Friday, March 21, 2014

Urban Decay's Electric Palette - swatches & stuff

In truth, as excited as I was for UD's new Electric palette, I had already decided that it had a lot to live up to. No person who knows about the existence of brands like Sugarpill could avoid making comparisons, I think. For me, Sugarpill is the end-all, be-all of bright, electric color, and though Urban Decay wasn't always famous for its Naked palettes, even the colors they had before weren't, like, ELECTRIC. They were edgy, and beautiful, and colorful in their range (in fact, Sugarpill's Cold Chemistry collection is the most Urban Decay-ish set of shadows they have), but not necessarily BRIGHT BRIGHT BRIGHT.

Nonetheless, I was excited. There are some gorgeous shades in this palette, some Sugarpill-ish and some that are more along UD lines:

I agree with other bloggers who say that a pure yellow would've been more useful than, say, the silver, and that this palette trends towards the blue side of the spectrum. But every shade here is really beautiful, and it turns out that I don't mind having to bring in neutrals to make these shades more wearable. In fact, if you want a fairly versatile eye shadow collection with minimal products to own, I would recommend getting one of the Naked palettes and getting this palette. (It wouldn't be enough for ME, of course, but for people who don't fuss with makeup much, but still want things to play with, that would be pretty much all you need.)

L to R: Revolution, Gonzo, Slowburn, Savage, Fringe
Revolution is your standard-issue sparkly silver. Nothing special, and I'm not super sure why it's even in an ELECTRIC palette, aside from the fact that people need something neutral that works with each of the other colors in the palette.

Gonzo is LOVELY in the pan, but came out less pigmented than I would've liked. (But still pretty pigmented. Like I said, my expectations are super high.)

Slowburn - Holy geez. THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE. I don't know how often I will wear this shade, but it was REALLY pigmented. It's reddish-orange, rather than just orange.

Savage was also SUPER pigmented. It's very similar to Sugarpill's Dollipop.

Fringe was one of the shades I was really excited about (even though it's one of the two repromotes. I guess I should pay more attention to the eye shadow collection I already have). It does kind of veer towards the "calmer" side of the spectrum in terms of brightness, and is shimmery (as opposed to the previous three shades, which are kind of matte or satin).

L to R: Chaos, Jilted, Urban, Freak, Thrash
Chaos, I DO remember - it's from one of the Vice palettes. It's very similar to Sugarpill's Royal Sugar and Velocity (which are similar to each other). Not a blue for the faint of heart.

Jilted is so pretty. At first I was like, I think I already have a lot of things in this shade, and then I realized I was thinking of my lipstick collection. And like Fringe, this isn't so much ELECTRIC, so much as jewel-toned, but I'll take it.

Urban, I was REALLY excited for, because I love my purples. UD loves purple (as it's their trademark color), and I think this shade is really beautiful.

Freak looks just like their eye pencil of the same name. It looks really bright in the pan, but is much softer and more shimmery when swatched.

Thrash is a really yellowy lime green, and like Slowburn, I'm not sure how often I will wear this shade, but it's nice to have.

Do you love Urban Decay and want a fun way to experiment with bright colors without investing in a gazillion full-sized eye shadows that might not get a ton of use? Buy this palette. Already own a bunch of Sugarpill? You're probably fine with what you've got - I don't think you'll miss much if you don't buy this palette.

I am wearing Freak and Fringe on the lid and lower lashline, and Gonzo in the crease.

Divergent: The Movie

I first read Divergent (and the second book, Insurgent) almost a year ago, so I had already known that there was going to be a movie, and I spent a lot of time on IMDB while I was reading just to match up names with (the actors') faces. In fact, the thing that got me interested in reading Divergent was the fact that Shailene Woodley had JUST been announced as Hazel for The Fault in Our Stars (one of my dearest, most favorite books), and there were a lot of people online whining, "She gets to be in both TFIOS and Divergent????" Hearing the two books get mentioned together a lot, even for that sort of a comparison, made me really curious.

So, I spent the summer tracking the Divergent tag on Tumblr and found all sorts of cool things about the movie, which was currently being filmed in Chicago, and I devoured all the interviews and panels from Comic Con, and I pretty much found myself obsessed with everything about Divergent, from the books, to the movie, to a certain THEO JAMES. I haven't been waiting as long as many fans for this movie to come out, but trust me, it still felt like a long time. And now, finally, here we are.

Overall, I loved it. It wasn't as good as Catching Fire, but seriously, CF was ridiculously exceptional as an adaptation, so I think that it will be difficult to find any others (YAF) that are THAT well done. What do I look for in a book-to-movie adaptation, you ask? Well, a few things... I understand, of course, that novels and movies are two totally different forms of media, and that there will always be differences, and that you can't fit EVERYTHING from a book into a two-hour movie. You just can't. A lot of people still can't get over that. That's why it's called an adaptation. What matters to me is whether the changes they decided to make add to or detract from the experience of the story.

But duh, right? That's what everyone is looking for. It's just that some people are better at accepting this idea than others. When I watch a movie version of a book I love, I take into consideration things that are acceptable losses and whether the things the writers/directors cut from the movie harm the story in any way, and I also keep an eye out for ways in which the movie improves upon the book. It rarely happens, but it is possible for a movie to be better than its source.

