Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Talk About Foundation.

For pale beauties, finding the right foundation is often complicated.  Drugstore foundations never get the color right, mineral foundations oxidize into bizarre colors, and almost everything breaks me out.  Seriously, I can't even wear Bare Minerals Matte, which is supposed to be the "good" one if your skin is sensitive.  If I put it on, I have a guaranteed pimple on my chin by the end of the night.  Speaking of pimples, I've struggled with Acne and terrible redness in my cheeks and nose for ten years.

Finally, at twenty-two, I'm taking charge of my skin.  And what I've found out is oh so simple:  I've likely been allergic to everything I've been putting on my face for the last ten years.  Once I started looking at ingredients of products I had been using, I found that known skin irritants were in all of them, especially the anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid.  Could I have been GIVING myself acne and redness with the products I was putting on my face to ward them off?

Yes.  Yes I was.  And maybe you are, too.  But the madness can end here, today, by switching to natural skincare products.  It's really not that difficult or expensive, which is what had kept me using Neutrogena for those ten years.  Most Target stores now have a "natural" section in their beauty department, and that's how I found Burt's Bees.  I've been using their Sensitive skincare line (cleanser/daily moisturizer) for over a month now, and my face isn't RED anymore.  It's still quite oily, and there's a shadow of a pimple on my chin, so perhaps it's not my Holy Grail of skincare.  But it's a step in the right direction.  Update:  I'm going to make a part deux to this most, as I'm NOT using Burt's Bees anymore.  It was MUCH better than Neutrogena, but it still gave my skin problems and I've stopped using it.

How To Figure Out If You're Pissing Off Your Skin:

  1. Get a natural, sensitive-skin friendly cleanser and moisturizer.  I recommend Burt's Bees because it's readily available at Target, but there are WAY more options out there.  I can't stress enough that it needs to be natural, fragrance-free, and allergy-free.  I used some Philosophy cleanser (supposedly the gentlest stuff for skin) and I had such a bad allergic reaction to it that my face was pretty much on fire.  I must not have been the only one, as it is mysteriously not on sale anymore. 
  2. Cleanse and moisturize your skin morning (or afternoon, if you're nocturnal like me) and night, and, on days that you wear makeup, use a toner after cleansing.  I like rosewater/glycerin toners (of course BB has one).  They're pretty good at sucking up oil, too.  You can try using it every night, but I haven't yet done the skin piss-off test with it.  I imagine it doesn't irritate.  
  3. Don't think that because your face is oily you don't need moisturizer.  Because you do. Morning and night.  Everyone does.  Except people that don't have issues with their skin, but we hate them.
  4. If you have REALLY bad acne, get some Zapzyt benzoyl peroxide gel (found at most Wal Marts and drugstores).  It doesn't have any irritating fillers.  It's pretty drying, but if you use your moisturizer day and night you shouldn't get any dryness.
  5. Try not to wear any foundation for a week.  This may be impossible if you go out in public a lot, but try your best!  Even just putting on powder may break you out!  It did for me.  I don't ever leave my house, so this step was simple to accomplish.
  6. Once your face is looking pretty damn good, introduce your favorite foundation.  If it pisses your skin off, you'll likely notice by the end of the night.  My reactions always happen on my chin.  Also, if you have bangs, forehead acne is just inevitable.
  7. If that foundation pissed your skin off, wait for the reaction to clear up and try a new one.      
And that's how it's done!  I've been trying a new mineral foundation from Faerie Organic, and the lightest shade (Porcelain) is a beautifully perfect match!  They sell samples for about five or six dollars, which  made me happy.  Also, I don't think it's breaking me out.  I've only tried twice, though, and I still have some lingering kindof pimples (red dots that are under my skin) from a blowout after trying a translucent powder from Physicians Formula.  The irritant in question must be Lauroyl Lysine, because it's also in Bare Minerals.  So, avoid that.   

