride with that dreamy hobo Aladdin. (Review.)

Solstice Scents White Fox: Musky vanilla goodness with serious throw. I wore this out to dinner with some friends and I was almost a little self-conscious about how strong it was, which is rare with perfume oils, although SS scents do tend to have more sillage than most. This is just a cozy, comforting scent, like the perfume equivalent of an oversized cable knit sweater. (Review.)



Next up, makeup and also a scrub because it didn’t fit anywhere else.

Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark Contour Powder: Perpetual favorite status. I use this every single day and it’s the perfect contour for fair skin. I’m not tempted by anything else. Oak Bark is all I want or need. If it’s ever discontinued, I will buy 115 backups and also cry.

Pumpkin and Poppy Aphrodite Inner Glow Powder: Second verse, same as the first. I use this every single day and love it to death. One day I’ll get around to doing a review, maybe? Maybe. I am like the wind, lazy and irresponsible, so I make no promises. I did recently make another P&P order that included the Celestial shade of this same powder, so if/when I do finally get that review together, I can do a comparison of the two.

Blackbird Cosmetics Thirteen, Dog Days, and Beau Eyeshadows: I’m a broken record on the indie makeup front! I love these. These three plus the next item on the list make up my perfect everyday matte neutral eye look. I really need to pick up a full size of Beau. (Review.)

Notoriously Morbid So Goes My Nation Eyeshadow: The missing piece in my perfect matte quad, So Goes My Nation is my matte highlight of choice. It’s similar to Blackbird’s Half Full, but I think a bit softer and creamier in tone, which is why I generally use it in place of Half Full. The fact that it’s Buffy-themed is just a bonus! (Review.)

Paintbox Soapworks Buttercup Facial Scrub: Described as a moisturizing scrub for dry, delicate skin, I picked this up in an attempt to help soothe my gross, flaky winter skin. I never used to have dry skin, but as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten increasingly drier, and this winter is the worst yet. This scrub hasn’t worked any miracles, but it does exfoliate while providing a little moisture boost. It doesn’t break me out (though I’m not particularly breakout prone, so ymmv) and as a bonus it kind of smells like chocolate oranges. I’ve been using it 2-3 times a week for over a month and have barely made a dent in the tub, so it’s definitely worth the price and will last quite a long time.


Finally, all the miscellaneous shit I’ve been loving lately. Some indie things, some not.

Upping my Torso Game: I’ve purchased a bunch of new tops from various Etsy sellers in the last couple of weeks, and am super happy with all of them.

The Pizza pullover from Xenotees was my first purchase, because I love pizza with an affection only rivaled by the love I have for my fiance, my cats, and my parents. Plus Xenotees is based here in Philly, and supporting local small businesses is always nice. The shirt itself is a bit short for my taste thanks to American Apparel and its obsession with weird, unflattering proportions, but the print is great and it’s really loose and comfy layered over a tank top.

Next was the Full Moon sweatshirt from Blackbird Tees, which is possibly the coziest sweatshirt I have ever owned. It’s got a wide scoop neck instead of a boob-strangling crew neck nightmare, and the inside is soft like bunny fluff. A++, will purchase from again. In fact, I’m already eyeing another top from this shop for next payday.

Finally (for now), the super rad “Ask Me About My Cat” sweatshirt from Kinship Goods. I have two cats. They rule. Ernie is a fluffy-as-fuck Maine Coon, and Lily is a rotund short hair who has zero shits to give about anything that isn’t lounging in her special chair in our sun room. So you know, this sweatshirt called to me. It’s another super cozy top, and yes, it’s a crew neck, but it’s not a boob-strangler. It’s also really long, pretty much tunic-length, so it’s excellent with leggings for the ultimate comfy cat lady outfit.

Contigo Purity Glass Water Bottle: I’ve been wanting a glass water bottle for a while. I have an obnoxiously bright yellow plastic Nalgene that I use in the gym (go bright or go home, bitches) and around the house, but I wanted something a little nicer to use at work. I got this one from Contigo about 3 weeks ago and really enjoy it. It’s simple but attractive – multiple people have told me that it’s pretty completely unprompted – and I love the turquoise sleeve (there are other colors, too, but if given the choice I’ll always go with something in this family).