I thought Divergent the movie did a good job of capturing the essence of the novel and bringing it to life, and certain things that I breezed by when reading were suddenly more impactful in visual form. There were some things that were noticeably missing, and though I lamented them a little bit, I did not feel that the overall story was harmed in any way, and the ending was JUST ambiguous enough to lead to a sequel, but still stood well on its own in wrapping up the plot for this installment.

From here on out, my post will include spoilers from the book and movie, so if you don't want to know anything, then maybe you shouldn't read this. (But, from what I hear, you shouldn't rely on the major published reviews either, because what do those guys know about fandom, anyway??? Do stuffy old snobby critic guys spend time reading dystopian YAF?)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Eff that noise.

Take your negativity and piss off.
Not that I've run recently (but I'm trying!), but I get kind of annoyed when I see people post stuff like the image above.

Of COURSE I take it personally. I DO share my workouts on my Facebook. I post because I'm proud of having accomplished anything athletic, and I post because people have been moved to sign up for races or do whatever form of activity they love as a direct result of seeing my posts. (I'm not assuming, they've TOLD me this. And it's a great feeling.)

I'm not here to tell people how to work out, and I'm not here to tell people TO work out. YOU DO YOU. I'm a big supporter of that. But not if that involves you raining on my hard-earned parade.

Seriously, "unfollow" and/or "unfriend" are literally a click away. (God knows I make good use of those buttons.) I'm sorry-notsorry if you're annoyed that I wax ecstatic about the things I love, but if you can't deal with that, we don't have to be friends.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sugarpill Sparkle Baby swatches - Frostine, Hotsy Totsy, and Kitten Parade

Well, three out of four. (Candy Crush was out of stock. But it WILL be mine, oh yes.)

L to R: Frostine, Hotsy Totsy, and Kitten Parade
I'm so excited to have these! They're not available through yet, but I found them at a store in LA, and I ordered them over the phone (since I'm not in Southern California).


These are really, really pretty, and as always, the quality is stellar. Well, Frostine is a little powdery, but that's just what happens with pastels. It's got this really great, subtle iridescence to it. Hotsy Totsy is the brightest of this collection, though pretty tame compared to other Sugarpill pinks we've seen before. It's got some sparkle to it. Kitten Parade is my favorite of the three, a beautiful peachy-pink with gold shimmer.  All smooth, all pigmented, all lovely.

The last one that I'm missing is Candy Crush, which appears to be a sort of baby blue/pale aqua. I'll post when I get it :)

Urban Decay Early Exclusive Sample - 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil!

I love that UD occasionally sends out sample-sized versions of upcoming products, and I especially love when I manage to snag one :)

So, this is interesting! I can't tell if this is just a new black pencil or if there are going to be a whole line of Velvet pencils in different colors, but the finish on this one is different. 

It reminds me of charcoal, a very black charcoal. And much more matte than even Perversion, which does have a sort of sheen to it. Here, see for yourself:

L to R: Zero, Black Velvet, Perversion
Perversion is inky-black and extremely soft and creamy. It's got a touch of satin in its finish, and in my lighting, it leans a little blue.  Black Velvet is black, black, black, and I found it to be slightly harder in texture Perversion, less slippery, which you may like or you may not like. 

Either way, if you're a black pencil enthusiast, you definitely won't want to miss out on Black Velvet when they finally release it. (I don't know when that will be.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thoughts on Breathe In (Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones) - Cinequest 2014

I haven't been to Cinequest in a while - I always want to go every year, but it's hard to make the time, and also I don't like going by myself because I like having someone to debrief with afterwards.

I finally made it to one last night! (It would've been two, but I was really sick and missed the other one I wanted to see.) My friend Jeannie and I decided to go see Breathe In, starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones. Primarily I was interested in seeing Felicity Jones, whom I've only seen in Northanger Abbey  (and of course she is wonderful in that). Overall I enjoyed Breathe In, and felt like jotting some thoughts down.

The rest of this post will contain spoilers for the movie.

Guy Pearce plays Keith, who was a rock musician living it up in New York City until he is forced to move to the suburbs to start a family. As the movie opens, he is preparing for yet another year as a high school music teacher and cellist in the local symphony. His wife repurposes/sells antique cookie jars and his daughter is a senior in high school. It's a life that one might describe as "quaint."

Cue the arrival of Sophie (Felicity Jones), an exchange student coming to spend a semester with them. She's somewhat of a piano prodigy escaping her life in England after the recent death of a close relative, and it's clear that she had expected to be living the New York City life while in the abroad, rather than living in the suburbs. Join the club, Sophie. She and Keith connect through their shared feelings of not belonging, and an attraction develops that starts to turn into something more.

