Starting to Dress Like a Man (for FTMs)

Long time no see, Strangers! Where have I been? Well, I ran out of girl stuff to write about so I decided to transition to male.

Just kidding, I’m transitioning for different reasons. Because I literally am male. Surprise! I know, I didn’t believe it either.

But that doesn’t mean I still don’t love fashion. And this new adventure in wardrobe has been a new challenge. More-so because information on creating a men’s wardrobe from the ground up as an adult with a feminine body shape is just not something normally covered by men’s fashion videos and blogs. I literally emailed Real Men Real Style for tips and received NO response at all. Guess I’m on my own then. But that doesn’t mean you have to be. Just call me your fairy godfather.

Let me get this first bit out of the way. Don’t dress in nothing but oversized hoodies and jerseys because you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re trying to hide your shape. It’s not attractive and you’re more likely to look like a lesbian, which you are not, if you’re reading this. Probably. Or you can ignore me. But it’s doing you no favors. You just look sloppy. As intimidating as it can be as a first timer, immerse yourself in men’s fashion information in general. I know how overwhelming it can be because as you may know, I grew up reading Esquire instead of Cosmo and it’s still a lot to take in. But don’t worry yourself too much about fussy details. Just look around. See what you like. See what kind of man you want to look like. Experiment.

This brings me to my first big Do. Start cheap. Because you’re still experimenting, there’s likely to be a lot of stuff you try and decide isn’t for you. You don’t want to spend a lot of money in this stage. My first big round of shopping happened at Value Village. Now, this meant it was not only cheap, but for casual-wear I still actually really love pretty much everything I got. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be out a lot of money. And if I change my mind about any of it I can just donate it right back.

Speaking of cheap, another amazing place to go is online, mainly Aliexpress and Wish. Because not only are these places affordable but they’re Asian. Why does this matter? Because you’re probably relatively small for a dude, and Asian clothes run smaller. This means you don’t have to shop in the boys section. I mean you can, but it’s probably going to be a lot of dinosaur tshirts and we’re trying to dress like men here, right? Right.

Now it’s generally assumed that clothing from sites like this are crap. That’s not necessarily wrong – they definitely can be. The key here is to read reviews, especially ones with customer photos. Lots of reviews. Check size charts over and over. Check return policies. Besides, if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout all of this it’s that men’s clothes are of much better quality than women’s. A lot better. So you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised. And you know what? I’ve only very rarely bought something that didn’t work out. My new wardrobe is amazing.

Now, pants are the devil for us, aren’t they? Goddamn hips IjusthatethemsomuchI’mgoingtositinthisdressingroomandcryfortherestoftheday. Or nah. Because what works is going up one size and/or getting something with stretch. I’m not talking about leggings or sweats or other generally fugly things. I mean real nice dress pants and slim fit jeans. They can have stretch. And it’s wonderful. I fucking love my new $12 pants.

Another thing that’s going to show off your hips is tucking in your shirt. But I mean, don’t you have to? If you’re wearing business or formal-wear that is. If you don’t it looks sloppy. True. BUT the best hack for this is a vest/waistcoat. It covers your middle, makes you look nice and trim, disguises your hips, disguises your chest/binder, and looks dapper AF. It can also be worn as a cheaper alternative to a jacket, because getting a really nice one that fits well is hard. And you’ll end up looking better than your boss. Hell yes my dudes. Get a few of them to go with any shirt/pants combo. Get a few ties too. Ties are nice. If your tie is too long, you can tuck the excess into your shirt, and the vest will cover that up too!

Hell yes


If you wear lifts, consider ordering your shoes a size up to make room for them. That’s all I got to say about shoes at the moment.

Mini tip #2, accessorize higher up on your body to draw the eye up and help you look taller. Think hats, ties, and pocket squares. Suspenders for their vertical-ness over belts with their horizontal-ness. Definitely not belts in contrasting colors, that visually cut you in half and therefor make you look shorter. And monochromatic color schemes are good. Epaulets are very good. Shoulder pads… still pretty 80s.

Aaaand last thing I got for now, and I know this is repetition, is to make sure your clothes FIT. You’ve been going baggy to hide your curves but honey no. Just no. A well dressed man wears clothes that fit. It looks put-together, confident, and shows off your new muscles. niiiiiice. Those tips I gave above will help with the curves. If you take nothing else away from this article it’s that your clothes should fit.

That’s all I got for now. Maybe I’ll be back later with shaving tips or something 😛

Jeffree Star Skin Frost Fakeup Haul – Review and Swatches

I love makeup. I also love money. And I hate Jeffree Star, because as we all know the guy is a douche canoe. But his products? Want. So I cheated and bought a bunch of “Jeffree Star” fakeup for dirt cheap on Aliexpress. Now I’m not writing this to say you SHOULD buy this stuff. This is not a promotion of these products or any other fakeup. You need to know that first of all, counterfeit products are illegal and fakeup is very bad for you to the point of being dangerous. But if you want to do it I’m not going to stop you and you might as well have some information about the stuff, nah mean?

