Pheeding the Pharmacy

Controlled Med Cookies I baked for a colleague of mine who has moved to another VA. They were made to be given and then shared. Everyone got a kick out of the pill cookies. They tasted great this time, too. Kudos to almond flavoring.

Pharmacy humor for those of us who count these, bag these, check these, get yelled and cursed at for these… Now it’s our turn to eat those pills and be merry on our sugar rush! ūüôā

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Fontastic: “Flavor and Frames”

One of my favorite things to do when poking around on the internet is finding great fonts to download. Most designers thrive on nifty fonts. However, most people are only familiar with the fonts that are loaded onto your computer. They are all fairly standard. Your Times New Roman, Comic Sans MS, Verdana, Arial and its many variations. Everyone sees these guys; they’ve been gracing popular ¬†websites since the 90’s (Just for fun: Check out the Times New Roman font on Yahoo! homepage from July 5, 1998¬†— thank you Wayback Machine.) Folks may not know the name offhand, but they recognize good ol’ TNR. However, when you are trying to be creative, you are constantly looking for new ways to create the title of a newsletter, a logo for your business, or a watermark for your photos, and you don’t want to use any of the aforementioned fonts. They are decades old, and classics never die; but if you watched Forrest Gump every single day, it would get boring. Nobody wants their business to sport Times New Roman 12 point double spaced font. Save that for the term papers and 90’s websites.

shmilee

One font people commonly overlook as being useful is something like Wingdings. This is called a Dingbat font. These are fonts that aren’t usually “letters” but little pictures. Most people remember that the capital J in Wingdings makes a smiley face. (How useful!)

restroom

What people often don’t know is that there are other Dingbat fonts out there… of almost anything imaginable. Some are useful while some or not. I can’t say that I would ever need to use Restroom Signs TFB for any practical purpose. But who knows; someone might need a dingbat of a stick figure sitting on the commode. (Just in case you’re wondering, it is a lowercase “b”.)

So, while meandering around on Dafont.com, I started looking at Kimberly Geswein (KG) fonts. Let me just go on the record and say that I love them.¬†Most of her fonts are cute and handwriting type fonts, which are great for website and graphic design, especially girly stuff. But better yet are her “Flavor and Frames” series.There are about a million and one hits for “Free Fonts” if you Google it. One of my favorite font websites is www.dafont.com. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s just clean and user friendly.

This is what I’m talking about (and these graphics aren’t even all inclusive!):

Flavor and Frames 1

Flavor and Frames 2

Flavor and Frames 3

Flavor and Frames 4

When I came across these adorable little dingbats, I got super excited. For a blogger or scrapbooker, or even photographer, these could be used to make logos, greetings, cards, watermarks, invitations, newsletters, etc. The sky is the limit.

Here are just a few fun things I’ve done using Photoshop and KG Flavor and Frames series:

howdyyall

brooke

welcome

Untitled-9

seal

And of course, the header for this blog!

Don’t have photoshop? You can use Microsoft Word to create these things as well for creating graphics for websites, labels, scrapbooking and printing! (If you’d like, I can discuss the “How To’s” of layering and graphic design in Microsoft Word in a later post.)

And there are about a million other things you can do with them… so get to downloading and creating! If you’ve made anything with them, please share. The sky is the limit.

Fake-Up Make-Up: Don’t Get Urban Decay Duped!

Something horrible happened to me today. After ordering the original Urban Decay Naked palette, I waited patiently for it to arrive. Amazon Prime promised me 2 business days and when I got home today, the first thing I did was check for my package. I was so excited, but much to my dismay, I discovered what I received was a FAKE! I am writing this post so this does NOT happen to you.

Let me begin by clarifying… I have bought many things on Amazon. Cameras, lenses, sewing machines, make-up, books, movies, food, clothes… you name it, I buy it. This is the FIRST time I have discovered something was counterfeit. Now, if you are looking for cheap dupes, okay, fine… but this thing is the FULL price, the SAME price as on Sephora. The listing said “BY URBAN DECAY” not “BY FAKE JUNK MAKING GREEDY BUTTHOLES”. I read reviews, and it had mostly 5-star reviews. How did these people not know it was a fake? Well, if you had never used Naked 2, you MAY think the same thing.

Make sure what you are ordering is the REAL DEAL. If you’re not sure when you get it, well…¬†This is how you know…

#1. “This just feels cheap.”