The thing that struck me immediately about this film was its use of common tropes. Well, okay, "trope" isn't quite the right word - more like "cliches." But I'm not accusing the film of being cliched, even if it does contain a lot of cliches and devices, and I'll explain what I mean by that. There is nothing in this film, plot-wise, that hasn't been done a million times over all through film (and literature, television, etc.):

- Romance between a young girl and an older man
- Romance between a student and a teacher
- The discontent of living a routine, regimented life (because yes, teaching is like that!) and the longing to be free and creative and artistic
- The overbearing, content-with-the-quiet-life wife with her quaint little arts and crafts projects
- The use of physicality as characterization - Keith and his family are VERY BLOND (like, white-blond), and Sophie is darkly-beautiful from her hair to her clothing to her eye makeup
- One-dimensional teenage boys who only care about partying and getting laid (they're kind of a plot device)
- Along those same lines, their suburban family friends who throw a barbecue, and the wife has recently redecorated and her outfit is color-coordinated with their living room wall color and the husband (played by one Agent Cooper, by the way) is all "Dat ass" about Sophie as he and Keith share a stereotypical the-men-cook-the-meat moment
- The sudden onslaught of a rainstorm leading to getting soaked and sharing an intimate moment
- "Let's run away together!"
- Climactic tragic event that interrupts the running away

And so on and so forth. Really, even Keith's music class included a stereotypical nerdy Asian girl virtuoso/teacher's pet. (I almost laughed out loud at that. She even has thick-rimmed glasses! She was almost overly stereotypical.) Also, Sophie the English Girl brought a copy of Jane Eyre with her and reads all the time, and Keith's wife being all, "You should play for us one night!" smacks of Austen heroines to me :)

And yet... despite all these things that I've seen millions of times... Breathe In still held me in its grip. Even though you could smell the attraction from miles away (not literally - gross) and even though you knew how it was going to end, I still found it compelling, and realized at some point that I'd had my fists clenched in anticipation for well over half the movie. I'm going to chalk this up to two things:

1. The music
I'm no expert on classical music, so I can't identify any of the pieces that were played, but I do consider myself an appreciator, and I was blown away by the music that underscored the story. In keeping with the fact that both Keith and Sophie are classically-trained musicians, the film features GORGEOUS, swelling pieces, used both in-world and as background, and I challenge anyone not to be moved by it. In the climactic scene especially, which cuts between Keith's first performance in his new position as chair (did I phrase that right?), Sophie's quiet giddiness as she races to meet him afterwards, his wife's breakdown as she realizes her perfect life is crumbling, and their daughter's hurtling towards disaster, the music is sweeping and dramatic. The piece we hear is the piece that Keith is performing, and the fact that his performance is triumphant contrasts starkly with the fact that his life and his loved ones are falling apart as he plays.

2. "The gray area" of Keith and Sophie's relationship
As much as I recognized the wrongness of what they were doing, I also found myself rooting for them. I was literally rationalizing their relationship in my head and then chastizing myself for it. She's the same age as his daughter! But she's 18, and being 18 in the UK is different from being 18 in the US anyway, legally! She's a student in his class! But he's about to quit his job as a teacher and be a musician full-time anyway! He's married with a daughter! But his wife totally doesn't listen to what he wants, and Sophie is a musician just like him and they understand each other! And so on, and so forth. And I'm sure it wasn't just me, but Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones were really adept at walking that line between "safe" and "suspicious" earlier in the film - when Sophie first arrives, it's hard to tell if her shifty eyes are indicative of something dark in her character (and again, her coloring plays a huge role in her characterization), and Keith's smiles are friendly but are just this side of smarmy, and both of them are shown snooping around (Keith through Sophie's trunk, and Sophie through the daughter's things). And yet... their courtship (if you will) is very chaste. When they first consciously express their attraction to each other, it's a mere hand touch, but it's so charged with desire that I daresay the innocence of it made it that much more erotic. They actually touch hands/hold hands quite a lot after that point, and it makes sense that that is how they would connect, seeing as how they are both musicians. The most they do is kiss, and it's a gentle, sweet kiss, not a face-mashing, frantic sort of kiss. It's romantic and emotional... and yet so very wrong! And I was completely caught up in it, even though I knew how it was going to end. (*queueing Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" in my head*)

The film's IMDB page tells me that the movie is being released at the end of month (March 28th), so I highly recommend this film if it sounds like the sort of thing you're into. It was an intense, beautiful hour and a half that left me contemplating the nature of morality, personal freedom, and responsibility. (And FEELS. Definitely FEELS.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Divergent Multi-Piece Collector's Set from Sephora - photos and swatches

I don't always think that movie tie-in makeup collections are a good idea (hi CoverGirl, did you even READ The Hunger Games/Catching Fire before suggesting ways we could look like Capitol citizens?), but I was actually pretty gung-ho hearing about this Divergent collection from Sephora. In addition to the box set I'm about to write up below, there is also a separate palette and a nail art kit.

The movie comes out on March 21st, and I've been waiting for this FOREVER. (Okay, not really... I've been waiting for this since a year ago when I first read the books. Other people have been waiting much longer.) To celebrate my love for Veronica Roth's amazing trilogy and my love for quality makeup, I hereby kick off a countdown to the movie's release, starting with some photos and swatches:

(Psst... I'm not going to explain Divergent to you because you can google. This post will assume you know the general story, and will not include major spoilers past the first book.)