The other thing to consider here is the purpose of the makeup. As a performer I need some wild and intense stuff, but stuff that I will only need to wear for as little as five or so minutes at a time, that will be seen from a distance and under stage lighting. This is a totally different purpose than something you will wear all day every day. This is why I wouldn’t buy, say, fake foundation. But this stuff? This works for me. So here we go.

I own five fake Skin Frosts and five fake Velour Liquid Lipsticks. I own one real Velour Liquid lipstick so I can compare the quality to the real thing. The quality of these fake items varies by color (as do legitimate items, because different pigments affect the formula differently) and by seller, so I’m going to go through these item by item. Let’s just talk about the Skin Frosts here too because I realized as I started going through these that if I did all ten items at once this post would be stupid long.

The collection, including camera flash because I'm a hack

The collection, including camera flash because I’m a hack

The first thing you’ll notice is the difference in size of the highlighters. The big ones are full size, the small ones are not, and these smaller ones seem to be more standard. I have also used these, so the JS logo is coming off on some of them. But they all came with it when they were new. Also, the labeling is coming off the lipsticks. This also happens with the real ones, or at least the real one I have. I’m not going to focus too much on packaging here though because honestly who gives a shit. We know it’s fake, we don’t need to compare the differences. And you’re not walking around with the packaging on your face. The price and the fact that I bought these on freakin Aliexpress is the only clue you need that these are fake. As long as it works. Besides, what we really care about here is the quality and accuracy of the shades. So that’s what I am going to focus on.

In no particular order…

Skin Frost in Deep Freeze

The real thing

The real thing

What I received. I used the pic from Ali because my house is yellow and this was the only way I could show you the color accurately

What I received. I used the pic from Ali because my house is yellow and this was the only way I could show you the color accurately



Your first impression will no doubt be the same as mine. It’s not the same color! But honestly?… I like this color. A lot. I don’t know how practical it is as a highlight as opposed to an eyeshadow, but isn’t that how we all feel about the real thing too? So I can’t really complain about this. On my cheekbones I’ll use a light hand if and when I don’t want to look like an alien or a fairy prince. But I do intend on wearing this as a bright-ass eyeshadow. Yas. Whether it will eventually corrode a giant hole into my face and kill me? To be determined.

Skin Frost in Lavender Snow

The real thing

The real thing

What I received

What I received



The color isn’t bad! I’m happy with it. These are all very soft/creamy and easy to blend. I must say though, that when I was swatching this one it was very chunky and had a lot of fallout. This isn’t nearly as much of an issue as when you use a brush instead of your finger. Just be gentle with it.

Skin Frost in Peach Goddess

The Real Thing

The Real Thing

What I received. Take one. Goddamnit, Voltaire

What I received. Take one. Goddamnit, Voltaire

Ok let's try this again. What I received, take 2.

Ok let’s try this again. What I received, take two.



This looks peach in the pan, but has a very cool, almost hot pink shift to it. I think the real one does too, though. I’m not mad at it. This one is also chunky and soft with lots of fallout, but not quite as much as Lavender Snow. Since this does go on fairly pigmented this should be used more as a blush I think. Otherwise it might come off looking pretty weird, mmkay?

Skin Frost in Ice Cold

The real thing

The real thing

What I received. I have to put them on the cat now, just work with me here.

What I received. I have to put them on the cat now, just work with me here.



So this one is obviously quite a bit smaller than the real thing, but you need to ask yourself, do you really care? I mean most of these things cost around five bucks and the real thing is huge. Do you really need that much product? No, you don’t. As for the product itself, I really like it. It’s true to the original’s silvery white shade, soft and blendable like the others, and plenty pigmented. Because white is a neutral and this doesn’t make me look all ashy, this highlighter is one of my standard go-tos.

Skin Frost in So Fucking Gold

The Real Thing

The Real Thing

What I received. Check out that mirror, I'm so unprofessional.

What I received. Check out that mirror, I’m so unprofessional.


How it looks on my face and eyes, because this is what I’m wearing right now. No comment on my lack of skill though. That’s not what this post is about, leave me alone!

Can you tell I use this one a lot? That cross hatch pattern is the pattern of the pan starting to come through. This shade is the same true gold as the real thing. It doesn’t put a gold stripe of pigment on my face, just some real golden glow. I love it. I have no issues with the formula or its smaller size. No complaints at all. Until it kills me anyway. Then I can legit call this fakeup a Beauty Killer. Hah!

So that’s it for the Skin Frosts. If JS doesn’t come over here to kick my ass I’ll be back later with a review of my five fake Velour Liquid Lipsticks. Pray for me, guys. This beauty shit can get ugly.

