Gold with black matte glitter

This is a quick nail of the day on my current super short nails, Nubar Unpredictable Taupe with a top coat of Ulta3 Out of Sight. Out of sight is a black matte glitter, long drying time but super cheap at $2 so I can spend an extra few minutes waiting for drying I guess. (It’s such a slow drying polish that a quick dry top coat seems to cause bubbles as the gas tries to release. Image

The Nubar polish is a bit prone to chipping so the top coat might hopefully preserve the mani a bit.

My nail are looking a bit sad as I work towards V2 of My Makeup Collection which should make it even more useful to users! I managed to bite them all down which is not exactly good advertising…. hahahha

How to get the app of your dreams developed (or not)

One of the most common questions I get when it comes up in conversation that I have developed an app is “Actually I have this GREAT idea for an app. How do you go about getting apps developed?” So I thought it might be worth a post talking about the steps involved in making that app that you sketched on the back of a napkin one time 😉

Step 1 is a project scope. This is where you work out what you want to do, who you are targeting (which devices), how you think you will commercialise the idea. This is your business case where you think about what a reasonable budget would be for your project. The broader your targets the larger your development expenses will be so it’s worth trimming this to a realistic level (rather than wanting to target all devices, which is especially trick on Android). It also helps to look at your competitors and research which apps are in this space already and how to differentiate yourself from them.
Step 2 is wire framing where you work out what you want displayed on each screen but with not much design aspect (black and white ’sketch’ style). This is something you might do yourself or outsource. You can look at places like 99designs that can do this step for around $1k
Step 3 is design where you work out what you want the app to look like (think colour schemes and so on). This can be outsourced again or done in house if you had expertise.
Step 4 is prototyping – this really needs to be done by someone in the coding game. You develop an initial dummy app and get some users to try it and view/record how they use it. It reveals all sorts of details like whether your button are in the right place, whether people are searching for features that should be clearer to access and so on.
Step 5 is coding – self explanatory! This is getting a functional app out.
Step 6 is bug testing (also somewhat self explanatory)
(3-4-5-6) overlap to some extent as hopefully you are testing your designs throughout and going backwards and forwards).

As to choosing your developer, best bet is to find a developing group that has developed something with a similar look and purpose and depends a lot on the type of app you are looking at producing. The cheapest option is usually to outsource through sites like elance, but this can require substantial product management. Local producers tend to be pricier but easy to communicate with.

Let me know if you have any other questions or queries you would like covered.

A year of no-buying

I have been drafting this post for a while but at some point I have to just hit send I guess. I have completed one of my initial goals since starting this blog a year ago and that was to blog for a year. I probably hit about 80% on the cosmetics no buys – I had a couple of splurges, once on hoidays and twice on nail polish sales. I felt icky afterwards and made sure I cut back on other areas so I could still donate to homeless charities.

I have donated $675 in total this year. Which is a lot and yet a drop in the ocean really. The homeless problem in my city seems to be growing exponentially at least by the visibility of beggars on the streets. Housing affordability is one side of it but the bigger issue is that supported housing for people with issues that intefer with them maintaining a household (drug dependencies, mental illnesses or so forth) are expensive and very hard to come by. The charities I support tend to the transitional homeless support (rather than crisis care they look at getting people into the level of supported housing that best suits their abilities). It’s slow, it’s expensive, it’s messy. It doesn’t tie up neatly in a bow at the end of a time period and often people will need ongoing support and never fully leave the system.

I’m not craving clothes or makeup in the same way. I threw out a few bags on clothes and yet really need to do more. I think in part its just that I have so much damn stuff it’s hard to see what else I need sometimes. So my buying is getting a lot less crazed. It’s a little offputting how few item I have actually used up this year though. It makes me realise the scope of my makeup hoarding and not in a good way!

I bought out an app so I can track which makeup I already have. This is actually super useful as it stops me feeling like ‘OMG what a great deal I’ll just buy…” as I stop and work out which versions of the same colour I already own. It is going pretty well though hasn’t set the world on fire by any means! I have learnt a lot about app development which is fun and hopefully I can continue to grow and refine the concept over time.

