e.l.f. Treasure Within Beauty Book

Haven’t you always wanted to be a princess? Be it warrior or fairy or dare I say mermaid? Ladies, e.l.f. has you covered. Fresh off their success with their villain line last fall, e.l.f. has begun creating Disney sanctioned Beauty Books a.k.a. palettes for some of Disney’s princesses.

The first in what I presume will be a series is the Ariel Treasure Within Beauty Book. The Beauty Book comes with nine eye shadows, two bronzers, a lip gloss, and two brushes. All for the wallet friendly price of $10.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

I am obsessed with the artwork for this Beauty Book. The black and white sketch is so dreamy and a bit more sensual. All of the e.l.f. Ariel products have similar artwork and it’s very enticing. The collection also has lip gloss, blush and eye shadow, and brush kits that are priced $10 and under. I stopped myself at the Beauty Book because that way I can sample a bit of everything and not get spastic.

The brushes included in the Beauty Book are OK. The eye shadow brush is more versatile but not as good as the e.l.f. studio line of shadow brushes. The little brush for the bronzers is just not the right size or shape for application but other than that it’s an alright brush.

Inside the Beauty Book is a small mirror and a few total look suggestions. I really enjoyed these additions though the looks are a bit extreme for me personally. And the mirror isn’t the best quality but it’s great to have that in the palette for travel purposes. There is also a piece of plastic covering the makeup so if anything breaks or falls out it slightly contains the mess.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

The shadows themselves feels soft to the touch and all but the purple shade (Seashell) have some level of shimmer to it. I do find it a bit strange that out of nine shades only one is a true matte. They all blend easily, which is a good thing because some of these shades are rather bold. But there are also some nice neutrals in there to balance a look out.

In terms of pigmentation, the best shades are the three in the middle–a shimmery pewter (North Star, a shimmery brown (For Shore), and a slightly shimmery copper (Siren Song). Oddly enough these are the three shades that do not get used in the suggested looks you can see above. The other shades have decent color payoff but you have to build them up or pack them on to get results. The palest shade of the bunch (Sand Dollar) barely shows up, so I’d say use it for a browbone highlight or a base shade to neutralize your lid. You absolutely need primer with these shades, not so much for staying power but more for the color enhancing properties a good primer gives.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

And here are some swatches for the eye shadow shades and bronzers. I apologize for the semi-blurry photos! But hopefully you can get a better sense of what these products look like outside of the pan.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

You can barely see Sand Dollar because it is as pale as I am, but I promise it’s there. Most of these shadow swatches had to have two layers for them to show up well, except for the three in the middle that are the warm neutrals. North Star, For Shore, and Siren Song are my favorite shades in Ariel’s Beauty Book. Together they create a really stunning metallic smoky eye.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

The top shade of the bronzers is Tan Lines and the middle swatch is Conch Shell. These were one swipe swatches. These bronzers are nicely pigmented and actually blend out beautifully. Perfect for a faux beach glow. I was really scared on Conch Shell but it’s not as intimidating if you buff the color out a bit. Then the lip gloss swatch is true to color and it’s called Go On And Kiss the Girl. How perfect is that product name? Wear-wise it goes on fine but feels a bit sticky and doesn’t last overly long. It’s a nice bubblegum pink but I don’t find the gloss itself to be a major staple in my collection.

Below are my versions of the two suggested looks. I tried to blend out some of the shades more because if you pack these colors on I don’t see these looks as overly wearable.

First is the “Sunset Cruise” look, which is on the right side of the diagram. The green shade, Seaweed, should be dusted onto your brow bone and inner corner. Then blend Seashell, the vibrant purple, into your crease. Apply Brilliant Sea, the bright blue, into the outer 1/3 of your eye.

First off, no. These shades together are a bit much for me because they need to be built up or else they get murky. And once they’re built up they are bright. I’d love e.l.f. to explain to me how Seaweed is a “light eye shadow color” fit for highlighting. But I digress. I blended Seaweed into the crease instead of as a brow bone color. Brilliant Sea went on to my outer 1/3 and then got winged out a bit for flair. And I packed Seashell onto the center of my lid.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

Eye close up!

Eye close up!

Clearly I blended the living daylights out of everything because the colors were a bit too club-kid for every day.

Then the second look is called “On the Beach”. You take Sand Dollar, the pale off-white, and apply it to your brow bone and inner corner. The light yellow shade, Coral Reef, goes all over the lid. And then the blue green shade Tropical Wave goes on the outer 1/3 of your eye.  I stayed fairly close to the directions for this one but was disappointed by the poor color payoff on the first two shades.