As for liquid foundation, I use Clinique Acne Solutions (in shade "Fresh Alabaster" of course, and it's pretty yellow until blended in with a brush) on days where I'll be out for a long time, and I worry that the salicylic acid in it might be pissing my skin off.  But my skin doesn't blow out nearly as bad as when using Bareminerals/Physicians Formula powders, so I'll keep using it.  I also just purchased the much-raved about Tarte Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer in shade 00, and I'll be sure to update this with my results.

UPDATE:  Tarte's tinted moisturizer seems to pass the skin piss-off test.  It blends in nicely but doesn't have great coverage, so I top it off with a bit of powder.  So far so good.  The Tarte stuff has a super gross clay/sunscreen smell to it for the first 30 minutes or so you wear it, though :(  Especially if you go outside!

I hope this helps, as my quest for clear skin has been quite successful.  Share your quests with me, recommend some foundations, talk about what hasn't worked for you, give me some tips!  :D


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nightwish and Epica, oh my!

Nightwish and Epica are BOTH having tours in the States this fall, which I'm super excited about.  Nightwish will actually be hitting my home city of St. Louis, which bands seldom do.  For whatever reason, Nightwish loves little St. Louis and makes a point to visit us every tour.  I'll be seeing them (and Epica) in Atlanta for Progpower USA, but I'll probably hit my local show, too.  I'm not sure about making the trek to Kentucky or Chicago to see Epica a second time.  Their set at ProgPower probably can't be beat, so I'll skip out on that.  Unless Simone does another makeup contest and I win.  :)

Speaking of Epica, they just released a new music video!  It's very artistic and really showcases the message of their album.  Watch it!  I love Simone's makeup when the oil-stuff is about to consume her.  Such pretty blue eyeshadow and crazy curly designs!

also just released a teaser trailer for their long-awaited film, Imaginaerum.  The album has already been released and it's great (albeit short), and I'm quite impressed with how the film looks so far.  It definitely has the Burton feel to it that Tuomas wanted.  That being said, I'm fairly certain there won't be an American release in theaters.  I know, it's sad :(  But I'm just not sure how an American release would be pulled off.  We're just NOW finally getting Miyazaki films in theaters, and Disney has had his stuff for yeeeaaars.   

And that's all, folks!  Hopefully you'll be able to catch Nightwish and Epica this fall!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview with Zuberoa Alvarnez of Diabulus in Musica!

Diabulus in Musica is a “symphonic gothic metal band that perfectly combines a passion of classical music with heart-wrenching and modern metal.”  I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the band’s lead singer and founder, Zuberoa Azn├írez, for The Metal Pit.  We talked about DiM’s new album, the music industry, 2012 being the year for Apocalyptic Metal albums, Sexism in Metal, and other fun things!   

  First things first, please tell The Metal Pit about the band!  How did Diabulus in Musica come to be?

Zube:  DiM was born in 2006. I started the project because I wanted to develop my own ideas (I sang in another band where I didn’t write the songs) and express myself through the music I liked: metal and classical. We all knew each other from the local metal scene of Pamplona and most of us were friends before creating DiM. After winning some contests we decided to record our first album, Secrets, which was released by Metal Blade Records in 2010. It received many great reviews and we had the chance to play in big fests. Now we have just signed a contract with Napalm Records and our new album The Wanderer has just been released by them on February the 29th.

Since your first album, “Secrets”, you’ve signed with Napalm Records.  How has that changed your overall experience compared to your first label?
Napalm is much more oriented to our music style than Metal Blade, so I think the main difference is on promotion; I mean, we are more likely to reach new fans that may like our music than we were before. We are very happy because we think that we are where we have to be now.

What was the creative process like for writing songs for “The Wanderer”?  Was the whole band involved?
Yes. Xabi and Alex couldn’t be involved in the writing process of ‘Secrets’ because they joined us later. We started all together with the main idea of ‘The Wanderer’, even before ‘Secrets’ was released. 