Thanks to everyone who has read and followed me this year. It’s been fun seeing you all and getting to know people with similar interests. Over the next year I think my blog will change focus a little but will definitely continue to have a makeup theme.

(And now I really must press post or this will sit in drafts until next year!)

My Makeup Collection for Android

I am extremely happy to say that I *finally* can link you to My Makeup Collection on Android. My Makeup Collection is the latest and best way to organize your swatches and makeup collection in your phone or tablet. It’s a great addition to our iphone app which has been very popular with our users.

If you want some more info you can check out the website at My Makeup Collection, and our facebook page has lots of updates and cool links.

How to buy cheap cosmetics, (or not!)

I realised by checking my referal stats that an awful lot of people seem to land here by searching for “how to buy cheap cosmetics’ “how to buy cheap mac cosmetics” “how to buy cheap revlon cosmetics” (and so on and so forth). No doubt it’s similar for many beauty bloggers. Here is my advice on buying ‘cheap’ cosmetics;

Step 1 – is to work out your budget, and whether this is a once off or recurring budget item. You can get good makeup in any price point but there will often be a step up in quality with different price points.

Step 2 – is to work which look you are going as that (with the price point) will drive the brands you buy. If you are going for a subtle, neutral based look you might look at Benefit or Bobbi Brown, a colourful, latest trend based look might come from MAC or Illamasqua, and a classic look might come from Elizabeth Arden or Chanel.

Step 3 – Do a search and review all your current makeup. (Try putting it in an app like My Makeup Collection even!). Figure out which items you need to complete the look you want (eyeliners, lipsticks, etc) and what colours you might be look for and this should hopefully narrow down your selection

Step 4 – OK, hit the internet. Try the makeupalley reviews and try some google searches for blog reviews. See what other users like and which products do not work.

Step 5 – Tired yet? TIME TO SHOP. It looks like you know what you want and how much you have to spend. Try online retailers but be wary as there are fake cosmetics by the tonne out there (be very wary of OPI nail polish and MAC cosmetics on ebay, these are notorious for high levels of fake products). Try the very highest rated ebay sellers but also try the (home) websites of the brands – urban decay, benefit and stila for example all do great run out on their sites. Also worth trying the retailers like amazon.com, beautybay.com, sasa.com and sephora.com. Compare prices regularly as sales come and go and it’s worth stocking up on the flash sales.

Step 6 – Sob a little. You want makeup you can’t afford! You don’t want fake products! Try the makeup sales on blogs and forums like specktra.net and makeupgeek.com. People with huge collections will often be selling barely used products and you can pick up some bargains if you search around enough. Also try the tester bar at your drugstore. People are often amazed by how much Essence makeup I have, but it’s great quality for the (very low) price point and a great way to try trends I’m not 100% sold on yet.

Anyway, what are your tips on saving money on cosmetics?

The My Makeup Collection app – finally in release (and free for this week!)

I’m excited to say a side project of mine has finally come to fruition and some regular readers may have already received this email from me directly. I have just released my first app!

The app is called My Makeup Collection on iTunes and It allows you to post short form reviews from your phone (with a photo/swatch and some brief usage notes) to facebook or email, and post notes as well as posting ‘looks’ with (tap to tag) notes on which products have been used (for nail art this will be the polishes used). I think this will sit nicely between tweets and longer blog reviews.

It also as some other functions like the ability to keep a track of your swatches on your phone so that you can check existing swatches and compare in store and hopefully avoid coming home with dupes! You can also save swatches of polishes you like in your wish list, then compare them in store to the polishes in store. This will be really useful when you are searching for dupes for those really hard to get your hands on indies… or really expensive high end new releases!

It also has a function that allows you to send your entire collection (or a selection) back to email to maintain any current stash spreadsheets.  It has a wishlist that can be sent as well. The data is all kept private. This is simply a tool for keeping a track of your makeup collections.

The website for the app is http://www.mymakeupcollection.com and the app is free this week at (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-makeup-collection/id689768608?mt=8). I hope you all enjoy using it.