Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bellydance Changed My Life

About four years ago I was looking for a way to work out that wouldn't actually feel like work. I've always had a strong interest in dance but had never actually studied any dance forms. So I started looking at the different types of belly dance. You don't need to a certain age or body type to belly dance. Anyone can do it. Besides it works the abs and hips and what woman doesn't want to work on those areas?

It was my intention to eventually pick up tribal fusion which tends to have a dark and gothic aesthetic. Since I used to be super goth and started going out to goth clubs way back when I was 16 this style really appealed to me. I could still belly dance but do it to all my favorite club hits. Thanks to the strong art history training at VCU, I feel like you have to study the where an art form comes from before you can start altering it or bending it to your will.

I picked up Amira's Bellydance 101 and started my journey. Amira is a local Las Vegas belly dancer and instructor but is known throughout the world. It was quite a challenge to get parts of my body to move in ways they had never moved before. I used to dread the section of the DVD with the body wave! After about two years of doing this DVD at least once a week in my living room, I was finally brave enough to go to an actual class. I contacted Amira but she typically teaches during the day when I work. She suggested I contact Aradia another local dancer and teacher with a world class reputation.

So on June 1, 2010 I walked into my first belly dance class. I was so nervous! Aradia is a star in the belly dance world but I introduced myself and found her very approachable and reassuring. I don't remember exactly what we covered in class those first few weeks but I do know it was quite humbling! I realized I could not dance and travel at the same time nor was I as good as I thought I was. But I didn't give up. Later on that year Aradia offerred a fan veil/drum solo choreography series. I debated with myself on whether or not I was ready but eventually I decided I was up for the challenge. I'm so thankful that I did!

Mt. Charleston 2012 photo by Glenn Brogan
The more I studied classic Egyptian style and listened to Arabic music the more I found I really loved it! So that shift to tribal never happened. Apparently, there's a side of me that likes to wear color every now and then. I was already attracted to sparkly things and dramatic eye makeup.

I began studying consistently with Aradia and dancing in a troupe led by Aradia's teaching assistant, Leslie. The Death by Shimmy ladies are all so unique and amazing. It truly is an honor to dance with them. I've learned so much about myself over the last two and half years. I have achieved so much more than I ever thought I could and met so many amazing women and men!

I was so miserable when my gall bladder was misbehaving and I couldn't dance.  Although I did push through it to perform a very beautiful veil piece with my troupe. The recovery period after my surgery seemed to take forever. It's difficult to get back up to speed between all m health issues over the last year and my new work schedule but I'm getting back up there. Belly dance truly is my passion in life and is somewhat responsible for my makeup addiction.

Death by Shimmy performing at the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2012

Bellydance is really a beautiful art form with so many varied styles and traditions that it really can offer something for everyone. However, it is just like any other form of dance in that it takes constant study and practice. There is always something to learn! I've been in workshops where Aradia (with her 30+ years experience) was right next to me taking the class. Of course I thought I would swoon when she introduced me to another professional dancer in the class as her student. It was definitely validation for me. I was at least good enough that she'd want people to know she was my teacher. LOL.

Anyhoo, if you've read this far let's see some dancing!

So here's a version of that original fan veil/drum solo. I've performed the fan veil portion of this a few times as a solo but never with the drum solo on the end. I really pushed myself to just do it. I was able to add all the layers that seemed impossible when I first started. This performance was so much fun.

This next piece is a nod to the Golden Era of bellydance which started in the 1940s. I love this dance. It could be my favorite so far.

And finally if you're worried that we're too serious all the time, here's a dance we did for Halloween 2011. Remember when I said anyone could bellydance? The "mermaid" in this video is 60. The very beginning of this got cut off. : (

So there you have it. I could go on and on about bellydance all day but I've probably bored you all enough. If you have any questions or want to see more videos please let me know!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November Rambling

First I wanted to say thank you to all of my readers! I am grateful to each of you for reading my blog. Thank you to all the other amazing bloggers out there. I've learned so much from you all and I've been inspired.

I've been trying to do some things around the house over the holiday and there was all the baking and visiting to do. So I've been neglecting my blog. I was going to post about the November Ipsy bag but you're all probably tired of seeing it this late in the month. ;)

I was subscribed to MyGlam back in the earlier months of the year when it...well. when it sucked. So I cancelled my subscription. I've kept my eye on their progress though and they've really upped their game. This month I decided to resubscribe and I'm not disappointed. Except for the nail polish but I'm just not into glitter and gold. I love They're Real! mascara it might be my HG mascara. I'm really excited to try theBalm shadow. I've never tried any of their shadows although I've been tempted to buy Nude'Tude a few times. Love the color of the lip gloss. I'm not really into the actual bag this month but that's OK. I loved the October bag and actually traded over on MUT to get one. 