Also water just kind of tastes better out of a glass bottle? Or maybe I’m making that up. But I think it does. I originally found this on Amazon, but it’s cheaper direct from the manufacturer, even with shipping. Two thumbs up, will definitely buy again if I find myself needing another bottle.

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham: I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan, and while it’s a totally different format than the show or the movie, I’ve really enjoyed the two VM novels that have come out so far. This is the latest one, and while it’s hardly an American classic, the mystery is suitably creepy and engaging. The VM voiceover translates well to the page, and it’s just nice to keep getting new stories set in this universe.

My Brother, My Brother, and Me: “An advice show for the modern era,” as the tagline goes, from brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. Straight up: MBMBAM is fucking hilarious. If you’ve never listened, do it now. Right now. And then do what I’ve been doing, and go listen to the entire back catalogue obsessively and laugh to yourself like a weirdo. I’m also a fan of some of the brothers’ other podcasts: Sawbones (a podcast about medical history from one doctor and one guy who has no idea what’s going on) and The Adventure Zone (in which they play D&D with their dad).

Dusted: An episode-by-episode discussion about Buffy from the folks at StoryWonk, Dusted is hands down the best Buffy podcast I’ve ever listened to. These two are huge fans of the show, but are still able to discuss the good and the not-so-good critically. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up, and very much worth a listen if you’re a big nerd like me who enjoys listening to people talk about shows you love for hours on end. The same duo also has another podcast I’ve been enjoying, The Light Bulb, where they discuss all manner of pop culture-y topics.

Fantasies by Metric: This album isn’t new (it came out in 2009), nor is it new to me, but it’s been getting a ton of play lately so it seemed worth mentioning. “Gimme Sympathy” is probably my favorite track, but I like the whole album, and several – “Sick Muse,” “Gold Guns Girls,” and “Stadium Love” – have made it onto my workout playlist. Honorable Metic mention goes to “Monster Hospital” from 2005’s “Live It Out.”

So that’s it for last month! Is there anything you were loving particularly hard in February? Let me know in the comments!


notoriously morbid slay me swatches (wave 3)



A little while ago, Notoriously Morbid released Wave 3 of their all-matte Buffy eyeshadow collection. It consists of six shades, but one of them isn’t vegan (a bright pink called I Wanna Do Girly Stuff), so I only have five shades to show you today.


Swatched over primer. Indirect natural light.

I Call It Mr. Pointy: A smokey plum/burgundy that you’ve been searching for.

Kendra! A dark, dusty, slightly reddish plum. A very vampy shade, fitting for the slayer with a comically heavy accent and only one shirt.

So Goes My Nation: A velvet ivory as pure as the devotion of your first love.

Oz and Willow! The feels. A soft vanilla cream shade. I got a mini because I know it’ll get enough use as a highlight shade.

5×5: A burnt orange that ain’t playin’ around.

Faith! A rusty mid-toned orange-red, very warm. Not as bright as Blackbird Fire Pledge.

Rayne Brings Ripper: Magic duels in the forest come to mind with this lush woodland green.

Ethan Rayne! Aka a box full of farm fresh chicken. A dusty evergreen.

Lost in L.A.: A steely slate gray that makes you think of far off places.

Anne/Runaway Buffy! A dark, cloudy blue grey. Appropriate for the gloomy depiction of L.A. in the episode this shade is based on.


Swatched over primer only. Not quite full sun.

There you have ’em! Short and sweet today, kids. My favorites are I Call It Mr. Pointy, So Goes My Nation, and 5×5. Rayne Brings Ripper and Lost in L.A. are both pretty colors, but too cool-toned for me to get much use out of. I might try Lost in L.A. as a liner, though.

My overall feelings regarding this collection remain very positive. I’ll let Spike sum it up:


Notoriously Morbid has a standalone site here, and can also be found on Etsy.

misc notoriously morbid swatches


Sample baggies repotted into jars, plus my substitute GWP shadow.