Well I wouldn't wear this to the beach, but maybe that's just me.

Well I wouldn’t wear this to the beach, but maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I think this is a decent palette/ Beauty Book. The most impressive shades are the center trio, but you can get some lovely looks by playing around with different color combinations. This would make a fun gift for someone who is a Disney fan; I certainly felt pretty cool playing with my princess palette. I’d give Ariel’s Beauty Book 3.5 beauty bubbles. Not bad but not mind-blowing either.

As I mentioned earlier, this Beauty Book and other Ariel themed e.l.f. items can be found at Walgreens or drugstore.com. They’ve already released a Snow White range, which also includes a Beauty Book, so I’m going to wait for my next drugstore.com offer before I purchase. These are limited edition and for their price are worth exploring. I’m a happy Disney dame at the moment and can’t wait to see which princess they pick next.

What the Hell, Tinker Bell?

What happened to Tinker Bell? This has been bothering me more and more with every new Tinker Bell and friends straight to DVD release i.e. The Pirate Fairy, The Secret of the Wings, etc. Disney has completely rebranded Tinker Bell as, “Sassy, Fashionable, Creative.” This positive spin first appeared in 2008 with a computer animated version of Disney’s long-time favorite fairy. With the new, more plastic looking Tinker Bell (I mean really, her face has clearly been under the knife) comes an attitude that is way more about sharing, caring, and friendship. Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. The reason I and many, many others have always adored Tink is because she’s morally ambiguous and, frankly, a bit of a bitch.

This quote has been taken from the Disney website:

“Tinker Bell is both sweet and sassy. She is loyal to her friends and will help fix their problems like a true Tinker Fairy. She loves adding lost things to her collection and going on adventures.”

Beg pardon? Sassy. Check. Sweet? The hell you say! Tink is loyal to herself and Peter Pan exclusively, and has committed some highly questionable acts in the name of that moral compass. SHE TRIED TO KILL WENDY. How do you gloss over attempted manslaughter??? The Disney Wiki explains away Tink’s outbursts due to her size, saying that she is only capable of feeling one emotion at a time, which is why she occasionally exhibits vindictive or angry behaviors. Poor wee woman with her wee emotions sometimes loses control because she’s so small. I realize I’ve over reduced the argument here, but holy crap is that a condescending statement about females and their emotions.

A screen-grab from Disney's Peter Pan courtesy of the Disney Wiki.

A screen-grab from Disney’s Peter Pan courtesy of the Disney Wiki.

And maybe I never knew about Tinker Bell’s “tinker heritage” before but I’ve got issues with this new spin too. First of all, if that is her breed or job description or whatever exactly you want to call it, how terrible is it that her name starts with her job? Does that mean her proper name is Bell? Even so, she should be more than her vocation. The other fairies in this new world have regular names that invoke their skills without making it sound like the job defines them–Rosetta the garden fairy or Iridessa the light fairy. Since it’s geared towards children I’m willing to accept a certain amount of literal naming, but having Tinker explained as a job description sounds borderline fascist. The new fairy world is dominating canon and it’s making me uncomfortable.

The other thing that bothers me about the tinker element is that it feels smashed in to create this new understanding of fairies, and it also happens to limit the abilities of the individuals. When I was younger, I thought Tinker Bell could do darn near anything. She was Peter Pan’s companion and felt utterly free in her powers…now she’s got specified skills and feels tamed. Her brief displays of “sass” now feel completely foreign from the Tinker Bell of the Disney classic.

And now the new Tink taken from Amazon.com. Notice the visual differences?

And now the new Tink taken from Amazon.com. Notice the visual differences?

I understand that positive role models for young girls are important. Yet women comes in all types and temperaments. Why can’t we embrace that Tinker Bell isn’t perfect, nice, and sugar sweet? Short of idolizing the villainous females like Ursula and the Evil Queen, Tinker Bell was the feistiest heroine for young  girls to identify with. We as women responded to Tinker Bell because she was saucy, sensual, and a tad vindictive. Trust me, grown women are not walking around with Tink tattoos because she was a sweetheart. And if you’re a concerned mother/grandma/aunt then use her not-so-nice behavior as a talking point with your kid.  My own Mother had similar conversations with me and it got me to engage more with her and with the thematic material. All of which are good things and I could still enjoy the characters for what they were.