I need to go through my collection and update my trade list. I'm also thinking of doing a blog sale. I have a few Inglot shadows and some other stuff I may want to part with. 

I'm doing OK on my low buy for the month. I had to take advantage of the MUA 35% off sale. I'll probably hit up some Cyber Monday deals. My Mom wants some makeup/skincare items for Christmas and I still want to pick up a few of the Real Techniques brushes but I don't intend to go crazy buying palettes or holiday sets or even that bottle of Balenciaga perfume I've been wanting for ages.

Hope you're having a great holiday weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sample Society November

Sample Society  continues to be one of my favorite sub services. Last month was a little blah this month though I'm pretty happy. They have also started to slightly customize loosely based on complexion/hair color. So while everyone got the same lipstick sample, there were different colors sent out. I personally like that everyone gets the same samples with only color variations. That is also why I try to avoid spoilers. I really enjoy being surprised when I open my box. Anyhoo, on to November's box.

November 2012 Sample Society
November Sample Society
  • Dermalogica Precleanse Deluxe Sample 1 fl oz (Full Size Retail 5.1 fl oz $35)  A double cleansing regimen that begins with PreCleanse, is a plant-based cleanser that thoroughly melts layers of excess sebum, sunscreen, makeup, environmental pollutants and residual skin products that build up during the day. Then, when water is added, this hyrophilic formula transforms into a milky emulsion that easily rinses away oil-based debris from the skin's surface. This gentle blend can also be used around the eye area to remove even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. I haven't tried it on mascara yet but I do like this cleanser. It does well at cutting through a full face of makeup. I don't know that it's a product I'd reach for every day.. Most days I only wear some BB and blush so I think it would be a bit overkill. I do like it though. Of course, I have yet to meet a Dermalogica product I didn't like.
  • Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Dry Oil Mist Deluxe Sample 1 fl oz (Full Size Retail 4.2 fl oz $24) Use as both a Treatment & Style Primer.  Infuses hair with nutrients & anti-oxidants. Strengthens hair.  Protects Color with Color Hold® Technology.  Prevents frizz and extends the life of your smooth blowout with built-in humidity resistance.  Enhances shine. Good for you Beauty: Both highly sustainable ingredients are Fair-Trade compliant & Certified Organic. Their production & sale aids in supporting the development of local communities.  All products contain ingredients grown responsibly & ethically traded; FREE OF sulfates, parabens, gluten, TEA phthalates. I actually wasn't excited about this product until I read it's blurb. I haven't used this yet but I will definitely try to work it in this week. I usually don't use much in the way of hair products because I rarely style or iron my hair. Give me a hair oil any day though and I'm happy girl.
  • Diptyque Volutes Eau de Toilette Deluxe Sample perfume vial .06 fl oz (Full Size Retail 3.4 fl oz $120) Blond, honeyed Egyptian tobacco transports you to mysterious horizons and far-off shore. Iris strengthens it, spices give it body, and styrax imposes a daring and distinguished leathery note. Based on the description, it sounds like I'd like it. However, on me, I just get too much of a powder smell. booo. This is the second Diptyque perfume Sample Society has sent out and I haven't like either one. 
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream Deluxe Sample .03 oz (Full Size Retail $28) Shea butter, honey and sweet almond extract are smoothing. Jasmine and ylang-ylang essences offer a delicate scent. Vitamin E helps nourish and protect. I've been wanting to try this for a long time so I was very excited to open my box and see the silver tube. This is a hugely popular hand cream. I have to admit that I probably neglect my hands as far as moisture and sun protection. I I like the feel of this hand cream however I'm not quite sold on the fragrance. Still undecided on this one. 
  • diego dalla palma Classic Lipstick Deluxe Sample-29. Pink Satin (Full Size Retail $34) Wax coated pigments offer pure and true color while film-forming polymers provide immediate adherence and staying power. Ginseng extracts fight wrinkles and increase lips' firmness, and vitamins C and E put antioxidants and anti-aging properties to work. I liked the formula of this lipstick a lot. It is creamy and long lasting like they claim. Shade 29 is a light pink color that I normally wouldn't choose for myself. However, it looks alright. If I were going to buy one of these I'd definitely choose a different shade.
So overall I like this month's Sample Society box. I thought they were able to get these boxes out without too much delay from Super Storm Sandy. 

MUA 35% Off Sale w/Free International Shipping!

MUA Cosmetics  is a beloved brand of UK beauty bloggers. They recently hit 35,000 likes on their Facebook page and are celebrating with 35% off and free shipping including international shipping! Just use code MUA35 at checkout.

