Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Favorites

Another month tragically gone from the calendar. I'm not sure exactly what happened to me this month, but my favorites list is a bit on the slim side. Perhaps it was the oppressive heat that discouraged me from using bunches of product. I suspect yes.

Jo Malone London Blackberry & Bay Cologne (30ml) If you haven't checked out the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale yet, what are you waiting for?!? I got this captivating scent in their exclusive offering for the sale, which also included a Lime Basil & Mandarin Mini Candle and Orange Blossom Hand and Shower Gel. All for only $80! But this is my favorite of the three. You get a nice burst of fruit from the blackberry, and then it turns into this rich, sophisticated scent from the bay and other underlying notes. This is a great end of summer scent that I think will carry beautifully into the fall. Available online and at Nordstrom in 30ml ($60) and 100ml ($115)

Nails, Inc. Nail Lacquer in Porchester Square After reading about this polish for ages courtesy of Anna at Vivianna Does Makeup (we're best friends, she just doesn't know it), I finally found it in stock at the Sephora in the Shops at North Bridge. Magnificently creamy, this is the perfect purple greige there is. As far as I can tell, anyway, which is what matters. Terrific wear time, three days without a chip, and it goes perfectly with my next selection. If you're looking for a sophisticated nail look that strays from the beaten path, this is it, kiddos. Available from Sephora ($9.50)

Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Happy Birthday Finally I can wear this! I lusted after this for a year and a half, obtained it about seven months ago, and promptly discovered that I didn't have a single polish over which this glitter looked truly stellar. Woe, woe, agony and woe! But it has found it's match in Porchester Square. This is a multi-colored glitter in primary colors that's in a clear base. It looks really festive layered over the Nails, Inc. color, and it just makes me happy to see it! Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to everyone! Available online and at Nordstrom, Bluemercury, and other stores ($19)

Revlon Lash Potion by Grow Luscious Mascara A drugstore mascara that I actually like? I'm not sure about some of the bigger claims made about this new offering from Revlon, but I can't deny that it lifts and separates my lashes beautifully. It doesn't add a whole bunch of volume, but I don't mind that as I have pretty full lashes already. This is a great daytime mascara, one or two swipes and you're good to go. As far as I can tell, it doesn't flake significantly, but I'm a notorious eye rubber, so I can't speak to that as well. Lord knows the price is hard to beat! Available in most drugstores ($7.99)

Anthropologie Mug and Canapé Plate I LOVE having my breakfast on this adorable set I picked up on sale from Anthropologie. What's not to like?! A dog in a fez!?! SO CUTE. Just cheers my miserable morning self up immeasurably. And a seriously good bargain. If you like them, you'll have to scour the sale rooms pretty hard, seems like everyone else thinks they're pretty great, too. On sale at Anthropologie

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Find Your Grail

This product has been hailed around the blogosphere as a sort of holy grail of concealers. What is it? NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($28). So, does it live up to the hype?

I've been using it for about a week now, and I have to say, the texture is reeeeeeally interesting (in a good way). Not quite liquid, not quite cream, it's really easy to blend and get a natural finish. I get pretty solid coverage with one layer, and you can build it, although it takes a good deal of finesse so as not to disturb previous layers. I've been wearing it under my eyes without setting powder on no foundation days, and it definitely hits between 7-8 hours before a touchup is needed. Impressive? Oui.

It's available in 10 shades, so there should be a fairly good match for just about anyone. It definitely covers my circles and brightens up my under eye area without being heavy or creasing. I hate to admit it, but for $28, this one-step wonder may be replacing Bobbi Brown's corrector and concealer for my camouflaging needs. I feel like a traitor.

Have any of you given this concealer a go?

Monday, July 29, 2013

If I Was A Folly Girl...

NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Paris Follies ($26) has sung and danced its way into my heart. A powerfully bright pink coral, it delivers high shine along with surprisingly long lasting power. Now, this is a gloss, so don't get any illusions about this pushing through a meal, it's just not going to happen. Still, undisturbed, I got a good four hours out of this before I needed to reapply.