Naked 2 is heavy. It FEELS well-made. The moment I pulled the imposter out, it just felt wrong. Nothing like the Naked 2. I have heard that Naked 2 had made some packaging improvements, so I chalked it up to that. Obviously one is better made than the other, but it LOOKED real?

UD-fake-8

#2. “Well they sure didn’t do a good job filling these pans.”

… or sticking the pans in, for that matter… You open it. Then you see… something just doesn’t look right. ESPECIALLY if you have used Naked 2. The palette pans aren’t even filled up all the way… they aren’t even glued in straight. The metal is obviously exposed, and bent. I got closer to it to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Naked 2 looks clean, neat, full. Nothing like this. At this point, I got suspicious.

#3. These colors look funny.

They are close, but they are “off”. The most obvious one I noticed was the Toasted, followed by Gunmetal. There’s something fishy going on here…

UD-fake-5

#3. “There’s something funny about that logo.”

Urban Decay isn’t a hard logo to imitate. It is a boring serif font of some sort, in all caps. But if you look close enough, usually, the place you will find the evidence to close the counterfeit case is in the logo. Somewhere, something is just slightly off. And I think I found it.

Look very closely, my friends… It’s not in the NAKED. It’s in the Urban Decay. The company logo. Does that R look a little odd?

UD-fake-3

#4. “It looks a little odd to me… so let me compare.”

Sure enough, something is off. And it’s the R. Someone who doesn’t use fonts or pays attention to design detail may not notice this at all, or even call me crazy. But, despite the size of each logo, it’s the R that stands out. The “tail” of the R is kinda fancy… it swoops down. It is the one thing in the Urban Decay logo that is really different or unique. It’s the signature of the design, so to speak. The end of the R “tail” goes all the way down and aligns with the B. ¬†¬†Now, look at our spaced apart fake here…That R’s tail is no where near the bottom of that B. And those letters are spaced apart. There’s one things company’s don’t change, and that is their logo. They won’t use a different font, and they won’t use different letter spacing. I KNEW something was wrong for sure at this point.

UD-fake-4

#5. “Well, what about the primer that came with it? I guess that’s a knock-off too?!”

If you’ve never used UD Primer Potion (you’re missing out) then you may not know what to expect. I just so happened to have a brand new bottle of it to compare. See for yourself… the logo, the font color, the bottle color… They are close, but they are NOT the same. And the actual products INSIDE the bottles? Oh my, not even close… different brush tip, different consistency, different color.

UD-fake-6

#6.  Well what was the final, gavel-banging, case-is-closed proof that this item is counterfeit? 

The inside logo. Once again, if you don’t pay much attention to detail, you might not catch it… but if you look where the mirror cuts off the A and the K and the E… the stock photo of the REAL Naked 1 palette shows something much difference.

UD-fake-7

LOOK closely at the A. How much of the triangle that makes up the top of the A is shown in the fake (above) vs. how much is shown in the authentic version (below)… The authentic one shows almost 90% of the full triangle top of the A, whereas the fake is roughly 60%. Look closely. You CAN see it. Keep reading over… the K is cut down and so is the E. Look where the FOLD lies… it goes directly through the middle line of the A in the authentic one… it folds way below that line on the fake… Are you ANGRY yet!?

Naked-palette

I finally calmed down, after making idle threats to the wall. I am passionate about my makeup. And when I am looking forward to something in the mail, how DARE they ruin my day with fake make-up. When the smoke cleared, I ordered the REAL Naked 1 palette on Sephora.com… for $50. Plus free 3-day shipping. How ’bout that, Amazon?!

So what have we learned?

Now that you know how to spot a Fake Naked 1, shop with care. Amazon disappointed me with this purchase. Lesson learned with make-up. Amazon needs to watch these places that sell through them, and pay very close attention. Sadly, there WERE negative reviews on the site, but they had all been pushed down to the bottom so you only see the great, shining reviews first. Just look. Only order if it is Urban Decay from a reputable cosmetics distributer.

I hope you don’t get a fake… but if you do… you now know how to spot one.

