Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My First Franken

If you haven't checked out my Facebook page (shame on you), I have created my very first Franken.
It seems like every time I buy a red polish, I'm disappointed. It's either too dark or too pink or something. So, I made myself a red in honor of my beloved Cornhuskers.

This one is a mix of an old Sally Hanson top coat, Rimmel Rapid Ruby, Sally Hanson Honeymoon Red, China Glaze Long Kiss, and OPI An Affair in Red Square. I have some awesomeness planned for this weekend, just in time for kickoff. Can't wait. So much football. :)

 Please excuse if the pictures aren't up to par. My Nikon insists that all reds and hot pinks are the same color, so these were taken with my phone. Yay, Thunderbolt!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fashion Addict...Yeah That Would Be Me

Guess who got drafted into a college football pick 'em, too? I'm seriously hoping all this football doesn't interfere too badly with my blogging. Now I understand why my friends have so much free time in the fall. Their husbands are all busy researching which defensive back has the most point potential this week. I digress.

My uber-pretty Color Club order resulted in another lovely purple shiny polish of sorts. I've been rocking Fashion Addict, which seems appropriate, given the disproportionate amount of my income that gets spent on fashion magazines, clothing and cosmetics.

With Flash
Fashion Addict is a lovely shade of lavender with holographic glitter. So shiny. Application was super easy. Two coats was all that was needed. Formula was really smooth. The glitter is so tiny you'd think it was a shimmer from a distance, but the holo is noticeable unless you're literally under a rock with no sunlight. It's not an in-your-face type of holo, though. I like this color because it's not super loud. It's very wearable. The lavender base would look good on most anyone, too.

As I was taking shots of my nails, I noticed Rando (I'm a cat lady, new readers.) tearing around the living room attacking the large pieces of tissue paper Sephora uses to pack their boxes. I got a few shots of him, too. So photogenic.
Recipe for entertainment: Rando, tissue paper, ribbon and Snoopy.
I'm pretty sure The Amazing Rando successfully stalked, hunted and killed the paper.

I also decided (as in could not wait) to play with the fractured polish I got in the order. Smash Hit, I am convinced, has the ability to make most any polish look a little badass. This pretty sparkly lavender got a little edge with the fractured top coat.

With Flash
The fractured look worked really easily. I'd read mixed reviews on the ease of use for crackle polishes, and Color Club had some of the best I'd seen. I love black anything, so I figured this would be a good place to start. The polish applied very easily and cracked within minutes. I had finished the second hand and the first was ready for a top coat. I didn't have any real issue with flaking, like I'd seen in other reviews, but I think a top coat is a must with this type of formula, or you may experience some flaking. I also discovered that it helps to apply a thick coat if you want larger spots in the crackle layer, thinner coats for smaller pieces. I usually make my first stroke down the center of the nail when applying polish, but the crackle seems to work better if you go from one side to another. You also need to paint fast, as these dry quickly. I loved the glossy look you see in my pictures, but I think a matte top coat could be quite awesome, too.

I have a feeling I will be getting some more of this fractured polish...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Coolest Part of My Day (Week...Month...Year...)

Anyone who knows me, or follows me on twitter, knows how much I love TLC's What Not to Wear. Today's unexpected day off turned into a WNTW marathon courtesy of YouTube. You can imagine how excited I was when a random tweet was favorited by none other than Ms. Stacy London.
Yes, I'm a dork. Seriously, though. How many of you wouldn't geek out from a little recognition from a favorite celeb? :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stamping Fun!

Hey, all! Sorry to be so sporadic with my posting, but I've been a busy girl. I was convinced to join a Fantasy Football league with some of my co-workers, so I've been learning all about NFL players and how this point system works. I'm taking a few chances. Hoping it pays off. Hopefully, this won't consume my entire life for the next 6 months...