This sale was so popular it crashed their site for a few days. Now it's back up and running great. I put my order in last night and picked up quite a few things. After making the currency exchange I spent less than $20. Woohoo. I'll post a haul when it gets here but I did order another Heaven & Earth palette to be used in a future giveaway.

Check out my haul from the MUA 25,000 likes sale here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ulta Mini Haul

Even though I'm trying to do a Low Buy for the next few months, I braved a trip to Ulta. I had $5 off coupon on a purchase $10 or more and my quarterly reward to pick up (which I've never actually used before). Ulta had also mailed me a postcard announcing their new Clinique counters. To celebrate, they were giving away a free lipstick. So I made my plan of attack and went in. The only two items I was intending to buy were the Real Techniques Blush Brush and OPI Nail Polish in Bubble Bath. Ashley over at Blush Bug did a post not too long ago about her Favorite Nude Polishes and I fell in love with Bubble Bath.

  • O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath Original price $8.50 after coupon $6.07.  This polish is the perfect pale pink color. I did two coats and it's still pretty sheer but still gives a hint of color. Love!
  • Real Techniques Blush Brush Original price $8.99 after coupon $6.42 I don't have a blush brush that I love. Everyone raves about these brushes so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was a tough call between this brush and the Expert Face Brush. I'll definitely get the Expert Face Brush next time around.
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick in All Heart Original price $15. FREE! I believe this is full size but I can't find the weight on the tube. The color All Heart is a deep mauve/berry color. It really suits me. I used to use a lot of Clinique skincare products but I haven't ever really used many of their makeup products.
  • Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil  .35 oz Original price $6.50 FREE! I hardly ever cash in my quarterly points at Ulta. I always forget. When I saw this as one of the options, I was way more motivated than usual. I love this stuff! I'm still working through my 1 oz bottle from Beauty Army. I swear I'm actually going to buy it one day.
Even though I went to the NYX display twice and everything was buy one get on 50%, I managed to not walk away with anything. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my plan of action. It definitely was not easy! My total spent before taxes was $12.49 that's like a record low for me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brush Battle: Coastal Scents v. e.l.f. Stipple Brushes

I like to use a lot of cream blushes and I tend to apply them with a stipple brush. The first stipple brush I bought was the e.l.f brush a few months ago. I just got the Coastal Scents Stipple Brush in mystery box. Let's see how the stack up against each other.

Coastal Scents Stippling Brush and e.l.f Stipple Brush

  • Overall Design: The Coastal Scents brush is longer. I tend to hold it close to the ferrule anyway so that doesn't really make much of a difference to me. The handles are slightly rounded for grip. Winner: Tie

L to R: Coastal Scents, e.l.f.
  • Bristles: These are both made with synthetic bristles. The Coastal Scents brush has thinner bristles that are more densely packed. This definitely gives a more controlled application. The e.l.f bristles are a little bit stiffer and not as soft against the skin.  Winner: Coastal Scents
  • Durability: I've had the e.l.f. brush for a few months and I use it fairly regularly. I haven't noticed any shedding and there has been minimal fraying of the bristles. Cleans easily.

e.l.f bristles

The Coastal Scents brush starting shedding immediately. I've washed it a few times and it still sheds. I find bristles stuck to my face or in my blush. There are also more bristles that are going off in their own direction. I also had a very difficult time getting this brush clean. I really had to work in the brush cleaner and let it sit to get this brush completely clean.

Coastal Scents bristles
This is only after a few weeks of off and on use. Winner: e.l.f

  • Price: These are both reasonably priced. Coastal Scents is $6.95 available on the Coastal Scents site. and e.l.f is $3 available on the e.l.f site Winner: e.l.f
  • Overall Winner: e.l.f. This is a great brush for the price and has held up nicely. I do wish the bristles were a little bit more densely packed but I will still reach for this over the Coastal Scents brush. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October Favorites

I didn't get around to doing a September favorites so this is more of an September/October favorites post. I haven't been wearing a lot of different makeup the last few months. I did perform with my troupe a few times though. We danced a 1940s Golden Era Bellydance piece so I've been doing a retro look a lot which is where most of my favorite products come from.

If anyone is interested in a tutorial for this look let me know. It's pretty easy and always looks glamorous. Anyhoo, on to the October favorites!