The rest of my Notoriously Morbid order! (Finally.) Sometimes My Arms Bend Back and She’s Full of Secrets were samples I ordered, Young Merlin and Kilgarrah were extra free samples, and Snow Queen’s Return was substituted for the non-vegan GWP shadow that went out with initial Slay Me orders. I had asked in the notes with my order that it not be included, so I actually didn’t expect to get one, but the owner was nice enough to swap it out for me. She also managed to choose two colors I had actually considered buying for my free samples, which is always a nice surprise, and she honored my request to only send vegan samples, which I really appreciated.


Swatches! Like it says, the bottom of each one is over primer alone, and the top is over primer + Pixie Epoxy. These shadows, unlike the mattes, really do benefit from a sticky base. They’re certainly usable without one, but as you can see the difference is quite stark. The swatch photo was taken under indirect natural light and the colors are as close to reality as I could manage. (Excuse my sloppy application of PE – it’s patchy where I missed a few spots. Oops.)

Sometimes My Arms Bend Back: A soft rose copper with a slight blue shift. (Lost in the Lodge collection.)

Over just primer this is a fairly dull medium copper/tan, but over Pixie Epoxy the shimmer is stronger and much prettier. The rosy tone is more visible, but the light has to hit it just right to see the blue shift.

She’s Full of Secrets: A sweet classic pink, but not for long. The cool blue shift overpowers the pink the more you build. (Lost in the Lodge collection.)

Over just primer this is a soft, sheer pinky purple with subtle aqua shimmers that almost read more gold. Over Pixie Epoxy the blue shift is much more prominent, especially in the sun – it looks like a different color entirely.

Young Merlin: A brown that has almost every aspect of magic, I mean, color it can have. It is a dark brown with rainbow sparkles and a blue sheen once applied. (In Camelot collection.)

Over primer this is a warm, sheer brown. Over Pixie Epoxy it looks much more like a dark metallic eggplant purple/brown. In the sun the blue shift is definitely evident.

Kilgarrah: A deep rich brown with gold and green sparkles and a green duochrome. (In Camelot collection.)

Over just primer this is a sheer satin olive drab. Over Pixie Epoxy it’s a rich metallic olive with gold sparks. Either way it reads much more green than brown to me.

Snow Queen’s Return: To be used as a highlighter, this ice white shimmer is packed with blue, purple, and silver sparkles. (Scary Tales collection.)

Over primer this is a sheer white with blue sparks. Over Pixie Epoxy it looks much more like an ice pink, and the blue sparks are more prominent.

nm_misc1_sunBonus swatches under full sun. The pink cast of Snow Queen’s Return is really visible here, as well as the blue shift on Young Merlin.

Overall I felt that the quality of these shadows was very good. Some shades leave a little something to be desired without a sticky base, but that’s common with loose shadow and not something that makes me knock off any points. She’s Full of Secrets and Kilgarrah in particular are beautiful, but in general I find Notoriously Morbid’s color range slightly lacking, especially for my tastes, which run to (boring) light to medium neutrals. Dark, moody colors are much more NM’s wheelhouse, so there aren’t too many vegan shades left in the current catalog that I’m eager to try. I will definitely keep the brand on my radar, though, especially since there are more Buffy shades coming down the pipe.

Available from Notoriously Morbid.

notoriously morbid “slay me” swatches


Sample baggies, repotted for convenient use and storage. And prettier pictures.

Anyone who’s spent any time looking at indie makeup will know that nerdy fandom collections are abundant. Doctor Who, Sherlock, Firefly, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games – pretty much any entertainment franchise with a rabid fan base has inspired at least one collection from an indie company, usually several more than one. Except, until very recently, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a huge Buffy fan, this both frustrated me and, frankly, boggled my mind. Not a single one on the entire internet? How? What? How? Three excellent questions.

This curious lack has been a topic of much discussion between one friend and I, leading to long Twitter exchanges about how we should start our own company just to fill the void. I even went so far as to mock up collections of eyeshadow, blush, and lip products with names and color concepts! But in reality, ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve got a day job in addition to freelancing and blogging and trying to occasionally do work of my own – free time is at a premium these days.