The remaining bits of time I have left has been spent playing with my new toys. As some of you Twitterers saw, someone got some stamping plates and has been making a royal mess trying to learn to use them. Here are my best creations so far:
Painfully obvious I didn't use a base coat while I was doing this...


SO doing a whole mani of snowflakes as soon as winter comes.

Bought an entire set of plates for this flower. Worth every cent.

Love the color combo. The stamping needs some work.

Look how messy that Argyle is! Must clean this up. Argyle manis will prevail.
The snowflakes are the only things I didn't screw up royally on the first try. Apparently, sheer glitter polish is good. Mental note. These were the good designs. You have no idea how much Remove+ I went through. REALLY glad I got a fresh bottle with my last order...

Polish used:
Thumb: OPI - An Affair in Red Square over Orly - Visible Violet
Index: Essie - Carry On over Essie - Lady Like
Middle: Color Club - Alter Ego, Zoya - Jules and Art Club \/Color Club - Get the Blues over China Glaze - Chinchilla Vanilla
Ring: Art Club/Color Club - Black, Art Club/Color Club - White Satin and Essie - Power Clutch over Zoya - Dove
Pinky: Zoya - Cynthia over Essie - Chinchilly
(Yes, I have multiple polishes that reference Chinchillas. Not entirely a coincidence. Long Story.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Color Club Alter Ego

Ever have one of those weeks that just sucks the life right out of you? Yeah, I'm having one of those. Not necessarily a BAD week, just busy and slightly stressful. I also work in technical support, and this week I've been seeing the dumber/ruder/unreasonabler side of people more than usual. It's bad enough I'm making up words like "unreasonabler."

To make life more enjoyable, I'm focusing on my nails, since I got a nice little stash of Color Club nail polish. Today, you all get a glimpse of Alter Ego.
Indoor, natural light

Outdoor, direct sunlight
Alter Ego is true to her name. Indoor light makes her look shimmery, and kind of a smoky purple-toned gray. It's pretty and works well in a professional environment. Very classy. Very chic.

Once you take her into the sunlight, though, and it's like having a shiny disco party on your fingers. Multi-colored glitter gleams and sparkles.

Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight, blurred to show the sparkle.
Sadly, the camera doesn't do the polish justice. It's uh-mazing. The formula is solid. It's a little sheer, but goes on smoothly. I used three coats. It was pretty opaque in two coats, but the color matches the bottle after number three. I'm wearing a top coat as well, which really isn't necessary, but prevents the shimmer from dulling as quickly. All in all, a fabulous purchase.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smashbox Studio Stash Fall 2011: The Eyeshadow

Sorry for a lack of posts this last week or so. It has been a little on the busy side here, and I have to remind myself that sleeping takes precedence over blogging sometimes...

Today, I'm looking at part of the Smashbox Studio Stash kit I posted about previously, namely the eyeshadow. The Studio Stash comes with a pallette of four shadows. I haven't found official names for them, but we have a buttercream matte shade, a taupe with a slight shimmer, a dusty dark plum matte and a black shimmer with a slight shimmer.
Pallette with cotton swab for scale.

Taken in sunlight.
The pigmentation in the shadow is good. The texture is a little dry, and the matte shades give a little fallout and are slightly chalky. They tend to fade a little throughout the day without primer, but last pretty well with. My order actually came with a sample of the Photo Finish primer, which seems to work pretty well. Less creasing, longer wear. I also found the color is more vibrant when used with a little water, and could be used as a liner.
Swatched on the unfreckled portion of my arm - sunlight.

Indoor lighting.

I really like the packaging on the whole set. The palette is nice and compact, making it nice and easy to toss in your purse. The one thing that's missing is a brush in the compact. You would have to carry an applicator of some kind or use your fingers if you kept this in the purse.

Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase, and this set makes a great daytime look, and can easily be transitioned to night. The colors would be flattering on most anyone. The whole set was $59 from the Smashbox website.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ibiza...In A Skyscraper + Accent Nail!

