A Very Indie Black Friday

Some facts about me and holidays:

  • Christmas is my favorite holiday (if you don’t count my birthday). It’s actually two holidays: Christmas and Fishmas. Anytime you’re at an aquarium from December 1st to January 1st you are honoring the spirit of Fishmas. (Concertina Press makes Fishmas Cards!)
  • Yes, I am an atheist. Yes, Christmas is my favorite holiday. No, I don’t have any problem reconciling that. I’m Germanic/Slavic, I’d still be bringing trees indoors even without Jesus.
  • My love of Christmas in pretty contingent on not going out in public between Black Friday and Christmas Eve because throngs of consumerist bullshit are just not my jam.
  • I’m behind if I haven’t finished my shopping by Halloween
  • I have harassed the Reese’s twitter not less than five times to just make some g.d. peanut butter turkeys and the misers have never responded.

Black Friday is just about the worst thing ever to me. Like, it disgusts me down to the very core of my being and I hate you a little bit if you participate. That’s just how it goes. To me, Christmas is about gift giving and excessive baking, not turning into some miserly, over-stressed, Martha Stewart wannabe. Which is why I try to avoid my mother during the holidays. I’m not being a joyful little sugar cookie of a human being when I am crammed in a long-ass line trying to buy a discount sweater. I ended up spending an entire Black Friday in the mall one year because my car was having work done across the street and it was my own personal Hell. Like, if Hell is real and customized, it will be That Mall on Black Friday and I will weep for eternity. And while I know that my one person is barely a piece of sand in the shoe of the American Corporate Goliath I still work very hard to intentionally spend zero dollars on any kind of thing on Black Friday (this year I already know I will be buying gas and turnpike rest stop food).

Still reading? Good, because we’re getting to the point (which I promise is not “Hershey is a horrible, unethical company for refusing to give into my demands for a Thanksgiving-themed peanut butter item).

This year, I have noticed a lot of the Indie make-up companies I follow (whether I’ve tried them or not) are having some super awesome Black Friday sales? Why Black Friday and not Cyber Monday? I dunno, probably cuz it’s pretty weird to just have a day dedicated to staying home and shopping in your snuggies. This here is a round-up of every Indie Black Friday Special I’ve come across. Missed one? Add it in the comments and let’s get this Master Post going!

AFKDetails tba

Alchimia ApothecarySeasonal scents and gift cards but no specific word on Black Friday yet!

AromaleighExclusive GWP for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, also their seasonal Sol Invictus collection is available

BaroquePalettes, 20% off codes tba before the sale on their FB

Bear’s Beauty25% off any order of $50 or more is going on RIGHT NOW, Black Friday sales TBA

Blue Piano: 40% off a select section (with the potential for a 30% off the entire store… see comments for details!)

Darling GirlFlash sales on Saturday, 20% off gift coupons on Friday. Details info here.

Geek ChicStore will reopen for sale, details tba. “Ever in Your Favor” collection to go live (sidenote: Please let’s collectively agree to come up with a different Hunger Games reference… what about the Districts, or the Odds… anything!)

Hello WaffleRelease of the limited edition “Kitty Kingdom” collection, a limited selection of items to select from (list viewable here), and weekend- long sales

Life’s EntropyNew permanent and LE products, discounts, GWP. Details here

Notoriously Morbid: Direct quote (video will autoplay, adjust volume accordingly) “Each purchase of the Black Friday Exclusive collection of five Limited Edition shadows will include a surprise code* for 30, 40 or even 50% off each purchase made for one year”

ShiroHaving a sale, details TBA

Ten Three LabsOffering held/combined shipping on any currently open orders or orders placed before Black Friday, 20% off (with code), grand re-opening Bob’s Burgers collection and if you spend >$5 you will get a GWP. A Hunger Games collection that ISN’T called “Ever in Your Favor.” May or May Not include a free pony.

I’ll try to update this if I see more info being released and please, if you know an indie brand that is doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal leave a comment! It doesn’t even have to be cosmetic related to count! Happy Holiday Shopping!