It is slightly sticky as it has a really glossy formula, but I wouldn't say it feels excessively heavy by any stretch. The applicator is a small, thin brush on the end of your typical lip gloss wand, which was puzzling at first, but it really lets you get the shape of your lips perfect without over-applying product. Sign me up for the chorus!

Nails are painted with Nails, Inc. Porchester Square with Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday on accent nails.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Grow Stronger, You Badass Mother

I realized that I haven't mentioned the new base coat I've been using, which I should because it's really proving to be a BAMF. 

I picked up Essie Grow Stronger base coat a few weeks ago when I had some coupons, as I wasn't satisfied with the Orly base I had been using lately. I guess based on the name that it's supposed to be a nail strengthener. I hadn't really been paying too close attention to that aspect of it, but now that I think of it, my nails have been flaking considerably less. The real reason it occurred to me to mention this base is that it is doing a champion effing job making my polish last. I would say it extends my manis by about 2 days. This is a big deal for me, as someone who typically chips her nails by the end of the first day.

This sucker will definitely be holding a permanent spot in my home mani line up.  Bonus! It's a really pretty pink color, so you can also just wear this as a colors.  Yay!

Monday, July 22, 2013

What'll It Be?

UPDATE: It's a boy! Another king, it is!

Boy or Girl? Blue or pink? (Or pink or blue?)

Today, people all over the world are waiting for the birth of one little human.  Is that weird? Yes, yes it is. Is it the perpetuation of a system of government that has, by and large, outlived its usefulness? Most likely. Do I give a shit? No.

There's only one question we should all be asking ourselves: Do they make baby-sized crowns?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Does Anyone Know Someone Named Cassie?

I feel like that name has fallen a bit by the wayside in the past 10-15 years. Anyway, that's what this polish is, Julep's Cassie, a light orange-peach creme.

This came in my July box, along with a color that was far more gray than I expected, the name of which currently escapes me.  I feel pretty meh about this. Takes three coats for opacity, doesn't really stand out on my nails. I think I have more interesting pale peach shades than this.  Maybe it would be more interesting on darker skin?

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tall Tales and Fickle Fantasy: What I'm Reading

I thought I would do something little different today and let you guys know what I've been doing so much of this summer...reading.  I love it. I have always loved it. I was once grounded for staying up too late reading. Hell, I stayed up too late reading the other night, but there was no one to ground me but my lack of sleep in the morning.  After 16 months of procrastination, I finally got myself a library card, and I've been putting it to good use.

American Gods
By Neil Gaiman

My only previous experience with Mr. Gaiman's work was Neverwhere, which was captivating, but I thought somewhat underdeveloped.  Perhaps that was the result of it having originally been conceived for television. American Gods displays much more fluidity in its writing, and has a captivatingly enigmatic main character.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone or scare away people who claim not to like certain genres, but it takes a unique approach to exploring exactly what our ancestors brought with them to the United States.

By Charles C. Mann

Non-fiction. Alright, all the strict summer readers gone? Down to business. This is the follow up to Mr. Mann's work on the pre-Columbian Americas, 1491 (see what he did there?). I find it not quite as captivating as the first, possibly because it's covering territory I've tread many times before. Still, it is excellently written, and I don't think anyone with an interest in early American history would be disappointed.

The Queen's Governess
By Karen Harper

Delicious, delicious trashy historical fiction. Not as trashy as some I've read, but my familiarity with the Tudors and their admittedly fascinating lives made some of the truth stretching a little difficult for me to work through. Written as if a memoir of Elizabeth I's governess, Kat Ashley, it's got all the little sordid bits you would expect out of a summer read and could easily be dispatched in the space of half a day.