What I should have titled this post is "How to save a manicure," but that's all boring and stuff. I ended up redoing my nails the other night after some heavy duty cleaning, using only Ibiza this time to match my toes. I was doing fine, but I had some issues and my middle finger experienced some "chippage." No, it wasn't from being used too much. :)

Luckily, the accent nail is a trend right now.
Ibiza/Skyscraper with Thistle/CG in the City
Blurred to capture the sparkle.
I wanted to use a silver for the accent finger and continue the Ombre with Skyscraper, but I realized I really don't have a silver that can hang with Ibiza. I ended up using China Glaze's Thistle with CG in the City as the glitter for the Ombre. Thistle is a little more "frosty" than I was hoping for, but it looks good with CG in the City.

Thanks to the accent nail, I won't have to redo my nails for a few days...unless I feel like it.

The Body Shop Tea Tree 4-Piece Facial Skin Care Regime - Week 1 Update

As you may have seen, I have been using the Tea Tree 4-Piece Facial Skin Care Regime for a few days now.

Observations so far:

Several of the blemishes I already had have cleared up or at least reduced in size. I've had a few new spots, but I am allowing about a week for anything that was already brewing under the skin to pop up.

I feel like I'm less shiny by the end of the day.

I noticed when I was applying the Tea Tree Oil to my face the first few days, I had enough spots that I covered a fair share of my face. I discovered that if I just added a drop or two to the lotion, it spread more evenly and I experienced less dryness in the trouble spots.

In the past, if a cleanser didn't have the "microscrubbers" in the formula, I constantly felt the need to exfoliate. Not the case with this product. I use a washcloth daily to remove makeup at the end of the day, and every other day, I'm using Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser ($10 from Sephora) to smooth things out.

So far, I'm really happy with the whole set. I'll keep you posted with the progress, and if I learn how to take self portraits where I don't look uber-creepy or serial-killer-like, I'll post future progress.

I am in awe of the veteran beauty bloggers out there who can photograph their eyes and lips without looking crazy or gross. I am still working on that skill...and may be for some time. Also, who really wants makeup-less shots of themselves on the internet? Well, unless you look like Eva Longoria.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Up All Night...In A Skyscraper (with Ibiza)

This one is a follow up to my last post. I'd been dying to do an Ombre mani with a pretty shimmer and a glitter in a similar shade. Mission accomplished. This one is my China Glaze/Zoya look with Skyscraper from the Metro Collection.

Indoor Lighting
Sadly, the pictures don't do it justice. The shimmer from the base kind of glows, and the glitter from Skyscraper glitters and shines in most any light. So pretty. I added two coats of top coat to give a nice, smooth finish.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Color Comparison: Zoya Ibiza vs. China Glaze Up All Night

Aside from completing the Intimate collection, my last Zoya order also left me with Ibiza. Based on the picture online, I thought it might be very close to my bottle of China Glaze Up All Night. Don't care. Got it anyway. :)

Turns out, they're almost identical. Both are gorgeous blackened-blue shimmers.
Up All Night, Ibiza, Up All Night, Ibiza - Sunlight
Up All Night, Ibiza, Up All Night, Ibiza - Artificial Light
As you can see, the differences are VERY minute, and the camera really doesn't show them. The most noticeable difference is that Ibiza is much more pigmented. You can get by on one coat, if you apply it well with a good base coat. I used two, but the second wasn't really necessary. Up all night definitely needs two coats, but two gives enough opacity that you can't really tell the difference between the two. Ibiza also has a more glossy coat, so you wouldn't HAVE to use a top coat.