Tell us about it…

My 2 Cents: MAC Pro Palette

UPDATE 2014: ¬†I stopped using the MAC Pro Palette and went back to the old one. The shadows stay in place and it fits in my bag better. I accidentally dropped ¬†the Pro Palette (on the counter during use, only about 1 foot) and it busted up 2 of my shadows. For such a short drop, it shouldn’t have destroyed them. *throws up hands* I’m done!¬†

Let me start by saying that when I first started wearing MAC makeup, I bought eyeshadows in the little individual pots. ¬†After I got a real job, I could afford more than two of those, and I soon discovered that the most cost effective (and least cluttering method) was to buy the pan refills and get a palette. I’ve had it for about a year now. ¬†(PS. It’s easy to get the pans out of the little individual pots too, just in case you were like me and had a few already –just set them on top of a flat iron to heat the glue holding it in and then use a pin to pop it out of the pot. The glue will still be sticky on it, so slap a magnet on the back and Vuala!)

Sadly I am just now discovering that the old MAC pro palette got discontinued. ¬†You have no idea how this upset me. ¬†I finally collected enough shadows to fit into two 15x palettes and they go off and stop making the old ones. ¬†It would turn my mild OCD into a major problem if I had two different palettes so I scoured eBay in search of some old ones. ¬†The “new” ones have been out since 2012, but I knew that there would be some old ones still floating around. ¬†Let me just tell you, folks are proud of their old used palettes. ¬†Bidding was up to $60 and $70 on sets of only 2 palettes. People, please!

Since buying more old palettes was obviously a pain in the butt (and expensive) I decided to bite the bullet and buy the new ones. ¬†I should have protested, but I am a sucker. I figured I’d go ahead and get the Large/DUO version where you can fit two little pan holders in at once.

HOW ABOUT THE SIZE/WEIGHT?

Here’s what it looks like when you take it out of the box:

mac-2

This is NOT small. It is much thicker than two of the old palettes stacked and a good bit heavier. (Probably 3-4x thicker than the old palette.) ¬†It feels sturdier in hand though, so it’s probably less likely to crack or bust. ¬†But it’s going to weigh down your makeup bag a good bit more, and take up valuable space… so if you’re like me and you tote it with you everywhere, you might not love that aspect.

mac

DOES IT LOOK NICE?

Definitely, I like the way it looks. If it is clean. The only downside of the design is the inserts are made of shiny black plastic. It will show every speck of powder that lands around the pans… and it is impossible to keep it 100% clean. ¬†For some people, this may not be an issue, but for me, it makes my OCD act up a little and I find myself trying to wipe around them. On the old container the flyaway didn’t bother me as much, just because it less obvious on a matte surface.

mac-3

WHAT ABOUT FUNCTIONALITY?

It serves its main purpose. It holds eyeshadow securely… With that being said, however, it really is a pain in the butt to pop out the insert holder once you get it in. And when I opened it the first time, I pinched my fingers on the middle back because it opens just like a book. So beware if you get in a hurry. The upside is the pans sit in secure enough to stay in place, but loose enough to pull out with one fingernail around the edge. If the insert is out, they are super easy to remove because the insert has holes in the back you can just push through.¬†¬†The clear plastic separater in-between the two halves has a functional purpose, and it is 100% necessary. It looks nice too, clean and sharp, but it’s not really easy to grip to open and close either. It takes a little practice.

IS IT COST EFFICIENT?

The case is $25. Just for the stupid case! ¬†Then, the inserts are $9. ¬†What a ripoff! So, if you buy 1 duo case($25) + 2 inserts($9) = $43 (and don’t forget Uncle Sam’s part!) ¬†If you fill the case with all eyeshadows in the 2 inserts, you are looking at $1.43 per shadow space. ¬†The old palettes were only $16 but held half the pans, so it is roughly $1.06 per shadow space. ¬†If you don’t use the inserts at all and decide to put 24 shadows into the pan on each side, you’re looking at only $0.52 per shadow space.

Personally I like the way it looks with inserts, but if I had more shadows, I could see where not using them would be beneficial and MUCH more cost-efficient.  Another advantage would be that you can buy inserts for blush and other MAC cosmetic pans as well, so if I needed to carry a lot of powder or blush as well I would probably really appreciate that feature.

IN SUMMARY:

I like the way it looks.

I like how sturdy it feels.

I hate how heavy it is compared to the others.

I think it’s less easy to get open and access.

I hate how expensive it is with the inserts. Those greedy buttholes.