These Aliexpress Wig Ads are Pretty Funny

Even as adults, we all go through phases. And ever since my mom showed me her massive wig collection from Aliexpress, I’ve been corrupted. Hers weren’t my style at all, but when she told me how cheap they were I went on a shopping spree and still haven’t stopped. But as I sit here at 3am browsing through pages of wigs in all lengths and colors, I’m coming across some ads that are kind of funny, or just strange. Maybe it’s just that something has been lost in translation? Have a look for yourself.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 1.52.38 AMI have no idea what’s going on with that little hat. Was somebody trying to show off their mad photoshop skills?

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 2.21.56 AMThis Elsa wig is literally a drawing.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 2.32.19 AMHey I got my kids’ soccer practice right now but we should totally hook up later.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 2.46.48 AMIt looks like they’re trying to protect this wig’s identity. I don’t understand.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.22.45 AMSpeaking of censorship, is this mannequin’s mouth doing something we’re not supposed to see?

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.40.12 AMI can’t even guess what this mannequin’s neck is doing, but it must be filthy.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 5.05.38 AM

These pigtails are tied with dicks. For some reason.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 2.49.48 AMIt’s nice to finally see a shopping site acknowledging a man’s right to wear really girly hair.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 2.50.37 AMI think they need to get their eyes checked, or I do. Nevertheless, I bought this one.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.39.28 AMIf green is now pink, straight is now curly.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.59.19 AMPro tip: Don’t buy your mom a wig labelled for “old women.”

Anyway, I haven’t been gone, I’ve just been silent. If you’ve missed me in the meantime, feel free to check out my new twitter page @TheAvaStrange. Until next time!

I How I Planned a Hassle-Free Vow Renewal in One Week for Only 22$*

Well, it’s now been a whole five years since Mr. Strange and I were married. And for almost all of that time, I’ve been grumbling bitterly about our wedding. I won’t bore you with the details but let me just say I wanted a do-over. I mean a second do-over, because the two sides of my family are like oil and water and I needed a chance for my dad to be included, too. Well, it happened, and the ironic thing about weddings is it’s the kind of thing that you really do get better at with practice. Now that we’re at #3 I think it’s safe to say we’ve gotten pretty damn good at this.

It started a week before. Our fifth anniversary was coming up, and we wanted to make it special, though our finances were hardly improved since we did the real deal. On that quiet Saturday at work I got into the planning mood, and just out of curiosity I Googled “cheap wedding venues in Winnipeg.” Literally the FIRST suggestion to come up, on Yahoo Answers, was a place I’d never heard of called Pineridge Hollow just outside of town. It’s a restaurant that also includes a clothing and furniture shop, and gorgeous outdoor surroundings specifically intended for weddings. I looked up the place online and really didn’t need to look any further. We made a reservation at the restaurant for 15 people, and didn’t ask for any set-up. A Facebook event was made and that was about it until the day of the event itself. Let me dissect the rest before I go on to describe the evening.

Invitations: None = 0$. We just created a Facebook event like all the kids are doing these days.

You gotta like free.

Rings: We’re already married, so we already had them and didn’t need a ring pillow either. Free again! But if this is your first wedding together, here’s where you can get some unique and affordable options.

Decor: Nothing but nature, baby. And centerpieces? Nah. 0$.

Mr. Strange’s clothes: Nothing but what he already owned; nice black pants, a blue button-down from our real wedding, and a nice hat that he wears often. 0$.

Wedding dress: Years ago I saw a beautiful pale pink cocktail dress online going for just $108. Things sell-out often on that site, so I couldn’t afford to put it off. Because I owned this for so long before the big day, had worn it twice already and will definitely wear it again, I’m not counting it as an expense. It couldn’t be more perfect for the occasion, but in the end I just pulled this out of my closet. 0$.

Veil: I didn’t wear one then, and I didn’t wear one now. $0.

Shoes: It takes a mighty special pair of shoes to not leave my feet beaten and bloodied by the end of the day, and when I find them, I stick with them. Who wants to pay for pain? I’m not a masochist. I wore my everyday shoes, even though they’re black and didn’t technically match my pastel dress. 0$

Hair and makeup: I did this myself instead of visiting a salon, and accessorized my hair with a gold hair vine I wore on our wedding day. I bought nothing new. 0$.

Jewelry: You guessed it, I didn’t wear anything new here either. I wore some “diamond” studded fake tapers (I bought them before I actually started stretching, and if I didn’t wear them now I probably never would) and a key necklace my brother made for me many years ago.

DJ: Music wasn’t involved in this particular vow renewal, but if it had been I would have DJ-ed myself with the help of an iPhone. 0$

Photography: Mr. Strange brought his fancy camera along and we all took turns shooting each other with it. More time would have been nice for this, but oh well. 0$

Food and alcohol: We were at a restaurant and all ordered for ourselves. As a gift, my dad covered the two of us on his bill. So with that, 0$

Wedding cake: We could have ordered dessert with our meal, but we were all full. If this had been a bigger event, I would have bought a lot of cupcakes. But as it stands, 0$

Venue: It does get used for “real” weddings frequently, but as far as our small group was concerned this was little more than some people going to dinner. We also didn’t ask for any special set-up, so the venue fee was 0$.