There are a couple of other novels I'm working through right now, but I'll wait until I get a bit farther along to write about them.  Hope you enjoyed this departure from Beautyville, I know I certainly have a deep passion for the written word.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Downtown Sound at Millennium Park

Every Monday night in the summer here in Chicago, there's a free concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  I first went a couple of years ago, and it seems I forgot in the intervening years what a neat thing it is to do. The park is so beautiful, and you're surrounded by some of Chicago's beautiful architecture. Last night I attended with a couple of friends and took in the sights and sounds.

Best part? It's free! That's right, you can have a wonderfully relaxing evening for not one single cent. The park has some stands that sell libations, and plenty of people picnic to their heart's content.  Plus, it gives you the chance to check out the touristy things without most of the tourists. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Full Steam Ahead or All Washed Out?

Today, we have Full Steam Ahead from Essie's summer collection. This picture kind of makes it look better than it does in real life.

I generally don't wear purples, as I find they wash me out quite a bit. There's nothing specifically wrong with this colors, and it's pretty much on par formula-wise with a lot of other Essie offerings. It just isn't doing anything special for me, you know? You want something that's really going to pop out going to say, "Look at me, I'm super awesome!" If I'm going to wear a purple, it should do something more interesting than just exist.

I do so hate a nail polish bust. Le sigh.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summertime Watermelon

Funnily enough, I am not a huge fan of watermelon.  To be perfectly honest, I find it a little too watery.  Don't worry, I appreciate how stupid that sounds.  Nevertheless, this nail polish has been on my lust list for well over a year, and I found myself with a good number of CVS ExtraCare bucks that were about to expire.  I almost forgot about this gorgeous pink, but I spied it at the last minute and pulled the trigger quicker than you can say "impulse buy."

You'll excuse the messiness around my cuticles, I just painted my nails and have yet to take the shower that will wash those extra bits away because I'm too lazy to use a Q-tip to get rid of them.  Essie Watermelon is even better than I could have imagined!  The texture is lovely, nice and thick, and you can get great coverage in just one coat.  It's a bit more magenta than it looks in these pictures and goes on slightly darker than it looks in the bottle.  Nice and fruity!  Definitely in competition with my old favorite Fruit Sangria (which I still don't own, grrrrr).

You know, despite the fact that I refuse to wear pants and paint my nails all the time and am obsessed with makeup, I don't think of myself as being particularly girly.  The 13 pink nail polishes I have beg to differ.  Not to mention all the glitter.  Whatever.  DON'T LABEL ME.  Actually, I don't care, do whatever you want.

Y'all have a stellar weekend (and I mean it, let your weekend be filled with beautiful stars)!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Don't Sweat It, Accessorize

Everyone knows that time of year when it's just too damn hot to think about outfits. I feel y'all, I really do. July is the perfect time to stop sweating in your nice clothes, dress casual, and go crazy with accessories.
Midsummer Jewelry

I love all these pieces, they just scream, "Be bold!" Click through to my polyvore to shop any of these interesting shiny bits.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fade into White

I figured I would be brave and try to do something new with my nails, so I googled around a bit and settled on ombrĂ© nails. 

You're right, I did a bit of a shoddy job, but is anyone surprised? NO. Still, I kind of like the look! The turquoise is Essie Naughty Nautical and the white is Essie Blanc. I used a disposable makeup sponge to get the effect and then cleaned up with q-tips and acetone. All in all, a pretty simple way to spice up your look!

Next time, I think I'll try two different colors, as the texture of the white can be a little finicky, even at the best of times.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Marc Jacobs...Beauty?

I'm sure many of you have already heard that Marc Jacobs will be releasing a makeup line in the very near future. This month's Vogue has a small feature on this expansion of his brand, and it spurred me to look into the line a little further.

According to WWD via, the line will include 122 products in all the major beauty categories. Generally, I dig the Marc Jacobs aesthetic, and from what I've seen, I'll definitely enjoy the look of these products. I'm a bit apprehensive of this entry into the market, as I feel he's already created a solid platform for his brand in fragrance, and the possible failure of such a wide release (products will debut simultaneously in all Sephora stores) could be troubling, to say the least.

