Friday, February 27, 2015

Seeing Double with Hourglass

I'm sure all my fellow makeup addicts have seen photos and swatches of the new Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes by now. Seems like they've been a pretty major fail across the board, with an unfortunate texture that's just inexcusable in such a high-end brand.

But, on a happier note, I wanted to take a look at two of their earlier releases, from which much of their caché has come.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is everything I dreamed it would be. Two of the shades, Dim Light and Radiant Light, can be purchased separately, but Incandescent Light is exclusive this this palette. They're really all lovely and I've been enjoying the palette both for its variety and compactness. Incandescent Light is my favorite, though, it works perfectly as a highlight and also manages to give my makeup a glow without looking oily when used lightly all over the face.

Now, when I was making my Christmas list, that was the palette I had in mind, but one of Sephora's elves accidentally gave Santa the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. I was aware that these blushes were pretty universally loved, and once I had it in my greedy little hands, I just couldn't part with it. Like the first palette, the middle shade, Incandescent Electra, is exclusive. The most interesting shade for me, though is Mood Exposure, a dusty plum mixed with the powder shade Mood Light. It gives my cheeks the most perfect, luminous color and the application seems to be pretty much foolproof.

I highly recommend either of these palettes, if you can snag them. The packaging is pretty damn fly, too, which shouldn't matter, but we all know it does. They're a pretty penny, but they've been a standout addition to my makeup collection.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 8

Guys, it has stayed strong.

In case you were left wondering after last week's post, yes, the third book in Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy is a worthy successor to the first two. I thought I'd finished the second one when I posted last week, but I was wrong, so I finished that up this week (that mistake was the result of the buzzer with my food ringing in an empty apartment at the exact moment I finished the penultimate section of the book. Apparently, it was a bit of a psychic blow). I honestly don't care to tell you anything else about it that I haven't already said. Again, I really think these are worth a read. Yes, they've got a slight sci-fi bent, but much like Andy Weir's The Martian, that is not the point of the book.

In other news, one of the FIVE books I put on hold at the library TWO MONTHS ago finally came off hold, so I'm excited to start reading that. I'm sure you'll hear about it next week!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Drugstore Eyes: Two Hits and a Miss

Over the past year, most of the major drugstore brands have really stepped up their game in the quality department. I've been making the effort to find some eyeshadows that stand up to their pricier counterparts, and it's been a pretty good ride. Sure though, there's been a bump in the road, too...

Wet 'n' Wild makeup is so inexpensive that it makes you a little wary. I finally took the plunge, though, and picked up their 8-pan eyeshadow palette in Comfort Zone and It. Is. Awesome. The left column has four more neutral shades, while the right side is a little more vibrant, including one of the most interesting shades I've ever seen. The definer shade on that side is pretty much what I always want MAC Club to be and never is. The pigmentation on almost every shade in this palette is outrageous, and at $4 for eight shadows, it's a damn steal.

Another drugstore win is the Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in Creamy Beige. I already loved Bad to the Bronze from this line, but this matte shade is pretty much perfect as both an eyeshadow base and an all over the lid color for a simple makeup day. It's so easy to apply, I just swipe it across my eyelid with my finger and blend it out a little in the crease, sometimes with a brush if I feel like it, but I usually just use a different finger. This has been going on my eyes pretty much every day, either by itself or underneath the Comfort Zone Palette

Unfortunately, I also managed to come across one of the worst eyeshadows I've ever encountered. I heard and read so many good things about the L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows, and when I spied Smoldering Plum, I thought I'd give it a try. I love wearing plum shades because they make the green in my eyes pop, but this just did not live up to my expectations. In addition to reading as more of a black-gray color when I swatched it, the patchiness almost made me want to give up there. I didn't though, I persevered and discovered that the longevity was basically nonexistent. Not sure if this color was just a dud, or what, but I was seriously bummed out.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mani Monday: Zoya Neely

Hey hey hey, it's time for Mani Monday. Monday just seems to sneak up without warning every week, don't you think? One second, it's Friday, you blink, and Monday's yapping at you to get up out of bed.

Zoya Neely is a pastel minty green perfect for spring. Formula was good, it self-leveled pretty well and had minimal streakiness, which is always a concern with pastel polishes. I have to say, though I liked this color, it left me a little uninspired. It's entirely possible this is just because the winter is back with a vengeance here in Chicago, which is totally destroying my ability to believe it will end any time in the next four months. I'm having flashbacks of my senior year of college, during which it was 45 degrees every day the last week of May.

But I can't predict the future, all I can do is keep painting my nails. I've been doing so slightly less often lately because my cuticles are busted and my nails are dried out. Anyone have any solutions? Mostly, I've just resorted to compulsive moisturizing with Soap and Glory's Hand Food, my favorite hand cream.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 7

My Valentine's gift to myself was one of the books I was actually looking forward to reading, Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.