Officiant: As ours was not a legally binding ceremony, we printed our original wedding ceremony, changed a few words, and had it read by a very good friend. 0$

Other: Vow renewals don’t have wedding parties, which means no bridesmaid’s dresses, groomsmen’s suits, and other various things. While real weddings usually have these things, they’re not a necessity. If you’re broke, consider keeping the wedding party to a minimum and letting them wear their own clothes.

Flowers: this was literally the only true expense in our entire event. They came from the grocery store, and I tied them with gold ribbon from the dollar store. total cost: $22.

That’s it! Sunday morning we got up and went to the Pancake House for brunch, and while we ate Mr. Strange Googled on his phone (he’s such a rude fuck) for an open florist nearby. None were open, so, we headed to the grocery store. I had a small pink and white bouquet in mind, but grocery stores are not usually known for their wide flower selection. What they did have, I think since it was Pride day and it’s huge here, were half-dozen bouquets of rainbow-colored roses for $20. At the dollar store next door I bought two little spools of gold ribbon. When we got home I slightly shortened the stems and wrapped them tightly in the ribbon. DIY florist-ing, bitches!

They're gay, and they're spectacular.

They’re gay, and they’re spectacular.

If you’re curious how this is done and/or want to make some for yourself (of course you do), you start with white roses. Split the bottom of the stem into as many pieces as you want colors, and put each piece into a separate vessel of water, each with a different color of food coloring. As the roses drink up the water, they’ll soak up the color too, and 24 hours and some unicorn farts later, you’ve got yourself the coolest damn roses ever and a whole new way to honor Pride.

So anyway, I did my own hair in a very simple earthy style with just loose curls and a couple pieces on the sides pulled back with my hair vine pinned across the back, and did my own makeup with a little more care than usual. Mike got dressed too and we drove to the venue where we met up with my dad and the rest of our guests.

Pre-event selfie!

Pre-event selfie!

Pineridge Hollow is such a charming little place that I was a little bit sad I hadn’t known about it years ago. It was perfect, exactly what I’d always wanted. Simple, pretty, rustic, full of character, and with a huge outdoor element. Someone else was having a full-on wedding reception in a large tent behind the main building, but it was somewhat tucked away and none of us were in each others way – the area we were in had nobody in it but us. On the lawn and among the scenery we were able to spot no less than 7 wedding arches where a ceremony could be held, including stone steps, beautiful benches and chairs, and a small artificial pond with a little waterfall and a bridge crossing over it into a small space enclosed by… what would you call that? It was like a room made of branches with a couple lanterns hanging from the ceiling. It was the perfect size for our little group, and made it feel wonderfully intimate, so that’s the spot we chose. Theresa, who was my maid of honor at our wedding, read our original though slightly edited ceremony. It was meaningful but it was pleasantly short, just under 10 minutes or so. When it was over we high-fived. It was great.

We all goofed off with the camera for a bit, and at 6pm we headed in for dinner. We were lead upstairs to a minimalist room with hardwood floors, exposed rafters in the high ceilings, and huge windows. The food was gorgeous and delicious, and it felt amazing to be surrounded by so many people who were close to us, knowing they were there to help us celebrate our anniversary. It meant the world to me. My only complaint was that the food was painfully slow to arrive. It took an entire hour and a half. WTF! oh well, if that was our only complaint I guess the whole thing worked out pretty damn well.

Me and the girls

Being surrounded by some of my best friends in the world: Priceless

If I didn’t have such a difficult family situation, which pushed us into eloping, I can honestly say this is exactly what I would have been looking for the first time around. The guest list would have been bigger, we would have sent out proper invitations, and we would have been the ones in the big tent pumping awesome self-DJ-ed tunes. But essentially this was perfect. It was so simple and relaxed we could just focus on how it felt to enjoy each others company. My dad finally got to see us take our vows. It was awesome. I would totally do it again.

Now of course I realize that the chances of anyone recreating this down to the last cent are slim to none, but I hope there are still some ideas in here that you may find helpful. The most important thing about planning a wedding is to prioritize. Think about what really matters to you, focus on that and don’t sweat the rest. Your wedding is over so damn fast, but hopefully your marriage lasts forever.




*Goddamn, that Asterisk makes this look like a shady sales deal. I promise it’s nothing sinister. I just need to mention that if yours is a legal ceremony, there will be some fees involved with that. Then probably rings, and maybe your dad won’t buy you dinner. Plus our guests paid for their own food. Really though, when you consider the cost of the average wedding, this amount is quite negligible.

Androgynous Style

Whether you’re agender, third gender, both genders, or just looking to explore new style territory, androgynous style can be a challenge. But for women, this can be easier to pull off for than for men. Not that men should ever be concerned about what others think either! And while this post is primarily geared towards bio-women, bio-men may find something useful in this as well. Androgyny is for everyone after all. Now, I’ve come to understand that those who really aren’t looking for a feminine style tend to dress a little… lazy. I don’t mean this as a judgement. But when you’re unsure or just a little apathetic, jeans and tshirts can get you into a bit of a rut. Here are some fresh ideas, along with some basics for those looking to try this out for the first time.