Regarding the writing process, we decided that we would write a conceptual album, so the first thing we did together was to think about the story and which feelings we wanted to express on each song. That’s the way we started to work. We did alone our own song or songs and then forwarded it to the other band members. It was in that moment when we started to work together again, to arrange the songs until we considered they were completely finished. After this, we started with the recordings in our home studios.

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that “The Wanderer” is a concept album.  Can you tell us more about the concept and how the band came up with it?
We only knew we wanted to tell an ‘intense’ story that gave us the chance to express different feelings. Then we started to think more or less what each song would tell and after that I started to write the lyrics.

The concept talks about a girl who has something ‘special’, ‘different’, ‘spiritual’ and somehow feels isolated. She wanders searching for a place where she can finally be accepted.

The whole story is an allegory of Mother Earth, Humanity and Corruption and the shock between people who stay ‘pure’ (and linked with nature) and modern society. It is not easy to reconcile this way of being with all the changes that society is suffering, and above all, with human corruption. All these ‘special’ people are unfortunately starting to disappear and in my view, they are the last hope to change the World. It is so sad that human beings are forgetting where we come from!

It is also kind of odd that after thinking about the concept, I’ve seen many artists talking about something similar in their works. It seems that many people perceive that society is not walking towards the right way… It is clear that some of us have this kind of 'apocalyptic' thoughts… Maybe that’s a good sign and we can still change?

“The Wanderer” is your second studio album, and your first with a music video!  Describe the experience of making a video!  (I also loooove your outfits! :D  Are they from your personal wardrobe?) 

It was very funny but also exhausting! We recorded everything in one day and a half and in four different places. Besides, it was really cold that day, it was raining and I had to walk in the forest barefoot. The recording in the quarry was also very funny. There were people working inside and they didn’t believe that a band was going to record a video-clip inside. They were really surprised when they saw 4 guys in black leather and a drum-kit, and a girl in white running in the cave hahah they thought I was a spirit or something paranormal! haha
Thanks! The outfits are mine, yes. Taken from here and there… I did my own disguise heheh

Many folks are saying that this is a rough time for the music industry, and one band in particular has stated that their debut album next month will be released on USB stick instead of Compact Disc.  What is your reaction to this?
The industry is falling down or at least changing, that’s for sure, so it will have to adapt to the new times if it wants to continue alive. I’m not sure about which would be the best thing to do, but what I’m sure about it’s that new generations don’t have the same view about music than we had before. On the other hand, we are lucky that in the metal scene fans are still very faithful and most of them still prefer to buy cd’s. I think cd’s will disappear anyway and all of us will have to adapt to the new technologies. Anyway, being cd’s, USB sticks or whatever, I only hope that fairer times will come for musicians because nowadays it’s really difficult for most of us to continue making music due to the lack of money and support…

As a female, I know first-hand that there is still much sexism in metal.  How does that affect you and other women you know in the genre?   
As you say there is still not much, but unfortunately too much sexism in the metal scene. I’ve learnt not to give importance to some comments, but sometimes it’s really hard to deal with some people… and not only men, that’s very sad!
There are many things that bother me. For example, in general, the ‘girl’ in the band is always considered only as ‘the girl singing’, but no more than that, when a lot of us are founders of the band, composers, producers, etc… And there’s no need to say that besides of that, we are most of the time criticized by our physical appearance. It seems that this is the primordial condition to be successful… My God, we are musicians! I don’t like neither the so called tag ‘female metal’. It seems that we still live in a world apart. We cannot make metal, but ‘female metal’… what the hell is that? For what I know there are girls singing in many different metal bands, from rock to death! I suppose that this is the reason why in big metal fests there is only place for 1 or 2 ‘female metal bands’... To be honest, I sometimes feel embarrassed of being a part of this ‘circus’… If you take a look to other music styles, these kind of things don’t happen…

What was it like to perform at Metal Female Voices Fest?  It sounds like a dream come true! 
Zube:  It is! Playing MFVF was an amazing experience, we shared many great moments with fans, organizers, stuff and other bands. We are very grateful that Phil gave us that chance. There is a very special atmosphere there, a very direct contact with the audience. Besides, everybody at Oktoberhallen is so lovely! We cannot wait to come back for the 10th anniversary, it will be a blast!