Psst: Kate Spade is having a give away (details on the home page of her site) to win a $1,000 gift card plus 4 more for your friends. I entered and you should too (and give one of the gift cards to me if you win so that I can buy this dress and pretend I’m as pretty as Anna Kendrick)


Shit I’ve Backed on Kickstarter, or, An Itemized Look at my Credit Card Debt

I typed that title out and then thought “wow, that’s kind of an irreverent way to talk about all the pretty cool stuff I’ve gotten through Kickstarter…” and then I remembered the title I intentionally gave this blog when I started it and figured I was all good. given that nothing I’ve backed has resulted in my receiving essential items I need to live my life I suppose there’s an argument to be made.

Rather than make this post as I got things, I waited til this round of rewards all came in. So I’ve had some of this stuff for MONTHS now and have done you all a disservice by not announcing it right away. My bad.

If you’re living under a rock without internet, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site for STUFF. Unlike GoFundMe- which is for assuaging your existential crisis through online charity, or IndieGoGo- which is for… art house indie films? I am not sure! Anywho, in many ways Kickstarter is just a preordering system with no guarantee you’ll actually get your stuff because if it doesn’t get funded you don’t have to pay.

So it’s preordering with added adrenaline rush of uncertainty!

It’s also led me to make several large pledges and then curse myself out when the thing is funded and I have to pony up.

Whatever, I own a motherfucking Starwhal. And you don’t. Probably.

Kickstarter #1: Silver Lining Productions

My pledge tier merely received a sticker, but whatever. I backed this project because I actually know the ladies involved. The Redoux Parlour was practically in the backyard of the roach-motel I spent my last six months in Eugene living in (note: The Redoux Parlour does not appear to have anything to do with roaches). In short: I support people I’ve met and sold my used clothing too, I support more local manufacturing, I support US based manufacturing companies that AREN’T involved with disgusting alleged rapists, the hand-made clothing that was for sale in the Redoux Parlour was badass and even though I couldn’t afford any of it I wanted to. Check them out!

Kickstarter #2: The Tentatrio (and Starwhal)

When Seanan McGuire started tweeting about Starwhals, I did what any logical person would do: I backed my ass up right to the Tentatrio Kickstarter page. Once there I discovered that I wanted them ALL so scooted on over to the tier that nabbed me four plushies, a tote bag, postcards, stickers, and a pin. They go quite well with my Korean Seal and Dollar Store Cuddly Cousin. You too can have a Starwhal, or an Ika, or a Jellyblub, or a Sweetoof!

Kickstarter #3: Monsters of the Deep

I’m a sucker for fish. Fish and folklore. So the Monsters of the Deep “zine” really spoke to me. I got a physical copy and the post cards. This was a pretty cool anthology, even though the work of the different artists felt inconsistent in skill/quality. Some of the comic style pages were hard to read. Still, the double-sided book (half fiction, half reality) is a real neat endeavor and I’m glad I have it! Plus now I can send someone a postcard with mermaid boobs. Cross that one off my bucket list. You can learn more about the appropriately named Nessie Press here.

Kickstarter #4: Snorffles and Meeps

I somehow discovered Snorffles and Meeps through the Tentatrio but don’t remember how. Regardless, I was sold on a nice book of cute animal arts that I could put on the nightstand we use as a coffee table. I got the book, an 8X10 tiger print (tigers are my favorite!), notecards, stickers (I got the guinea pig! hooray!), the goat tote, and a cat pin. The Snorffles and Meeps site that is linked on the kickstarter page doesn’t work, but I can send you to the artists’ shops! Jeannine Schafer and Steph Laberis.

Other Projects:

The Equal Writes Campaign: I merely pledged a dollar so that it could be known: I support women in publishing. Shebooks is an e-book company focusing on publishing the work of women writer’s, which I think is totally cool.

Pug-let: I had pledged enough for two tickets, I’m close enough that I could make a Providence showing of Hamlet with Pugs. Then the project got funded and I had a “look at your life, look at your spending habits” moment and canceled my pledge. They did alright with out me so I don’t feel too bad. Would’ve liked to play with all the pugs though. The writings of Kevin Broccoli can be seen here.

And if you want to see actual shit that is on Kickstarter, here you go!

