Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Drip, Drip, Drip...

Sometimes (most times), I am lazy about wrapping the tips of my nails when I give myself a manicure.  I generally keep my nails shorter than my fingertips, and I can't be bothered to clean the polish off if I were to wrap them.  Of course, this means that I get some pretty serious tip wear even one day into a manicure, and that drives me a little crazy.  Solution?  Fun nail art, duh!

I thought it'd be cool to layer Essie's In the Cab-ana over Watermelon in a sort of paint drip situation, and I reeeeeeeally like the way it turned out.  Nothing like a punchy combination to really rev you up, am I right?  I am right, because I'm always right. 

What do you think of my method for extending my mani?  Something you would ever try?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Keepin' It Hot for Spring

You really just have to embrace the selfie sometimes. This outrageously orange lipstick definitely counts as of those moments.  This sucker has been floating around my collection for a while now, but honestly, after my mother told me it wasn't her fave, it kind of fell out of favor with me.  What can I say, I respect my mother's opinion?

Nevertheless, with the burgeoning spring upon us, and a good spring cleaning rifle through my makeup case, I spied this beauty and immediately knew I needed to wear it again.  MAC's So Chaud, a fiery red-orange, packs quite a punch on the lips, as I think you can see.  It's in their Matte formula, so it is slightly drying, but it also stays put once applied.  I wear it with the MAC Lip Pencil in Entertain Me, a limited edition true orange lip pencil that's sadly no longer available.  I'm sure you could find an equally appropriate shade to layer underneath, though, and it's worth it since it extends the life of the lipstick quite well.

I just love this pop of color for a spring day, especially with just some black eyeliner and mascara to really make it stand out in the crowd.

What are your favorite brights for spring?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rimmel London Salon Pro in Reggae Splash

I've been trying to expand my drugstore nail polish horizons lately just because I've encountered some really great formulas and sometimes I like to break out of my Essie habit to see what else exists in the world.  Enter Rimmel London Salon Pro.

Unfortunately, this range doesn't come in too terribly many colors, and most of them are pretty standard, but Reggae Splash caught my eye in CVS the other day, and for $3, I figured I'd give it a try. It's kind of what I always wanted out of Essie's Tart Deco, which never quite looked right on my nails, I think it's neon-y undertone disagreed with the tones in my skin. This has a really nifty formula that dries with impressive speed, and it has one of those nice wide brushes that makes it super easy to cover your nail in one or two swipes.  The only drawback is that this color is a bit streaky, so it took me three coats to get this level of opacity, though in the future I think I would do four reeeeeeeeeally thin coats instead to cut down on the need to self-leveling.

Overall though, I'm happy enough with the color and how well it lasts once it dries (especially for the price), that I'm glad I picked this up.  If you're looking for a fun little spring color that won't break the bank, go ahead and check this out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

All Time Loves: Figuier by Diptyque

Finally, FINALLY, I am the proud owner of a Diptyque candle.  My love for candles in general is fairly well-documented, and pretty well on display in this picture, but I've never quite managed to take the plunge and purchase one of these outrageously luxe darlings...UNTIL NOW.

Thank goodness I remembered a Nordstrom Note I had and realized that I could get this mini candle for practically nothing, especially since Nordstrom has free shipping. I have stalked this candle mercilessly since I my first introduction via Vivianna Does Makeup (honestly, could her blog get any more shoutouts from me?  Probably not).  The scent of this beaut is of the fig tree, and it's just so gloriously fresh smelling, fruity and slightly herbaceous.  It's also quite potent, and in my small bedroom I can smell it without even lighting it. Très bien.

In addition to the absolutely phenomenal scent, which I can't stop sniffing, I'm sure I look crazy, the damn label is just so painfully chic.  Just looking at it makes me feel a bit classier, and we could all use a little class after a rough day of public transit schlepping, right?  In summary, Figuier by Diptyque. If you're going to buy a candle for a ridiculous amount of money, this sucker should be at the top of the list.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Time Loves: Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

As promised the other day, today I'm reviewing one of my long time loves, the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

If I recall, this first came to my attention courtesy one of the many Brit blogs I read, right around the time the idea of putting oil on one's face came into the mainstream. I know some people out there still feel a bit skittish about it, but I'll try basically anything once (at least, when it comes to skincare), and, boy, am I glad I did.  After about a year and a half of daily use, I can happily attribute the continued health of my skin at least in part to this fabulous little bottle.  In the winter, I use it both morning and evening, after toning and before moisturizing, and it definitely helps keep my skin hydrated, a must in the nasty Chicago winter.  Most of the scientific hubbub around rosehip oil arises from a study published in 1988 out of a university in Peru, although I've not yet had any luck digging up and reading the study myself.  I'll be sure to update this post if I can find a place to read it online.  At any rate, the summaries I've read suggest that the vitamin A in the oil is what helps repair the skin and reduce the look of scarring.