First of all, the most important thing I think to ask yourself is – What elements of my current style would I keep if I suddenly woke up in a man’s (or woman’s) body? Even if your answer includes dresses and skirts, these things are part of your style that really fit you and represent who you are. Keep them, no matter how girly (or masculine) they may be. Your answer to this may change day to day and that’s ok too. I know for a fact that if I was a dude I would totally still rock long pointed nails, though I may be more bothered by it when a fresh dye-job stains them pink. Also not such a great idea for job interviews.

Clothes. While I still recommend clothing made for women as they’re tailored to the shape of your body, we’re lucky that unlike it was in the past, it’s easy to find women’s clothes that are inspired by menswear. There are also varying degrees of this and in various styles. We can easily find traditional and edgy suits, boyfriend jeans, and unisex items like tshirts and sweaters, and button downs in any store. Trench coats and pea coats are universally flattering. For underneath, minimizing bras and shapewear for the hips will help streamline those curves, should you so desire.

Accessories. You might not want to wear a tie in the traditional way, but have you thought about wearing one as a belt? Sweater vests look awesome on anyone, and while you may want to skip jewelry altogether, keeping things basic or edgy is a way to make it work with this style. Unisex perfume is available at various shops such as Goth Rosary. Newsboy hats are adorable and dapper. And call me a hipster, but I love pocket watches. I’ve also been known to wear a black underbust corset (of course) in the style of a waistcoat. For many of us, ditching a bag isn’t an option, but you don’t have to carry a traditional purse. Book bags and laptop bags can be carried by anyone. My own favorites are messenger bags because I can wear them instead of carrying them and they’re big enough for my books and all the garbage that eventually piles up inside. These bags also tend to appear much more simple and casual than girly. My new one has a ouija board design.

Hair. You don’t have to get a pixie cut, though I have to say this is gorgeous. Women don’t have a monopoly on long hair, so keep that in mind. For style, simple and natural does the trick. If you like curling your hair, go for tousled waves over perfect ringlets. Bed-head, slicked back, a classic low ponytail or just regular ol’ down are easy. Some other fun options are a pompadour with a ponytail or french twist, or hidden under a hat. If you have long hair and want to fake a cut, sweep your hair back and over your head so that the ends fall down your forehead like bangs. Use a firm headband to hold this in place. Then hide the the majority of it with a hat, and style the front however you like, such as side-swept, bed-head, or spikey. For color consider going all natural, super natural-looking, or try bright and fun colors like blue and green. I’d stay away from natural colors in unnatural shades, like the type of thing you get with brands like Feria.

Makeup. Of course, skipping makeup altogether is the most obvious option, but some of us just aren’t that brave or laid back. To bring out your best without obviously having anything on, try BB cream or a light foundation, translucent powder, and some light bronzer on your temples and under your cheek bones for dimension and contouring. If a more obvious look is more your style, try a bold eye in a neutral color like black or grey, and keep lips looking more natural with a clear or neutral lip balm.

While there’s plenty other info out there on feminine looks inspired by men, there’s an unfortunate lack for those who just want to appear truly androgynous. So if you have any ideas or tips to share please comment or share some pics! Let’s brainstorm this up.

Fall/Winter Fashion – Leggings!

I’m not much of a pants person. Ever since I used to work from home in my pajamas all day I just find them too restrictive, so I stick with skirts and dresses as often as I can. Plus, I barely even own a pair of pants that fit, and I don’t care about them enough to go buy new ones. So my solution to taking your summer wardrobe into the cold seasons? Leggings!

Now there seems to be some confusion about how to wear them. Lots of sites are around to explain it, but still don’t always make it all that simple. And we’ve all seen girls out there who think leggings are pants – they’re not. So to make it easy for you, the most basic rule that I can gather about leggings is cover your butt. Long shirts, blazers and sweaters, and skirts, and dresses all go with leggings. It doesn’t matter how short your top is in front, as long as your butt is covered; for example you can wear a tshirt in an ordinary length if you pair it with a longer cardigan or blazer. If you don’t have anything long enough to wear on top, you can simply add a skirt of just about any kind.

Almost. Leggings are the easiest way to extend the wear of your dresses so you can keep them in your daily rotation all year round, but as a second, though not crucial rule, I find it looks best if your skirt or dress doesn’t extend past your knees. You can feel free to ignore me here but that’s just my own preference. This is why when winter comes I find myself actually looking for mini skirts and mini dresses (and what a great time to find them on sale!) since most of my regular dresses are on the longer side. I just bought a flowy little dress in dusty pink with a black sash and it will look great with black leggings and a black cardigan or blazer. Then when it finally warms up again I can wear it on its own 🙂

Of course at the moment spring seems a very long way off, and I live in the land of the pure evil deep freeze, so when you need to arm yourself against winter like a real pro, leggings also do double duty as long johns, even with themselves (layering 2 or 3 pairs at once has got to be warm enough, especially when you have thermal ones!) So stock up, because leggings are your new best friend.