Have any crazy/weird things happened to you and the band while touring?
Definitely! The guys are totally crazy, so only crazy things can happen with them haha. You can see some examples it in our studio-reports on our youtube channel…

Do you have any special personal rituals for preparing your voice before a show?
Not really. I only try to relax and do my regular exercises to warm up the voice. I like to be alone to do that, but unfortunately that’s not possible in most of the venues. 

Tell us a little about yourself!  What kind of hobbies do you have?
I’m a biiiig nature lover!! I usually go trekking or climbing in the Pyrinees. When I feel my batteries are low, I need to walk and walk for hours in the mountains or forest. I also love animals, especially dogs. I have three and I love to take them with me for the long walks.

I also love to eat ! I really enjoy big meals and dinners with friends (as everybody I guess hehe)

Reading is another of my passions, cinema, gardening… And all of this besides my main interest that of course is music, so as you can imagine I have little time for my hobbies.

And what kind of movies and music do you enjoy?   I feel like you’d be a big Dark Moor fan.  I love me some Dark Moor :) 
Do you think so? Hehe not really… I discovered them long time ago, when Elisa was singing. She had a very powerful voice and I enjoyed power metal by then, but after I got interested in other styles. I haven’t listened to any of their albums lately, but maybe I should? I will check them out! ;)

The music I listen to the most is classical music, especially Early Music. I’m involved in some classical and Early Music projects and I still study classical singing so it’s what I listen to the most. Apart from metal and classical what I like the most is World or ethnic music, folk and soundtracks.

Regarding the movies, I especially like historical and fantasy films, but I don’t reject any genre as long as the script is good.

Will we ever see the band in North America? :D 
I really hope so!! That would be a dream! I’ve never been there yet and I really look forward! Any promoter interested? ;D 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the interest and questions; it has been a pleasure to answer them. Thanks also to the readers and fans, we are very grateful for your support! Hope to see you soon on the road!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Manic Panic Hair Dye Guide

Although I proclaim myself as a mistress of Metal, I'm pretty tame in "real life."  I've never had any piercings (not even my ears), no tattoos, no hair dye, and I hadn't started wearing makeup until about two years ago, and not advanced makeup (with my Kat Von D eyes and such) until four months ago.

So, at twenty-two years old, I finally decided I desperately needed some sort of physical change in my life.  I also wanted to do something shocking to surprise my fiance once he gets off his aircraft carrier [soon].  He hasn't seen me in person since October! So, out of all the "crazy" things I could have done, dyeing my hair with semi-permanent dye is by far the least damaging and non-permanent option.  My mind made up, I went on a research-quest to find the right dye for me, and decided on Manic Panic.  The brand has punky/metal colors, is Vegan and vegetable-based (I'm not Vegan, but I like when products are!), and supposedly washes out quicker than most dyes.  Winwinwin. 

I think it's cute.
I picked the color "Vampire Red" because it looked like a deep red in swatch photos and on their website, and I wanted red hair.  I have very pale skin, and red hair is just lovely on us pale beauties!  I didn't want "natural" red hair, either--I wanted super sexy, unnatural, Metal, Little Mermaid hair.  And I got it.  I wasn't expecting unbleached hair to come out so, well, vibrant.  Though, it's becoming a bit more purple as it sits in my hair and mixes with the oils in my head.  Which is still cool.