But lo, someone has come to the rescue! I don’t have to just sigh wistfully and shake my fist at the internet anymore! Someone FINALLY filled the Buffy-shaped void in my makeup collection – Notoriously Morbid! Carrie (I believe that’s the owner’s name, someone correct me if I’m wrong!) swept in with an all-matte collection called Slay Me, which currently has two waves of six shadows, with plans to expand to at least four waves in the future. Not every shade is vegan, but most are – out of the twelve shadows currently in the collection, only three are non-vegan: Boca del Infierno (oxblood red), Hesitant Heroine (deep sapphire blue), and Quiet Storm (baby pink). While I would always prefer for a collection to be entirely vegan, the only one of these colors I’m bummed about missing is Quiet Storm, so really, it’s not too bad.

So I didn’t order those three shades, and I left out two other vegan shades – The Dating Slayer (bright sky blue) and Comic Relief (sunny orange) – because they’re not colors I’ll wear. But I’ll probably end up getting samples just for swatching and completion purposes when I place my next NM order, because Problems. There was (is?) also a special gift with purchase shadow offered with an order when the collection first launched called “Where the Kids and the Vamps Go” (The Bronze!), which was a shimmery berry shade, but sadly it was not vegan so I had to ask that it not be included.

Anyway, onto the swatches! Which are much improved from my last attempt!


Just look at those neat little rectangles.

All swatches were done with a brush over regular primer (and an elaborate gridwork of tape). These are under indirect natural light, and they’re pretty spot-on in terms of color accuracy.

slayme_closeup1Dust to Dust: “An icy mint green with a gray/bone undertone. Buh-Bye Master.”

Dead vampires! (Okay, The Master. Grind his bones to make your bread.) This is a really interesting color. It’s a pale grey green – appropriately named since it’s very corpse-y and ashy. I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it off without looking sallow and dead, but it’s objectively beautiful and I don’t have anything similar.

He’s Going Through Changes: “A warm, gingery peach, as smooth as Oz’s fur.

Oz! A pretty medium peach, like the reddish spots on peach skin. I really like this one. I imagine this would make a nice blush, too.

She’s Got Gidget Hair: “A pale orange with a beige undertone.”

Joyce! A muted orange tan – another peachy shade, but this time much more orange, like the actual flesh of a peach. Not sure how this will work on my skin tone, but it’s a nice color.

Teacher in Tweed: “An olive brown that practically screams librarian.”

Giles! A dark brown. It does lean slightly olive, but not as much as I expected. It’s very appropriate for Giles, whose diapers were tweed.

slayme_close_up2Gypsy Curse:“A warm-toned taupe, the exact color of the shadows Angel waits in.”

Captain Forehead! A purple-y brown taupe. I think Angel wore a sweater this color once, when he was going through his brights phase.

She Names the Stars: “A cool, blue toned purple as deep as Drusilla’s evil madness.”

Dru! A slightly purple-leaning cobalt blue. I thought this would be much more purple in the pot, but it comes across quite blue. Even more so when swiped on with a finger. I’d be interested to see how this compares to Hesitant Heroine. In any case, it’s a great blue, but not a color I’ll wear.

Bloody Awful Poet: “A cool-toned matte black, as cool as Spike’s leather trench coat.”

Spike! It’s black. Not the darkest black ever, but a good solid matte black. Like Spike’s duster. And his fingernails. But not his heart. (Aww, Blondie Bear.)

slayme_swatches_fullsunSwatches in full sun – Teacher in Tweed definitely looks more olive-y in this light.

I really like this collection! Mattes are notoriously (no pun intended) hard to do well, and these are as good as any I’ve tried from an indie. They’re slightly powdery, but apply well over primer. Usually I use Pixie Epoxy under loose shadows, but I feel like that would be gross with mattes. Another thing is that these puppies have some serious staying power. I rubbed the crap out of these swatches before I removed them, and they barely smudged at all. It was impressive.

Plus, Buffy.

stakeflipMy favorites are Dust to Dust, He’s Going Through Changes, Teacher in Tweed, and Gypsy Curse. These are the shades I’ll definitely be getting in a larger size. I also like She’s Got Gidget Hair, but I’m reserving judgement until I try the shade out on my face, and I only use black eyeshadow maybe once every two years or I’d be all over Bloody Awful Poet.

Need some Buffy on your face? Notoriously Morbid has a freestanding website, an Etsy shop, and a Storenvy shop.