Some Fabulous For Your Hands

Sometimes I can be trendy. I know, it surprises me too. And this post doesn’t have much of a point besides allowing me to gush about my two favorite things today, nude nail polish and my super kickass knuckle clutch.

I first saw this clutch not too long ago in Vegas. It had brass knuckles that looked like gorgeously gaudy jeweled skull rings, and lots of bling. It seemed like the kind of thing Lady Gaga would have, or some incredibly fashionable movie badass.


I was kind of (ie very) drunk at that particular moment, so my picture-taking hand was less than steady. Nevertheless, can you imagine anything sexier?

IMG_1438 IMG_1439

But I couldn’t really afford it, I mean there was a ton of shopping still to be done back at the Orleans. So I tore myself away.

Well guess what, bitches? One of the awesome ladies I was traveling with remembered my fondness for this thing, and let me know a couple weeks later about a sale going on at a local shop that sold them. And so behold!

IMG_1706 IMG_1707

She is mine! And I couldn’t possibly be happier. These clutches are everywhere this season, and as far as google tells me, are inspired by clutches designed by Alexander McQueen. The real thing can cost up to $4000, but this looks about the same. Pictures don’t do it justice, this thing is sparkly. Now I can look great and beat up anybody who tries to rob me. What a perfect combo.



A couple of Alexander McQueen’s insanely gorgeous designs

But wait, let me add to that. My nails were painted a subtle gold and were a little streaky, with some ever so slight hair dye stains. So I thought I would redo them. I was going to do a nude base before redoing the gold, because the gel I have is a bit on the pink side. But when I saw the nude color alone…


Well now I know why this too is so popular this spring. I think this is to die for, and I think I’ll keep it for a long time. Because my nails are long and pointy I don’t feel that dark colors are very agreeable on them, after all I’m not in music videos. And I’ve never been much of a dark nail color person anyway. But there’s something about this subtle color which is still very edgy. I used Sally Hansen Smooth and Perfect in Dune, and the brush really does allow you to put this on with no streaks at all. It’s pretty amazing. So put that all together and…’


What do you think? I also really love the look of those nail polish strips with the fishnet design. That would be awesome. I’d say my hands are looking mighty fabulous this spring, wouldn’t you?

Cheap vs. Pricey – foundation and eyeliner

So you remember how what’s probably been a year and a half now I decided to upgrade my makeup to the fancy stuff? I was not disappointed, and these are purchases I have continued to make again and again. The thing is, most people aren’t at the same place financially all the time. You go through your ups and downs. And after the move into our first house, an expensive waste of a trip to Toronto, and two dogs all in the same month, we’re not doing as well as we were a few months ago.

So when I volunteered to do the hair and makeup at my company’s annual gala this year, I took it as an opportunity to try out some cheaper brands and see how they compare to the good stuff I use on a regular basis. The results I found were actually pretty surprising.

Let’s start with eyeliner. The expensive stuff I’ve been using is Kat von D’s Autograph Liner, and it costs about 28$. The formula has huge color payoff and lasts all day, and I love the brush. It’s a fantastic liner. When I was in Walmart I tried to find the cheapest eyeliner that took the same form, which is a brush you dip into a little pot. What I found was Wet n Wild Mega Liner, for only four bucks. Even in the world of drug store makeup a 4$ eyeliner is pretty damn rare. For sure what you get in the expensive brand is awesome packaging. I am a huge sucker for that, and I actually don’t mind paying a bit more for something that looks awesome. The surprising thing is though, when you consider the actual product itself, they’re really not all that different. I’ve tried the Mega Liner both with and without primer underneath, and the results are almost the same. It lasts perfectly all day with primer, and has some flaking by the end of the day without. Fading is nil. The only real difference I can tell is the brush. The brush doesn’t have such a fine point on it, so it picks up a lot more of the product. This can result in big messy globs if you’re not careful, and it’s a tiny bit trickier to get those precise little points on the wings, if you do it in that style. But as long as you make sure to wipe off the brush and try to keep a steady hand, I find that the difference is so minimal that until I have enough money to spend on cool packaging alone, I’ll be sticking with the Mega Liner. This also reaffirms that if you’re willing to pay for a good primer, it doesn’t really matter as much what you’re putting on top of it. It really does do a lot to level the playing field between the cheap and expensive brands.