The other difference between these two lovelies is the base color. They share the same sapphire blue shimmer, but the base on Ibiza is slightly darker. It's not really noticeable, but you can see it if you're looking for it (see below).
Up All Night, Ibiza, Up All Night, Ibiza - Sunlight

Given a choice between the two, it's a toss-up. China Glaze polish is typically a few dollars less (sometimes half the price), but you may only need half the polish if you're using the Zoya formula.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Body Shop Tea Tree 4-Piece Facial Skin Care Regime

Face Wash, Lotion, Toner, Tea Tree Oil
As some of you may have read, I have been undergoing a battle with my skin. I was running low on face wash the other day, so I decided to test out this little set from The Body Shop, courtesy of Sephora. I just got the order, and I've only used it twice, but I'm going to try something a little different. Rather than post a single review with my thoughts, I'm going to post updates as I go.

First Impressions: I have used pure tea tree oil in the past, so the scent didn't freak me out, but if you've never smelled tea tree oil, you will need to adjust. The face wash doesn't get super foamy, which I actually like. Foamy cleansers tend to strip your skin and cause dryness. This one will generate a few bubbles, but it's not really harsh.

The toner is interesting, in that you need to shake it before use. There is cornstarch in the toner, which causes a mattifying effect. I thought it was unusual when I ordered it, but I really like it. I used the set before applying makeup today, and I didn't need to use powder over my tinted moisturizer to get rid of the shine, which makes me VERY happy. I hate wearing powder. I prefer a slightly dewy finish to my makeup.

The moisturizer spreads really well, and you don't have to use a ton. A dime-size dollop will cover my whole face and neck. It doesn't add any shine to my skin, either. It worked well under makeup today.

Between last night and this morning, I haven't noticed a difference in my skin, aside from the matte look. It does feel soft, though, and not dry at all. I'll keep you posted with thoughts as I continue to use it!


“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe 

I love buying new shoes. The best part is wearing them for the first time. I spent the entire day staring at my feet. 

Gianni Bini Lavish Pumps
What has this shoe fiend so excited about black pumps?
  • Two Words: PATENT LEATHER. 'Nuff said.
  • My boss's boss's boss complimented them within an hour of my arriving at work.
  • No breaking-in period. I walked all over the office without a blister.
  • They were on sale!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Clairol Nice'N'Easy Foam

Nice'N'Easy Foam in Medium Brown

Some of you may have seen my tweet the other day. I dyed my hair and I wasn't exceptionally impressed with the product. I waited a couple of days to write my review to make sure annoyance didn't taint the opinion.

I got a coupon from Target for the Nice'N'Easy Foam hair color after I tried the John Freida product, and I decided to give it a try, since my gray roots were starting to show up. $4 off an $8-$10 kit? Yes, please.

Here's what Clairol advertises:
Think coloring is a chore? Not anymore!
Simply foam in permanent, dimensional
hair color with NEW Nice 'n Easy Color
Blend Foam. You'll get tones and highlights
with 100% gray coverage—drip-free!

The website shows 18 shades, and instructional videos for use.

The Good: My hair is shiny. I was getting my hair trimmed the other day and the first thing the stylist said was how much she loved the color. My hair is feeling softer than pre-dye, and the conditioner that came with the color kit was nice and rich and smelled pretty nice. The color was easy to mix and wasn't runny at all.
Hair (+ Me)

The Bad: The smell. Oh, the smell. I think they tried to add fragrance to tone down that hair dye smell...so it smelled a bit like scented hair dye. Took awhile to get the smell out of my bathroom. Also, the Nice'N'Easy refers to the application to your hair...not the cleanup. This color sticks. To everything. Your scalp, your hands, the counter, the sink, the tub, the shower, any hair clips you come in contact with, your hands. I had to massage my scalp with shampoo for about five minutes the next day to get it off my scalp. The gloves in the package were the cheap plastic kind that don't fit anyone's hands, so being neat is a little troublesome. The color was a bit darker than I anticipated, and while the foam wasn't exactly runny, when I squeezed the foam out of the little container, it almost looked streaky, and you could see some separation in the bottle.