The first bottle I had was the 45mL size, which would be a better deal but for the fact that this oil can get a bit iffy if you've had it open too long.  I ended up not being able to use the entire bottle before it got blech-y, so the second time around I went for the smaller size.  However, I recently gave it a go on a burn I got from my hair curler (once it reached the flaky stage, of course, there's a warning to avoid broken skin on the bottle), and it's remarkable how little of a mark there is.  Obviously I didn't have a control for this, as I try not to burn myself too often as a rule, but there's practically no scar, so if it did help, thanks.  Next time I have to re-purchase, I may consider going with the larger size so I can try it out on some older body scars I have as a result of my continued inability to avoid hitting objects while walking around in my daily life.

In summary: get thee to the internet/Whole Foods.  I love this shit, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than most facial serums, which is the step I'm replacing with this.

Monday, April 14, 2014

MAC Pro Palette for Blush and Eyeshadow

This Christmas, one of my beloved cousins gifted me something that approximately blew my mind: a MAC Pro Palette with fifteen eyeshadows and six blushes, as well as three new brushes, including the fabled 217, after which I have lusted incessantly for the past three years.  Since we're into April now, I can share with you my favorites from my new collection (sorry if I faint from giddiness).

This is the real life awesomeness...
...and these are some handy charts I made on MAC's website so I don't have to keep pulling the pans out to remind me what's what.

You'll notice there's a blank space in each one, which is because the colors available online don't always match up with what's in stock at the store. Still, this is handy enough. The missing eyeshadow is Brown Down, and the missing blush is Pinch O'Peach. I did each chart based on how they're arranged with the hinge facing up, FYI.

As you can see, the colors look TOTALLY different in real life than they do online.  That's about as strong a recommendation I can give for doing first time makeup shopping in person.  No way would you think Expensive Pink looks anything like it actually does based on the website color, and the blushes?  Fuhggedahboutit.

I'm sure you can tell that some shades are more loved than others, though they are all beautiful and have pretty uniformly great texture and payoff.  My only disappointment would be Blackberry, which seems like it would have some nice purple/red tones to it, but mostly reads brown on me.  If I had to pick three faves, Twinks, Amber Lights, and Contrast beat the others by a nose.  Twinks is a maroon shimmer that's been serving me well as a crease color, as its warmth and subtle shimmer go beautifully with a wide range of colors.  Amber Lights is a bronze-gold shimmer that really packs a punch as an all over lid color for a night out, and provides a nice accent on the lower lid when you want to keep it more toned down.  Contrast is a satin navy that reads a little purple in the pan, but goes on straight up traditional pea-coat on the eyes; its awesome depth goes great in the crease and it also makes a fab eyeliner when applied wet for something just a little different than traditional black or brown.

Where the blushes are concerned, the variety of finishes MAC offers in their powder blushes gives a crazy number of options in application.  Hands down Blush All Day gallops past the finish line as my go to in this palette.  It's a dusty rose that leans quite a bit browner than I'm used to, but I love that it gets me out of my comfort zone.  I reach for it most often when I'm having a natural makeup day, as it suits my skin tone in a way that just makes me look healthy. (Side note: Temptalia hated this, which just goes to show that sometimes you won't know if you like something until you try it for yourself.)