Disney is clearly trying to “fix” many of its perceived wrongs about women, which we can also see with Frozen (Don’t even get me started with that one). But sometimes women are bitches, and that’s OK. We’re allowed moments of it, why not celebrate it? Because, really, Tinker Bell has moments, not constant displays of bitchiness. Not that I’m condoning bad or violent behavior, but changing an iconic character in such a drastic way completely ignores why Tink was lovable in the first place. Sidenote: They’ve also given the girl a longer skirt so she’s more modest. Again, I’m not saying encourage young girls to wear mini-skirts; my point is that Disney has sterilized an original and complex character in every way.

What inspired me to write this post was the abundance of trailers for The Pirate Fairy, which made me feel kind of betrayed. Why do we have to change Tinker Bell? For product lines and straight to DVD releases? Because that is exactly what it boils down to–marketability. Which saddens me. Disney forgot one of its greatest truisms that audiences have recognized for a long while now: you don’t mess with Tinker Bell. So knock it off, Disney and bring back the Ms. Bell that even Captain Hook respected.

Movie Going: Brave

Brave (2012)

Rating: PG

My Going Rate: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh

I’m a huge Pixar fan. From their shorts to their feature length films, this is a studio you can bank on doing well at the movies. And their latest creation, Brave, has captured about $131.8 million dollars from the box office so far. Part of Pixar’s success is due to their traditional emphasis on story. Animation enhances Brave’s story rather than dominating it, and that is the genius of Pixar.

I was particularly excited to see this movie because it is Pixar’s first foray into having a female lead. Brave is a coming of age story that takes place in the Scottish highlands. Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a spirited princess with a mane of red-gold curls and a passion for archery. Her every move is guided by her mother, Queen Elinor, (Emma Thompson) who wants Merida to behave more like a lady. Much to Merida’s consternation, her parents arrange for a tournament where her hand in marriage is the prize.

*Spoilers Beyond This Point*

Merida believes she has found a loophole in the tournament when only the firstborns are allowed to compete, and she is allowed to choose the event that will win her hand. Naturally, she chooses archery, and enters the tournament herself as her father’s firstborn. Merida easily out-shoots the competition but her mother denies Merida’s victory. Mother and daughter fight, and Merida runs off into the woods. Following the will-o-the-wisps (humming, mystical blue lights that are supposed to lead you to your fate) Merida finds a witch’s cottage. The witch gives the young princess a spell to change her fate–to change her mother–in the form of a pastry.

And bippity-boppity-boo the Queen eats the pastry and…she turns in to a bear. A very prissy bear of grizzly proportions. Merida and her (pardon me) Mama Bear escape the castle with the help of her rambunctious triplet brothers. When they return to the cottage, the witch has disappeared but leaves Merida a message that the spell will be permanent after the second sunrise unless they can mend the bond torn by pride. What follows is a journey through the woods filled with mother bear-daughter bonding. Queen Elinor has to fight her increasingly bear dominated nature and Merida realizes how much her mother means to her. It’s a fight against time as they attempt to break the spell and fix their relationship.

As with all movies meant for kids, there are some overarching messages aimed at the audience. One of the trailer’s key phrases is “family is king”, and the idea rings true throughout. This may have been a movie better released before mother’s day because this is a definite mother-daughter movie. Brave also emphasizes following your heart and learning from the past, both ideas meant to inspire or encourage young audiences.

Brave is a movie that succeeds without many of the hallmarks of Disney/Pixar films. There is no discernible love interest, no Prince Charming for Merida to unwittingly fall for. At the close of the film, Merida is still firmly independent and resistant to suitors (perhaps a subtle hint that sixteen-year-olds don’t need to be in life or death love scenarios?). There is no real villain. The witch is eccentric and a bit cooky, but not menacing or malicious. Even the big scary bear (not the mother) gets a sense of redemption in the end. And there are a set of characters who don’t speak. The triplets giggle, scarf down food, and make a cacophony of other sounds but don’t actually talk. Pixar has proven they can pull off speechless characters with Wall-E and the opening sequence of Up, but it still impresses me that they can give such in-depth characterization without dialogue. With so much lacking from the traditional Disney/Pixar formula, it seems like Brave should be missing major story elements as well, but it isn’t. Brave is a fully realized film that Pixar will be happy to add to their successful ranks.

I gave Brave 3 and 1/2 stars because I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have the instant, deep emotional response I felt with Up or Finding Nemo. I would, however, still call Brave a good movie.