Eyeko Skinny Liner, Ardell Wispies, Besame Crimson Rouge, e.l.f. Tinted Lip Moisturizer, & Benefit They're Real! Mascara

  • Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Black I got this back in my July Birchbox it was one of the few items I got from Birchbox that I absolutely loved and one of the very few full sized items I ever got. Anyhoo, this is a felt tipped liner that glides on smoothly and is long lasting. It makes it really easy to achieve that winged liner look. It comes in several different colors. There's a purple I keep talking myself out of buying. It's gorgeous but I don't know when I'd ever wear it. You can buy it at Sephora or Birchbox for $15.
  • Ardell Wispies Love love love these falsies. They're big and dramatic but still give that soft wide-eyed look. You can find Ardells in most drugstores and Target for around $4.
  • Besame Crimson Rouge I got this is as a sample in my August Beauty Army kit. Besame Cosmetics is all about the vintage retro look with their products and their packaging. This cream blush is much drier than other cream blushes I've tried. It works great though. Just dab a little bit on and blend it out and you have the perfect vintage looking flush. The full size of this is $22 and you can find it at Besame Cosmetics or Beauty Army.
  • e.l.f. Moisturizing Lip Tint SPF8 in Rose I usually carry around a ridiculous amount of lippies in my purse. So I've been trying to use up some products and cull the herd. I rediscovered this and have been wearing it a lot. Rose is a darker pink color. I find it much more pigmented than other tinted lip moisturizers/lip balms that I've tried. Fairly well moisturizing and the color is long lasting. These are $3 on the e.l.f. website and I think you can find these in Target.
  • Benefit They're Real! Mascara I got this sample in my September Little Black Bag. I really didn't want to love it because the full size is $23. I have a hard time finding a mascara that doesn't give me panada eyes even though I only wear mascara on my top lashes. This mascara delivers length and stays put all day. Love it! I have about $10 worth of Birchbox points to cash in so I'll probably buy this. You can also find it pretty much everywhere... Benefit, Sephora, and Ulta.
I don't normally talk about music but the eagerly awaited new album from The 69 Eyes is finally out! The 69 Eyes are a Finnish Goth rock/metal band. The new album is so good. I've been listening to it two or three times a day. Here's the video for the single "Red."  My favorite track is actually "Black." You can buy this on Amazon as a CD or download. The Itunes version features a bonus track which is a duet with Kat Von D.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Coastal Scents Mystery Box

Awhile back Coastal Scents was offering these mystery boxes. I believe they originally sold for $50. I picked mine up when they were on sale for $19.99. I had seen a few other people post about them and the contents looked decent and I love a good mystery box. This seems like a mixture of discontinued, slightly irregular factory faults, and sale items.  Here's what was in my box.

Mini Contour Brush & Mini Lip Brush
I tried to use the Mini Contour Brush for cleaning up my cuticles after painting my nails but it didn't work very well. You could possibly use it for really targeted blending. The lip brush would be good for travelling or throwing in your purse for touch ups.

Classic Stippling Brush, Classic Shadow Large Natural & Medium Natural, Natural Fan Brush, and Classic Blender
I like that I received a mixture of synthetic and natural brushes. I always love trying new brushes. I've been using the Stippling Brush for apply cream blush. I'm going to do a comparison with the e.l.f Stipple brush soon. I haven't decided what to do with the Large Natural or the Natural Fan brush yet. I gave the other two to my sister who had no brushes.

Mineral Shadows: Balara, Ignite, Figi Twist, Lace Sparkle, Lagoon Mist, & Emerald Sapphire (sample)
Five full sized mineral shadows! I actually don't use a lot of mineral makeup though. These colors were all recently discontinued. Balara is a dark brown color unlike the orange tint it has in the photo.  Ignite is a light brownish pink. Fiji Twist is a bright sunshine yellow. Lace Sparkle is a light mauve. Lagoon Mist is periwinkle. Emerald Sapphire is a cool toned sparkley green. These can be applied wet or dry. If you're interested in swatches let me know. I may just put most of these in my trade pile.

Mineral Bronzer
I was all set to send this straight to the trade pile but this seems light enough that it won't just make my complexion look muddy. I'm going to give it a shot.

Quad Eyeshadow Palette: ??, Peach, Deep Grape, New Penny
This quad was being sold as a dramatic look for green eyes. I'm a blue eyed girl and I don't think I can pulll off this combination. The mystery shade and Deep Grape are matte colors. The mystery shade is very sheer. Peach has a satin finish. New Penny has a more metallic finish. You could easily pop these out and put different colors in. I have a medium and small Z palette though. If I need to travel, I just put my selected colors in the smaller Z palette.

Whimsical Lashes
I love lashes. I don't have a pair with this crisscross pattern so I'm pretty excited about these. I usually only wear lashes for dance performances though. Not sure when I'll get around to trying these out.

I also received a bottle of facial cleanser with grapefruit and green tea extract. It foams up out of the bottle and has a very fresh and clean scent. I haven't tried the African Black Soap yet.

For what I paid, I definitely think I got my money's worth. There are some products I definitely wouldn't have picked up on my own. What are your favorite Coastal Scents products?

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