Now for the brushes!  In addition to the overwhelming color boost my collection received, I added three more brushes: 129 Powder/Blush Brush, 217 Blending Brush, and 219 Pencil Brush.  Though the 129 does a fairly good job picking up color and has a great shape for easy blush application, I find the texture of it really rough.  It feels like it's scratching my face every time I use it, in addition to which it seems to have some difficulty maintaining it's shape after a wash.  The 217, on the other hand, is everything I've ever dreamed of and more. It's the perfect shape for blending out your crease, but I most like it for softening out the edges of your shadow so that nary a harsh line mars your look.  Add in absurd softness and it's basically the perfect eye brush.  Last but not least, the 219 makes packing a dark color into the corner easier than a hooker at Mardi Gras; it's also great for a quick smudge of color beneath the lower outer lashline when you've got to do your nighttime makeup in a hurry.  I actually have a Special Edition travel size of this brush that I got in a set an alarmingly long time ago, but I find the longer handle makes it mush simpler to use, so I'm sold on the full-size.

Phew!  That about wraps it up, I hope you enjoyed this peek into my newly enlarged color collection.  If you have questions about any of the other shades, please leave a comment on the post and I'll be happy to give you an answer.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spotted: Trilogy at Whole Foods

I realized I've never done a review of one of my favorite products of all time, Trilogy's Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. That's not what I'm doing today, though, so don't get your hopes up.  I'm only mentioning it because I was in Whole Foods the other day and I happened to notice that the bougie grocery chain seems to be carrying many of the products Trilogy makes, including my very favorite, as well as the Antioxidant Plus version.  If you've been interested in their stuff but hate ordering things online (you weirdo), I say head on over to your local Whole Foods and check it out!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Essie Spring 2014: Style Hunter

I thought Romper Room would be my favorite from this collection, but we've got a one coat wonder on our (my) hands here.
This lovely bright pink is called Style Hunter. I've long placed Fruit Sangria on a pedestal as my favorite bright pink summer color, but I don't actually own it – I discovered it in my "getting professional manicures" phase. This color reads slightly redder than that oldie, but I think it's very chic while still getting that massive color payoff that I like to use to lift my spirits before the trees start growing again.  I'm not sure why (probably because I take all my photos on an iPhone camera), but it's slightly orange in these pictures, when in fact it's a very red pink.

As previously mentioned, this was a one-coater, so I feel real good about that, though it was a bit on the thick side.  That might be because it's cold in my apartment, and I only have a mini bottle of it, but I suspect that's true to it's texture in the larger size as well, since I find that to be the case with most Essie colors that only need one coat.

And I've got Hors D'oeuvres as my accent nail, which I did a post on back in January if you want to check it out.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

March Favorites 2014 | The Vlogging Plunge

I've decided to dip my toes into the vlogging game and take the YouTube plunge! What better place to start than rounding up my favorites for the month of March?  For a full list of the products I mention, click through to watch on YouTube.


Friday, April 4, 2014

In Store Test: Benefit Gimme Brow

You know I've been keeping up with my blog reading and YouTube watching like a madwoman, and one of the products I keep seeing over and over is Benefit's "brow-volumizing fiber gel," Gimme Brow.  So many before and after pictures, people.  It really seemed like an interesting prospect, and with some odd patchiness in my brows that I noticed recently, I'll admit that I was intrigued.  I managed to control my impulse to just dive in and spend, spend, spend, and had the nice lady (with very soft hands) at Ulta try it on me.

I regret to inform you that, while it certainly wasn't a disaster or anything, it did not quite live up to the hype for me.  She put it on and it just didn't do anything, except make my brows maybe a little less unruly.  Now, I'm not saying that this product has been lied about by the many, many people who tried it, just that I think I fall outside the profile of people to whom this product is exceptionally useful. I have very dark brows that, while they do have some weird gaps from high school era overplucking, are very full (read: hairy).  Ultimately, I think a powder to fill in those suckers suits me better.

While I am disappointed that this didn't turn out to be a win for me, a $22 for a verrrrrrry tiny little tube, I can't say it's ruining my life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Essie Spring 2014: Romper Room

Guysssssssss, remember how sad I was about that stupid Revlon nail polish because it was such a pretty color but it smelled like synthetic candy migraines?  Essie's Romper Room is basically exactly what I wanted from that color!

Such a nice, creamy pink. Opaque in two coats, if you do a really good job, but I think three thin coats is the way to go on this one. I used to hate pastels, but after enough exposure over the past three springs, I've finally been persuaded. Love the softness of it on manicures. Helps banish the winter blues (March in Chicago is definitely still winter, as if you couldn't tell from my complaining over the past three years.)

 I think you should all give this sucker a try! I'd even say it counts as a neutral for spring, so you can wear whatever you want with it. Yay!