I picked up a volume that has all three novels in the trilogy, and I've actually already finished the first one and the second, Authority. I think anyone who likes books or thinking should read these books. Probably also you should give it a go if your human. And if you're another literate being outside of that, you should give it a go, too. Vandermeer's writing is so well-crafted, and the story so creepily captivating, that reading it feels a little bit like having it worm into your mind and drive you a little insane.

It's centered around something called Area X, a mostly impenetrable area that popped up in an otherwise unremarkable section of coast about thirty years prior to the start of the first novel. That's all I'm going to say, this is one of those times when going in blind makes it that much more enjoyable.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What I Got: Zoya's New Year, New Hue

One of my favorite things about Zoya, aside from the truly insane color range and generally excellent formula, is the 3 free promotions they run a couple of times a year. While they do charge you shipping, it's still as if you're getting the polishes at a great discount, and the brand has a big enough selection that there's always something new to try if you're a polish junkie like me. As I mentioned on Monday, a few weeks ago Zoya ran another of these promotions, called New Year, New Hue. For $15 USD shipping and handling, you get to choose any three colors you want. Literally any of them, no restrictions, any finish you want. While this is $3 more than it has been in the past, this time the deal included a mystery mini trio, which is the second set of polishes you see above. Essentially, you're getting each mini for a dollar, whereas they usually sell on the site for $5 apiece, or $12 in a set of three. At the time of this post, none of the three minis in this trio were available for sale on the site.

Since I was looking forward to spring when I made my choices, the set I chose definitely has a sort of spring garden-y bent. The palest pink is Madison, a translucent pale pink I'm hoping will look great with a traditional French manicure or on a less flashy nail day. The green is Neely; I got it because it reminds me a great deal of Essie's Absolutely Sure,  an old favorite. I'm hoping it improves on the formula of that color, in addition to being slightly brighter. Last, we have Mia, an opaque creme dusty rose that I've given a test run and am very pleased with.

The minis are, from left to right, Charlotte, Severine, and Anais. Charlotte is greige with a distinct yellow undertone that I fear may look a bit sickly against my skin tone. Severine appears to be a truly divine gold that's a cross between a shimmer and a metallic. Fingers crossed it doesn't show brushstrokes. Anais is a nearly black grey-brown with a slight silver shimmer. I'm eager to see if any of that reads on the nail, as this is not a color that I would normally have chosen and thus for which I have no dupes in my collection.

Overall, I'm real pleased, and I can't wait to give them all a good try. Did any of you take advantage of this offer?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 6

Of course I'm still reading A Voyage Long and Strange, I bought it, and am thus under no pressure to finish it. It's good though, and I'm enjoying little bits and pieces of it as I grab some time for it when I can.

I started and finished Holly Black's Black Heart, whatever, judge me if you want. I'm afraid that I'm finally an adult because the star-crossed love stories in these teen lit books look an awful lot like hormone driven stupidity to me. C'mon y'all, there's nothing wrong with getting you all sorted before you go on hitching your life and all your choices to another human being. You can still date each other in the meantime.

I bet the really good ones wouldn't make me feel that way. But I'm not reading any of those right now because they're ALWAYS ON HOLD. And I've run out of hold spaces. Sigh.

Can't even lie, I'm really off pace right now and it's only February. I got on a knitting jag, and I cannot, in fact, read and knit at the same time. The blanket I'm knitting is turning out great, though, so there's that. Whatever, I'm not getting graded on any of this.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mani Monday: Zoya Mia

This is one of the polishes I picked up in Zoya's New Year, New Hue promotion that they ran a few weeks ago. Mia is a dusty pink creme with excellent opacity in two coats. It's a bit darker than I was looking for, but I think it's a nice transitional shade from late winter into spring. Yes, I am pretending it's late winter.

What shades do you like to wear at this time of the year?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What I'm Reading, Week 5

Still reading A Voyage Long and Strange. Not surprising.

My mom came into town on Saturday, so I haven't been reading as much, but I did manage to start the third book in that series by Holly Black, which shall remain nameless. Also borrowed Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire from the library, and it seems like it could be an interesting endeavor.

I impulse purchased Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but I haven't started it yet. Have any of you read this? Did I make a mistake?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mani Monday: Spun in Luxe

As soon as I saw this color, I knew that I had to give it a try. In the bottle, Essie Spun in Luxe from the Cashmere Matte collection appears navy with a distinct blue glimmer throughout. With the satin-matte texture promised by this formula, I thought it might turn out to be one of the more interesting colors in my collection. Unfortunately, as you can see, the shimmer doesn't really come out at all, and it ends up looking much flatter than it does in the bottle. I'm really disappointed, as this is easily something I could have accomplished with a regular navy and a bottle of matte topcoat (I do really like Essie's Matte About You).

I guess it can't be non-stop hits all the time, but I do wish this had lived up to its potential, as it could have been a winter mainstay for me.