I bought a cheap foundation at the same time. I chose Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse for about 14$ because years ago I actually googled “what is the best foundation” and pretty much everybody said this one. Once again, the packaging sucks next to the big robust purple case with all the the animals and cool font on it from Urban Decay’s Surreal Skin cream to powder foundation, which is about 40$. That much goes without saying. One negative of the Urban Decay though is how little you get. To be sure, it lasts longer than you would expect, it really does. It gives you a much better payoff so you don’t need as much. But come on, it’s 40$. That’s not as gross as what you would pay for, say, Clinique, but it’s still pretty gross and it hurts when you pay for it. I expect a little more for my pain. I also find the brush a bit awkward. But it really is a very good product, with good coverage, a light feel, and a look that is more skin than makeup. I like it a lot. The Dream Matte Mousse is a little bit crumbly, and messy if you don’t use a foundation brush. But overall I find that the quality is very similar. It feels nice going on, you don’t use very much if you use a brush, and I feel like the coverage is also good. Again, it looks like skin more than makeup. The real difference between the two, where I find you really have to make a decision, is the color. Surreal Skin is the color of a person. It’s the color of my face, and that’s really important. Dream Matte Mousse is the color of…someone’s idea of a person maybe. It’s close, but I’m not quite that neon. It’s odd, like skin infused with just a hint of orange fake tan, even though I got the second lightest color they have. This problem has been consistent with virtually every drug store foundation I’ve ever tried. So if you are the color of Dream Matte Mousse, I would say that this is a great buy. You won’t notice much of a difference. I’m not, but the difference isn’t actually so bad that I think anyone would notice, as long as I remember to use it everywhere and not leave patches behind. So I do believe I will keep buying this, at least as long as I still have my summer tan and I’m a little bit broke. But drug store makeup brands – can you PLEASE start making your foundation people-colored? I’m not orange and I don’t want to be!

In both the eyeliner and the foundation I tried, the cheap ones were of surprisingly good, and close enough to the expensive brand. If packaging isn’t all that important to you I highly recommend you try these as an alternative to that guilty feeling you get after leaving Sephora, at least if you’re temporarily broke. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to try to put the cheap stuff inside the packaging of the fancy stuff. Take that. Cleverness wins.

Products I Just Like – Mini Reviews 1

There are a lot of products I like, but not all of them are enough to get a full review. I just don’t have that much to say about them. So here are some mini reviews, all mashed together into a reasonable length post.

Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray. This works. That’s rare. And I like that. It’s awesome not to look like I just woke up in my makeup by the end of my shift. $15 isn’t even all that much to spend on a little bottle that will probably last a reasonable amount of time. Definitely will re-purchase.

Annabelle makeup pencils. There are certain things I just don’t feel it’s necessary to spend a ton of money on at Sephora. Lip and eye pencils are a couple of those things. Annabelle pencils go on smooth, precise, and come in great colors. Lately I especially love their eyebrow pencil in Auburn. I was really surprised how well this matched my hair. I mean it matches pretty much exactly, and no other brand seems to carry anything but brown and light brown. It also has a little brow brush on the cap. It looks great, I love it.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. Wow, that’s a mouth full. But I got this years ago, and I’m still loving it. It really does calm down the bags under your eyes, and it feels really nice. It’s part of my daily routine.

Covergirl Outlast. I despise every sad piece of garbage CG makes. Except this. I’ve tried MAC, Makeup Forever, all that stuff, and while I love the deep impact of Makeup Forever matte red, Outlast is an exceptional choice of red for daytime if you don’t like to add a touch of whore to your morning like I do. It really lasts all day (longer than Makeup Forever), even through meals, feels like you’re not wearing anything, and the colors are great. It’s like a lipstick tattoo, it’s crazy. Just make sure you give it plenty of time to dry before putting the balm on. Who told you to put the balm on? Did I tell you to put the balm on? I didn’t tell you to put the balm on!

Garnier Skin Renew The Brusher Gel Cleanser. I think that’s what it’s called, it’s what’s on the bottle. I never thought I would stray from Soap and Glory Scrub Your Nose In It, and I still LOVE that, but what makes this is the rubber brush. At first I was disappointed and thought it wouldn’t be as good as a “real” brush, but now I see that it’s really massaging and is much easier to get clean instead of it being a bacteria trap. From the first time I used this my skin was very noticeably softer and smoother, and I could even tell when Mike tried it out. It also just felt so amazingly clean, this is the reason I now look forward to washing my face. I wish they made a whole body version. I love Garnier anything. It’s like anti-aging for cool younger women. I’m impressed that all their stuff actually does what they say it does. I’d like to think it’s because of Garnier that I’m no longer embarrassed about what I look like without makeup on. In fact for my next thing of foundation I feel comfortable downgrading back to a drug store brand. I’m only using the fancy one I still have on small areas now.

Garnier BB Cream. While we’re on that subject, here’s yet another from Garnier. From the research I’ve done, I think I can safely establish that this is NOT the very best BB cream out there. And I think that would depend on you and your skin needs anyway. But it’s the first one I’ve tried and I like it. The coverage is a definite step up from tinted moisturizer, it has anti-oxidants, and it means I don’t have to worry about putting on sunscreen. It’s a time saver, and it does make my skin look better, more even with a better tone. I don’t know what else it’s contributing to because I’m using a lot of Garnier stuff lately, but my skin has been steadily improving ever since.