My New England is Showing and Other Topics

When I pick locations from my story I basically pull things out of my ass, or Google maps. In my writing folder I have stories set in Nantucket, San Francisco/LA/Portland, Central Pennsylvania, and the current NaNo project, set in Oklahoma and Texas.

So when my characters, all of whom grew up in OK or TX are talking and I really get my dialogue rolling what happens?

Someone slips out a “wicked.”

If my Nantucket selkies want to qualify every word they say with a “wicked” that is totally fine, they can get away with it. Anyone else? Well, I could have set my story in backwoods Maine, or an anti-government compound in New Hampshire, but it wouldn’t have felt as right.

Authentic dialogue isn’t a typical problem I face (smooth exposition, on the other hand…) but not using “wicked” as a qualifier is so ingrained in me that it’s simply just How People Speak. Which it is not. Which is wicked stupid. Like, what do you other people say? How do you get through life without throwing out random “wickeds” and “fucking a’s”? The only good thing about moving back here is that I talk like (almost) everyone else. I don’t have the Boston/New England accent (thank fuck.) and there’s a little more Pennsylvanian than New Englanders are used to (thanks, Mom and Dad!), but at least people know what I mean when I say wicked.

I just have to make sure it doesn’t inappropriately weasel it’s way into my dialogue. I’m still behind, but catching up. If I neglect my school work this weekend I can totally close the gap. Ha, I wish… (that I could neglect my work, I do want to close the gap).

Other life events include: A job opening I was not expecting to happen for awhile. I still love the job I have, but the opening is for a position much higher up the career ladder than “glorified secretary” and I feel like I have to apply. I’ve been planning to apply when it opened, actually, I just thought I would have more time… like until I finished grad school!

So to make myself look the best I’m debating doing school and work full-time next semester, which would really only be taking one more class but I don’t know if I have the time and mental fortitude to handle it. I want to, but reality doesn’t always respect my wishes. Oof. This has been a hell of a year.

And finally, in the not too distant past, Earth to Bella nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog” award. Which is super awesome. I won’t be nominating anyone directly because that is not my jam, but if you’re a follower of this site, consider yourself loved. I will do the “post seven facts” part in an interest to stop being so cagey about my personal self.

  1. My favorite color is blue, flavor/scent is almond, fruit is raspberries, movie is Mean Girls, and book is Cat’s Cradle
  2. I started this blog to familiarize myself with site designs, then I made my first purchase of Shiro Cosmetics and was hooked on indie/wanted to share that. I still don’t consider myself a full review blog.
  3. Important personalities in my life include my younger brother, my very best friend, my other best friend, my cat, and my almost fiance.
  4. This year will be longest consecutive amount of time I’ve spent in New England since I turned 18 (in 2006)
  5. I’m in an online Library Science program- going for my Master’s in Library Science with a concentration in Archives
  6. I love archiving and am happy in the profession but my dream has always been to be a fish doctor. You haven’t had fun until you’ve pulled fish lice off an oranda!
  7. I didn’t purchase make up until I was 20, and didn’t start wearing it regularly until I was 22. I thought I had to chose between being smart and being fancy, now I know that’s a lie and that you can (and should!) be both.

Re-review: OHWTO

I got a giant haul from One Hand Washes the Other (previously reviewed here) about a month ago (maybe more).

And over half of what I bought is Christmas Presents and I can’t share it with you.

I did order a larger Black Magic Bar to replace the first one that I used up.

I also decided to try some of their Indulgence Cream and I picked the scent “Pasticceria,” which is described on the scent list as “An Italian pastry shop, the pasticceria has all the best dessert smells in the world. Marzipan, hazelnut, almonds, vanilla, cakes, assorted pastries, frosting, and of course, pure sugar. It’s not edible, please don’t try.”

Holy yum. Marzipan (made from almonds), almonds, filberts? CAKE?? PASTRIES??? This scent was made for me. I would move into a vat of this stuff if I could. It smells like my much coveted Burt’s Bee’s Almond Milk Hand Cream but BETTER and less greasy. The Indulgences aren’t designed to be specific hand creams but I can use them on mine and it soaks in effectively enough that I can touch my face and hair throughout the day without gross, oily transfer. Also, the Burt’s Bees is $9 for two ounces, and the Indulgences are $7 for four ounces. Hmmmm…

There’s just one problem. Manbeast hates it. Neither of us are particularly scent-oriented people. He doesn’t wear cologne, I don’t do perfume with any regularity and we generally stick to unscented or lightly scented products in regards to soaps and deodorants. Conflicting scent opinions aren’t a problem we usually have.