Price points are going to be on the higher side, so I'll definitely be making an in person assessment of the products before picking anything up, but I'm most interested in the Style Eye-con No. 7 palettes, each of which will feature seven shadow colors, and the Lust for Lacquer lip glosses, which I hope will be as highly pigmented and sleek as the packaging makes them look.

And yes, I do find the product names a little on the kitschy side.

Marc Jacobs Beauty will launch in Sephora stores August 9th with a five product tease in stores the weekend of a July 19th.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello, Goodbye

That's honestly how fast my trip to New Jersey felt, like I was leaving as soon as I got there, ten days in ten seconds. I flew back to Chicago yesterday, and said my goodbyes Saturday. Being woefully sentimental as I am, I wept like a little child.

The magnificent Beau's sad goodbye. Those eyes! Sniff.

My last glimpse of the Atlantic for what I assume will be quite some time.

The closest I have ever been to the outside of the plane.

The last look I grabbed of New Jersey before boarding.

My sadness was tempered only by the knowledge that some new treats awaited  me in Chicago. I promptly treated my janky nails to a fresh new manicure with Essie Naughty Nautical from the summer collection. (Side note: is anyone else getting totally bummed out by the release of fall collections? I swear, it's the only time of year I wish beauty releases could be held off a little longer so I can hang on to the current season!)

This is a beautiful green turquoise with just the slightest hint of a shimmer, so slight as to be pretty much undetectable unless you're in full sunlight. The bottle definitely lies about how much sparkle you're going to get, and I wish it were just a little bit more apparent on the nail to capture a little of that incandescence of summer.  The formula is very nice other than that, a standard two coats will do you for opacity. I definitely like this color enough to put it in rotation, and maybe do some nail art experimentation, who knows?

Nail polish photos edited with the A Beautiful Mess Photo App, available in the App Store.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Essie Summer Collection 2013: The More the Merrier

2013 is a green number, isn't it? Just seems green to me. Almost the green of this nail polish, but with less yellow.  This green I would describe as chartreuse, a color I once believed to be some kind of pink based upon the way it was described in The View from Saturday, I believe.

It looks a bit greener in real life than in this picture, but as I write this, I'm sitting in the shadows of an awning, watching a rainstorm and the ocean, and thus true color pictures are proving a little difficult to capture. I'd rather be getting a tan, it's true, but this is quite relaxing.

This is a creme finish, the only one I believe, from the summer collection, and coverage is quite good in two coats. I thought the color might make me look a bit sallow, but I'm finding it perfectly lovely in a I-won't-be-able-to-get-away-with-this-shade-in-five-years kind of way. I'm feeling pretty mellow right now and perhaps am incapable of describing the depths of my feeling for this color, but I think it'll be on repeat until the leaves change color.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Creature of my Heart

I promise I will get back to writing about things that might have some bearing on your lives, but Gemma and I have been having impromptu photo shoots and I really must share.


Send me pictures of your pets? I want to see your furry loves!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Home Sweet New Jersey

Ah, to be back in the clutches of my beautiful Garden State, it's a wonderful thing. I thought I would share some of the images from my first weekend home of this trip to give of better impression of why I'm "stranded" in Chicago, despite it's many good qualities.

On the road back from the airport in Trenton.

My dad's new apple tree with little green apples!

My mother, demonstrating our picturesque backyard in all it's verdant glory.

The most majestic dog who ever lived, Beau, my best friend's St. Bernard.

He's also the most camera shy.

My first glimpse of the entirely rebuilt beach club, perfect sky to boot.

These are all my favorite places to be when I'm home in the summer, the places I go to immediately not because I just love them, but because they're a part of me. Of course, it would be disingenuous to pretend its this beautiful all the time, so I must mention we're having some punishing thunderstorms today. But I refuse to let that dampen my spirits, har har har.

I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!