‘NRage hair color. I’ve always used Punky Color for my hair dye because Bea told me it lasted the longest, and she’s right. But one beef I’ve always had is that the colors are just so unpredictable. They never look like the label or the swatches. Online searches are pretty useless too. I once used Red Wine expecting to get a nice deep red and my hair turned hot pink. Lucky for me I still loved it. But when you want something specific it’s a bit risky. My drug store also carries ‘NRage, and this is what I use now. The quality, smell, and lasting power is the same if not better than Punky, I can’t tell the difference, except that you know exactly what you’re getting with their colors. The selection is a whole lot smaller, however the colors they have are the best. Their red is the perfect red. Their purple is the perfect purple. Their pink is the perfect pink. The only thing I don’t like is the bottle. It’s impossible to get all the dye out of there. So damn frustrating. I also have to mention that this it the first “funny color” dye brand to make a one-step box version, with developer included. No need to bleach first! Finally!
Tea tree oil. Anything tea tree oil is fantastic for fighting blemishes, the best thing I’ve ever tried. You can get a whole ton of it at The Body Shop, face wipes, toner, night cream, everything you can think of. Their tea tree oil blemish stick has been a life-saver of mine for years. Trust me. Try it.


I’ll just stop here for now and update if I think of any more in the near future. It’s posting night!

Jupiter Moon 3 Corsets

One fun and scary thing about custom corsets is you never know exactly what you’re going to get. Each one is completely unique, made just for you and a combination of your design specifications and the corset maker’s interpretation of your ideas. I recently had the great pleasure of trying Jupiter Moon 3 for the first time. As far as my own experience goes, I think she’s the best yet.

So I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I’m off standard corsets, but I’m no designer. I have zero talent for it, though ordering custom does require you to be able to pull some sort of idea out of your ass so the corset maker knows what to do. My idea took months to refine, and I’m sure my friends are still making fun of me for how much I agonized over every last detail. But you must understand, my money needs to go a long way, and I am very, very fussy when it comes to my corsets. I can find fault with absolutely anything.

The design I finally settled on was powder blue satin with black lace over the hips and f-hole shaped appliques over the front and back with a matching bra. This underbust + bra arrangement is absolutely genius by the way. For the price of the bra your corset can now be worn as both an underbust and overbust, and you have a sexy fancy new bra too. Once I had finalized my design I came across this, which happened to be just so similar it became my inspiration, even after the fact. This is what I aspired my corset to be.

You’re drooling now, aren’t you? Anyway, the process took a while because Jennifer, the lady behind Jupiter Moon 3, is a very busy lady indeed. I let her know that it was imperative that I have my corset by mid-August so I would have time to break it in before Toronto Fan Expo, and that as long as that happened I was happy. I got exactly what I asked for. I admit I had started to worry, but she shipped express to make sure I had it, and got a tracking number too just in case. I’m extremely grateful.

What I got was not what had been in my head, but it is definitely what I had described, and it is just so completely gorgeous. This is the kind of corset you fantasize about. This is the kind of corset you get married in. I want to wear it every day for the rest of my life. Because it works under clothes, I think I will. I’m sitting around on my couch in it right now with my hair in rollers, just because. The lace at the sides contours over the top of the hips and around the waist, connecting to the appliques in front and back. The appliques most definitely don’t look just like f-holes, but I image that would be pretty damn hard to find, and they resemble the example images I sent so exactly I wonder if those aren’t the ones she got for me. They even have little sequins in them for a bit of sparkle. Because I had decided not to get lace trim at the top, the bra creates a perfect overbust effect when worn with it. It’s exactly what I had hoped for.

Another thing I noticed – even before I opened the package because it was smaller than I expected – was that the corset is VERY light. Typical corsets have a few layers of heavy coutil and spiral steel bones, which have some heft to them. In fact if you never saw this corset on a person you might assume it was plastic just to hold it. It’s really pretty amazing. But the bones are indeed steel, flat, not spiral, and there are 3 layers of fabric in the design. The lining is super soft cotton. This would make a fantastic summer corset. And despite this it absolutely is capable of giving me the exact shape I need with the right amount of reduction.

The busk in front has a very soft curve to it almost reminiscent of a spoon busk, or maybe it’s just the perfect amount of flexible, that my tummy is held in while I still get waist compression from the front, which is rare since most busks are super straight and rigid, so I find this such a bonus. The bones at the back don’t buckle EVEN when I bend over with the laces untied, and the fabric doesn’t bubble either. You read that right, I can bend over – at the waist. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so flexible it flops around giving you no support. But when I really need to I can bed just enough to get my business done in the bathroom and get out of a car. And what a difference that makes when you wear a corset every day. It’s strong and it fits and it lets me move and holy crap it’s so damn comfortable. I’m super impressed.

Would I recommend Jupiter Moon 3? Yes. Jupiter Moon 3 shows every sign of being everything I’ve been looking for. I will definitely be ordering from her again, as soon as I can afford it, and I’ll be doing it with confidence. I think I may have found The One.