Forgive the duck face--I've been culturally brainwashed.  Photo on the left taken by Rachel Kertz.
Just look at that RED hair.  And that's without bleaching.  I always considered myself as having brown hair, but I suppose I'm naturally blonde, aren't I?  All the more reason to dye it.  And, with virgin hair and this being my first experience with hair dyeing, I learned many things.  I will share my new secrets with you.

  1. Cover your bathroom (or wherever you dye your hair) with towels.  Everywhere.  The dye got places I didn't know it could go.   
  2. Cover your face, ears, and neck with Vaseline.  You'll thank me later.  Also, wear a shirt you don't care about (though the dye washed out of mine).  
  3. Really, have a friend/significant other/SOMEONE ELSE put your dye in for you.  You do NOT want this stuff in your sink.  SO messy.  Make sure they wear good gloves. 
  4. My hair is crazy-long and very thick, but I only needed one jar of Manic Panic.  The friend who dyed my hair used a wee bit of a second jar, but it probably wasn't necessary. 
  5. You can let your dye sit however long you want.  There aren't any bad chemicals in it to seep into your brain and give you cancer (Manic Panic is rated 4/10 on EWG).  The internet says the longer you leave the dye in, the longer it lasts.  The jar suggests 20 minutes and I let mine sit for four hours.  And it hasn't really gone anywhere in the five days since I dyed it.  I expect it to last at least a month.  UPDATE:  It's been two months.  Still red.  I've got some roots showing, though.  But this stuff isn't budging!  :D
  6.  Please, do not get any dye on your scalp.  My scalp was covered in dye and it took over an hour to rinse all of it out, and I had to shampoo my head twice to get it off my scalp. 
  7. Rinse your hair in the shower--NOT the sink--if you left your dye in longer than the instructions advise.  Even if my scalp wasn't dyed red, it would've taken a good 30+ minutes to get my water to turn clear, and even then it never REALLY turned clear.  I just had to give up.  Make sure you towel dry your hair really well after getting out of the shower.  
  8. Mentally prepare yourself for all the bleeding that will happen if your hair gets wet.  Because it bleeds like a mutha.  Rain is now my enemy. 
  9. Also mentally prepare yourself for ridicule from just about everyone!
And that's how the magic happens!  Granted, it seems like quite a bit of work, but it's really not so bad.  I just have to accept the fact that, with Manic Panic, that whole "when water turns completely clear" thing will just never happen.  Ever.  I always wait until the dye pouring out of my hair is a light pink (rather than blood) color before I hop out of the shower.  And my pillowcases and clothes are fine.  My towel that I let my hair dry on, though--that thing is stained pretty badly.   

I only go outside when driving places, apparently.

Stay tuned for the funny ways you'll get treated once your hair is an unnatural color!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Video from Nightwish!

And I thought Alestorm were silly :P  I'm glad that Nightwish are re-recording old songs using Annette's voice!  And, although this is a live song (any fan of Nightwish can tell), it sounds just like something from a studio album!  I also like the change from guitar solo to keyboard solo, as poor Emppu has to do all the electric guitar work himself!

Enjoy :D



Kitty Vamp Designs-- Band Shirts (and more) For Women!

More and more bands are including token female-sized shirts at their merch booths, but it's usually just one shirt.  And it usually has a tiny design on the front, without tour dates on the back.  So, men's shirts are still way more badass.  But they EAT me.  And I'm way too lazy/scared to attempt resizing them myself.

If you find yourself in a similar dilemma, thank your lucky stars that KittyVamp exists.  You can send her a band shirt from your collection, buy one from her shop, or buy one of the fancy designs she's already made.  Like this Children of Bodom shirt that she turned into a pencil skirt.

How awesome is that? D:

Her prices are pretty good for what she offers ($30ish for shirts you buy from her collection, $40 for dresses, $16.99 to send your own shirt to be altered).  I have a hawt Iced Earth shirt that she offered in her store two years ago that I LOVE.  My fiance has the same shirt (unaltered of course because he's a man), so it's cute to wear them together.  ;P

So glorious.  It has turquoise lace trim :D
KittyVamp also has many different styles to offer if you're not a tank top kind of gal, including off-shoulder tops and corsets!  She even makes DRESSES.  You know what, I'll just stop talking and let you look at all the cheddar.