So we compromised: I get to smell like I rolled in almond paste, and he can fucking deal. The scent doesn’t stay super strong for a really long time and we spend most of the day apart anyways.

Irreverent on the Internet, giving you A+ relationship advice since… this post!

I adore this scent so much. I will absolutely be buying more of this scent, in its indulgence for and in whatever form OHWTO will let me have it in.


And there’s other stuff, so if you’re one of those really horrible people who is like “ew, almonds” (or if you’re a Jonestown survivor who associates the scent with cyanide…), you can still indulge in an Indulgence with any of the other fragrances on stock. I already am a fan of the Raspberry Gingerale scent, and I think Samovar and Memento both sounds like great options, but there should be something for everyone. If you haven’t tried OHWTO yet, please, remedy that posthaste!

Irreverent Reviews: Ten Three Labs

Let’s talk about Reddit real quick, shall we?

I fucking hate that site.

I’ve heard complaints about the content, the people, and the moderation, but that was all after I decided I wanted nothing to do with Reddit. So what mortal sin did they commit to drive me away from their site forever?

Well, I tried to read an AMA (that’s an “Ask Me Anything” for someone completely uninitiated) and wound up so confused and annoyed with the site aesthetics I closed that tab and have never been back.

But apparently I’m missing out, because if you poke around other beauty blogging sites you see r/IMAM mentioned quite a lot. That stands for Reddit: Indie Makeup and More. I know because I was kind enough to Google that for you, like the reference librarian my classes are apparently training me to be.

So what on earth does this have to do with Ten Three Labs? Apparently if I Reddit-ed I would find out about indie make-up start-ups sooner. As it stands, I discover them when sites like Etherealize Me review them. What drew me to actually make a purchase from Ten Three was the “Bad Bitch” collection. I am pro-honoring awesome women, pro-reclaiming the word “bitch,” and pro-anything that makes a reference to  Erzsebet Bathory (even though she is less of a “bad bitch in the sense that we are reclaiming the word female empowerment woo” and more of a “serial killer”).


My order arrived packaged with a fortune telling fish (that proceeded to completely wig out in my hand, there was not a decoding offered for that reaction), a lollipop (“candy with your order” might be my favorite indie makeup trend) and some marigold seeds in honor of the creator’s mother’s “black thumb.” To which I say “oh honey, you sent those to the wrong person.” But maybe I’ll have some luck this time, I’m going to save them til the spring to give the little buggers a fighting chance.


In addition to a growing eye shadow collection, Ten Three Labs also offers tinted and non-tinted lip balms and and some unique scents. Based on their Twitter description the motto seems to be “Indie Cosmetics for the Strange and Unusual.” Like many indie sites, the collection names are referential. Ten Three has a pretty high occurence of references I appreciate and/or get. One of the tinted smudge sticks is called “Tiger, Tiger,” a reference to my all-time favorite poem. I couldn’t justify getting a squashy-orange color lip tint though. While I’m prone to dying my hair different shades of orange, it would have to be deeper for me to put it on my lips. I still kinda want it though.

I did opt to try one of the untinted Salve Sticks in “Nightlock,” the blackberry pomegranate scent. These are nice, moisturizing formulas with way more than just a “hint” of peppermint oil. Mine had a very strong peppermint scent and taste (and it made my lips tingle). It took some time to get used to the added MINT!! but ultimately I like it. They are in the same oval shape that Notoriously Morbid’s Coffin Kissers are in, and I still don’t like it as much as plain round.

In the interest of trying as much product as possible to give the most well-rounded view, I also sampled one of their scents. I chose “Dark Eyed-Daughter” which is described as “Brown sugar, almond, gardenia, lotus, cranberry and plum.” This smells seriously good, lots of the almond notes. Almond is my absolute favorite scent in the world and I was a little nervous it would get lost under the fruity/floral notes. Fortunately that is not the case. Mmmmm almonds.