Overall, the product wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. I was most frustrated with the cleanup. I still haven't figured out how to get the drips off the counter and sink. My skin broke out a little in the places I had to scrub the dye off my skin, and I did apply lotion around the hairline to prevent staining on my face. I just felt like the $8-$10 dye should outperform the $4 dyes I've used in the past. I am also really grateful the cat didn't get dripped on while he was under foot, or I'd have to contend with a brown spotted kitty.

The Amazing Rando

Spring Back: Zoya Intimate Collection - Spring 2011

So...I realize I'm a little late on this one. I was introduced to Zoya polish after this collection was released, and it's taken me this long to piece together the whole collection. Thanks to last weekend's promotion, I've finally got it together. Well, the nail polish collection, anyway...

Caitlin, Dove, Marley, Dannii, Gemma, Jules
You may have seen previous pictures of Caitlin. I won't spend a lot of time on her, but she's a pretty gray with bluish purple tones, almost periwinkle. She's a gorgeous creme with a glossy finish and a great formula.
 Dove is a great pale gray. I love the glossy finish and the color is a nice neutral that isn't taupe or nude. This one looks like a great blank slate for some nail art, but holds her own very well. The formula on this one is almost exactly like Caitlin. She's opaque in two coats. I usually do three, since she is such a light shade.
Marley has also gotten her own post, but this loveliness bears repeating. Similar formula to Caitlin and Dove, but this pretty lavender has a tiny hint of shimmer. It's almost undetectable, but it's there and it's pretty.
Dannii - Sunlight

Dannii - Indoor, Natural Light
Zoya describes Dannii as a medium orchid purple with pink and champagne highlights and flecks of silver metallic shimmer. With so many shades of purple on the market, it's hard to believe I haven't seen this one yet. I love Zoya's ability to make colors that look good on any skin tone. I honestly can't think of a girl (or guy, I suppose) that wouldn't look good with Dannii on her (or his) nails.
Gemma - Indoor, Natural Light

Gemma - Direct Sunlight
I LOATHE sage green. Hate it. Long story, but I seriously dislike the color...yet Gemma is quite possibly my favorite color of the collection. I think Zoya technically calls this a muted olive. Potato/potatoe. Whatever. It's sage to me, but the flashes of pink and blue shimmer add a magical touch to this otherwise basic creme. My favorite thing about Gemma: the glass-like finish. She's SO shiny the top coat is a mere formality.
Jules - Indoor, Natural Light

Jules - Sunlight
Jules was another surprise for me. I expected her to be a bit darker, more of a gold. She's actually more of a sandy taupe with hints of gold, champagne and silver glitter. Another classy neutral with enough sparkle to keep things interesting. Formula and finish are nice and smooth. I used three thin coats so the nail line wasn't visible.

Even though the Intimate collection was released as a spring collection, these pretties easily transition into summer, and a couple of them could even work in fall. I'm sorry it took me so long to pick up the last three, especially Gemma. Pure pretty.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Color Comparison: China Glaze Westside Warrior vs. Zoya Dree

Westside Warrior & Dree

Green seems to be a common theme in the fall collections this year, and in my comparing bottles, I noticed a bit of a similarity between these two lovelies.

Westside Warrior and Dree are both olive green cremes, and have a bit of a smoky look to them. Zoya's formula is a little thinner and the finish is slightly glossier, but both polishes will cover in two coats. China Glaze did bring a thicker formula, but nothing that's difficult to work with.

With my coloring, neither of these colors is the best in the collection for me, though both are perfectly wearable. Dree is a bit lighter and the color is a little more of a gray base, while Westside Warrior has a little more yellow in it.
Dree, Westsude Warrior, Dree, Westside Warrior
Dree, Westsude Warrior, Dree, Westside Warrior
 All in all, two fabulous greens to add to your collection. Unless you're specifically matching multiple ensembles, you don't really NEED both, but I always vote yes to more polish, especially if you love green. As far as pricing is concerned, Westside Warrior can be found online for $3-$7, and possibly in beauty stores (if you live in an area with good beauty shops), while Dree will cost you $8 on Zoya.com and some select spas.