Making dresses out of giant man shirts!  The geniusness!

Powerglove doesn't offer ladies shirts yet, so this  is a must-have for a fan of The Glove.

I need to get an off-shoulder shirt :D
All of those shirts are found on her website (except my Iced Earth one, but I'm sure she'd be able to replicate it with a shirt you send in).  She also sells eye makeup from Concrete Minerals in case you need a little something extra to get free shipping.  The colors look awesome!  You know how much I loves me some makeup, so I'll give these a try for sure :D

So, what are you waiting for?  Head on down to KittyVamp!



New Video from Alestorm!

Pirate Metal band Alestorm never disappoint.  They're so lovably goofy, as you can see in "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid."  I'm sad I missed them at Paganfest III, but I'm sure they'll come back soon enough. 

Here, let some squid brighten your Wednesday :P


Friday, April 6, 2012

ZP Theart's new band announced!

Ever since ZP left Dragonforce a while ago (Geez two years ago?  Three?) I've been anxiously awaiting news of his next project.  Well, I wait no more!  ZP's new band is called I AM I, and their debut album is set to be released next month!  Yay!  There aren't any samples to listen to yet, but I'm sure it won't disappoint.

If all else fails, at least ZP still looks like a pirate.
The album, titled 'Event Horizon,' is going to be released on USB, because "major record labels are almost certainly going to cease production of compact discs by the end of 2012" (According to Metaltalk).  Hrm.  Granted, my CD collection is taking a lot of space and I've found myself buying direct downloads from Amazon more often, but USB?  It's a cool idea, to be sure.  It would be much easier to shove a USB stick into a car stereo than fuddling with a CD, and there won't be any problems with scratches.  I find that I have to get my new CDs onto my computer right away to avoid ripping music from a scratched disc later.  I'll still use my mp3 player instead, but this USB thing seems to be a step in the right direction.  But they'd be easier to lose.  


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Warpaint Beauty Sale at Hot Topic Stores!

Hot Topic is having a huge sale on Warpaint brand cosmetics.  We're talking $1.99 for makeup here.  Granted, I haven't tried that much of it and it's probably not the best quality, but for $1.99?  I'll take some risks.  And, if you (or your spouse) are military, you get an extra 10% discount on top of that!

I needed some glitter eyeliner and was on my way to Sephora to suck it up and buy the Urban Decay stuff ($18, ouch), when I stopped in Hot Topic and found this giant sale.  For $1.99 I bought two glitter liners (purple and this chrome color), and I'm very impressed with them!  I wear contacts and have sensitive eyes, and I haven't noticed any added irritation from the glitter!  There isn't even any fallout on my cheeks or eyelashes at the end of the day!  That is good shit for $1.99.

I might just go back to Hot Topic and buy more of this stuff just because the glitter liner turned out to be so great!  Stock in stores will differ from what the website offers, so it's definitely worth a trip to your local mall.


Toxic Vision - it doesn't get any more Metal than this

Canada's Toxic Vision creates Metal fashions straight out of my wildest dreams (or is it nightmares?).  Leather, spikes, studs, corset lacing, everything a girl could ever dream of.  Some of the outfits are a little too sexy for my taste (hot pants?  Metal HOT PANTS?  Whoa.), but there's plenty to like here.  Toxic Vision even made Stu Block's (Iced Earth) new concert outfit, so soon she'll be making outfits for the menfolk, too.

Unfortunately, since all the fashions are made from scratch, they're woefully expensive.  I couldn't afford any of it unless I got a big fancy job somewhere.  But I can look, can't I?  And so can you.  Visit their website here and Facebook page here.  Happy drooling!

Shut up and take my money!