I made my order at the very end of October. The color of the month was called “Shelley’s Big Eye.” My boundless hatred of Hemlock Grove compelled me  to purchase that color. It is a nice color and it make 100% more sense than any part of the show at all. This was a full-size shadow. A sifter was included for me to add on my own, but was NOT in the actual eyeshadow um, tub? jar? This is half the reason I just buy “baggies.” Anywho, in spite of my knowledge that there was no sifter, I almost dumped it on myself like the graceful swan creature I am.


I ordered the full sample size of the Bad Bitch collection because I wanted to try them all!


Bathory: Named the Hungarian Countess who thought that bathing in the blood of virgins would keep her young, this is a matte dried blood color, perfect to honor it’s namesake. As a bonus, when I went to remove the swatches this color ran down my arm and overpowered all the other ones, giving a bloody, spooky effect. Erzsebet would be so proud.

Pearl: Named for Pearl S. Buck, the anthropologist and adoption advocate whose beautiful home is in the running for our wedding venue! A pearly brown color that honestly matches the stones used to build the house quite nicely! I solemnly promise to use this color in my makeup if I do get hitched at the house.

Dandridge: Named for Dorothy Dandridge, an African-American film star from Hollywood’s Golden Era, this is a shimmery orange/red.

Murasaki: Named for Lady Murasaki Shikibu, courtesan in feudal Japan and author of the world’s first novel: The Tale of Genji. I’ve actually read Genji, and my honest take on the book is that it’s probably not going to interest you unless you have a background knowledge and interest in feudal Japan and Japanese court culture. That said, literature ended up being a pretty dude-dominated field, so it’s nice to have the reminder that we owe it all to a badass lady we know practically nothing about. This is a nice shimmery light purple color, described on the site as “violet” even though I think it’s more of a lilac. Either way, it’s an appropriate color as the Purple Gromwell flower is called “murasaki” in Japanese, and used to make the purple dye for kimonos.

Hatshepsut: Named for the Circe to Egypt’s own underaged Joffrey, acting as ruler for the too-young technical heir. Like all Egyptians, she marked her reign with some impressive architecture, and like some Egyptians her successors tried to wipe her from memory because she just annoyed them that much. This is an incredible gold color that is very fitting of a deceased Egyptian Monarch. Much like Darling Girl’s Antiquity, this shadow is proof that if you want gold, you go indie.

Coretta: Named for Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. and activist in her own right. This is a nice green that kind of looks like the David’s Bridal color “clover” (how it appears in person, not on their website.)


Antoinette: Named for bungling (and headless) French monarch Marie Antoinette, this is a very shimmery pale pink that looks straight out of the color palette from the Sophia Copolla film with the same inspiration. It didn’t swatch for me very well.

Cruz: Named for “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz. This shimmery seafoam green is similar to my all-time favorite eyeshadow, Aromaleigh’s Hellebore. Selfish wish: That this color had been blue, like Celia’s hair/Grammy dress.

Seondeok: Named for the ancient Korean Queen. When I taught in Korea I forced my students to do a report on famous women during the month of March. I got the expected number of pop idols, but a lot of the girls picked Seondeok for their reports. This shimmery white has just a hint of a green sheen, kind of resembling some of the lighter pieces of jade.

Sotomayor: If you get no other reference, I hope you get this one, as Sonia Sotomayor was appointed the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice less than ten years ago! This is definitely a “black” color, but it’s not a really deep coal black. I’d say it’s bordering on grey, even though it is black (some of the photos on the site make it look like it has a greenish sheen, I didn’t catch any of that in person). I imagine you could build it up to be a darker color with some effort.

Hiawatha: So, I’ve skimmed Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, and I’m pretty sure the title character is a dude. Perhaps the reference is supposed to be to the fictional Minnehaha? Either way, this lovely purple is evocative of the Iroquois flag.

Flip: I got this color as a sample, I cannot find it on the website! It is not part of the Bad Bitches collection. It is a shiny brown.


Joyce: (this one got separated and I almost forgot to swatch it!). Named for African-American singer and actress Joyce Bryant, this is the perfect shade to honor a woman known as the “Bronze Bombshell.”

Overall: Some of the shadows did more for me than the others. There’s room for growth, but a strong enough base that you can go ahead and enjoy what is there, you don’t have to sit back and say “eh… let’s see where this is going.” I’m overall pleased and would repurchase from this shop (maybe I’ll cave and get Tiger, Tiger). I think I’m most impressed with the scent . I also really appreciated that the Bad Bitch collection included women from very long ago to the present day, from different races, countries, and professions. I think the website could use a little organizing, it’s hard to tell if colors belong to sets or not, and there’s no way to see just sets or just individuals. Nothing major, and nothing prohibitive!

Irreverent Reviews: eShakti

Do you ever have slow, languid days that aren’t bad, per se, but they aren’t really anything? And then you find out you have packages waiting for you and the whole day brightens up?

And then you open up the box and discover you have to return EVERYTHING?

Le sigh.

eShakti is a pricey online site that offers a customization and expanded sizes on all their clothing. I have a navy blue jacket from the site that is stylish, well-made from good quality materials, and a perfect fit.

I’m 5’8″ and have a near-impossible time finding dresses that are long enough for me (that aren’t maxi dresses), so knowing I could order an eShakti dress and having it fall below or at my knees was a blessed miracle. AND I could get custom sleeves! I love wearing dresses, and paired with leggings I have a great office appropriate fall/winter outfit. I can get most eShakti dresses with long sleeves. Hooray!

They’ve been having a buy two, get one free sale (which ends Sunday), so I bought two and got one free! I consulted their sizing chart and thought that by getting a 10 I would be sizing up for my measurements. What I ultimately ended up with are three dresses that I cannot fit into, especially in the chest area. They have to go back.

I’m confused because I went off of measurements that I have used before. Since my other clothes still fit me, I’m unsure what exactly happened. eShakti does not have free shipping on returns, and they do not do exchanges, so I can’t merely swap the three otherwise beautiful dresses out for size 14s. The exchange will be given to me in form of store credit, which is fine, but I am not optimistic the return will even get to them before the 9th. I’m sort of at a loss for what to do, this was an  splurge to take advantage of a good deal. I was considering ordering another few, but now I guess I have to reorder the ones I otherwise loved? I’m incredibly nervous about the sizing now. Also, shipping increases the more expensive the order total is.

These clothes ARE high quality though, and a lot of their prices are comparable to ModCloth, but the workmanship just excels beyond the ModCloth price point. But, I can buy as much as I want at ModCloth and if it doesn’t work out I get free returns, which is a really handy thing when you can ONLY order online (and when it takes you three tries to just realize you need to buy your shoes elsewhere).

This order was a huge disappointment to me.  The size thing is frustrating and unexpected. If you’re ordering I would also suggest removing the pockets, to help the dresses fall better.

I don’t know how I’ll resolve this, but it’s pretty frustrating. It’s also frustrating that I contacted customer service about a coupon code not working, and so far the suggested solutions haven’t enabled me to use it. I hope I get that sorted before this sale ends.

NaNo Second

Ohhhhh NaNoWriMo.

It’s coming along, in a completely different way than I originally planned.

I started a story this summer, playing around with some urban fantasy stuff. The plan was to have that at about 50k words and ready to sit and stew a little by November. Then I had one of two partially started pieces that I could work on during NaNo (writing 50k new words, obviously).

I never finished that first story and ended up starting a completely different one for NaNo because it was fresh and interesting and why not?

So I’m running a little behind, trying to juggle everything, and I’ve been really bad about updating my word count on the site even when I am writing. But none of that is really the point of this post.

I was made aware of the existence of French Press Bookworks by one of their future authors, Ana is the Bookworm. Ana shared This post over on the French Press blog. In short, submit the first chapter of your NaNo manuscript, and you could win a publishing deal (explained in detail at the post). So I did it! And you can too! Whether or not I win this was a great (if seemingly small) proactive step in making “writer” my second job, and it’s really great motivation- I don’t want to be super behind if I get picked! I’ve never shopped editors/publishers before because I never felt ready, but there really is no time like the present. We’ll see what happens and in the meantime I’ll keep chugging along because and hopefully cover the distance because I have some busy weekends this month.