Thursday, December 31, 2015

Playing with polish: red glitters

For my last mani of 2015, I just slapped some layers over what I already had on, so this is messy but it turned out pretty cute:
This is a lot of layers. Let's see:
  1. Nail Nutrition
  2. Bridge the Ridge
  3. Good Girl Gone Bad (Lippmann) (this is pretty on its own, but I didn't stop there...)
  4. I Know You Are But What Am I? (Black Cat Lacquer) - this is sooo pretty, holo glitter in red jelly, but relatively subtle (I need to compare this to Ruby Pumps)
  5. Seche Vite
    -- so the above is what I already was wearing - I wore that overnight, but then I decided it was too subtle for New Year's Eve. So I started adding glitter.
  6. Gold Rush (Cover Girl) - this is an old Cover Girl, a medium-size gold glitter - I like it but once I got it on, I decided I wanted more red, so I added...
  7. Sparkling Wave (LASplash) - dark-red glitter of a similar size. Again, pretty but I was still wanting to go more red so I added another layer...
  8. Jolly Lolly (L'Oreal) - red jelly from the Miss Candy collection several years ago -- and then I was happy but I still had to topcoat again, so...
  9. Gelous - luckily one more coat was enough

I get carried away with the experimenting sometimes. It was kind of crazy to cover up first the Lippmann and the Black Cat after that. You couldn't really see the bottom layers by the time I got done, but the red base certainly made a difference, I think.

Working up to a favorites list

Okay, well, here was the shortlist I made for the first half of 2015:
Aurora Borealis - Lucky 13
Black Metal Dahlia - OCC
Boom - Formula X
BSOD - Pretty Serious
Flake Your Booty - Painted Polish
Harlow - Zoya Matte Velvet
Hot Couture - Color Club
Pretty Gritty - Rescue Beauty
She's Beyond Kelp! - KB Shimmer
Stuck In The Middle - Pretty Serious

For the second half, here's another ten:
Bat My Eyes - China Glaze
Bit Faker - Butter London
Bubblegum Punk - Rescue Beauty
Cinnamon - Zoya
Daphne's Disco Party - Pretty Serious
Dorothy Who? - China Glaze
Elliot - Pretty Serious
Ichi Hanami - Pretty Serious
Lichen - Cirque
Love Potion No.99.9 - Lynnderella
Here is Lichen.
and Zoya Cinnamon, as an example or two.

It'd be fun to do nail wheel or two with all of these on it, if I can manage to get them all together.

Note that I don't limit myself to polishes that were released in the last year. They just have to be new to me, not brand-new. Several of these have been around for several years, but I'm just now getting around to trying them.

Anyway, my favorite will probably come off this list, and I'll probably do a top ten from this as well. (Things that I left off this list are still technically eligible if they were new-to-me this year, but I think the chance that I'll swoop back in and pick something else is awfully slight. I have not actually decided on a favorite just yet, though!)

It's interesting to me that there are so many Pretty Serious polishes here. I also see two from the RBL+R29 collection. And several heavy-duty flakies made this list, from various brands.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gifts, Sephora Play, & haircare empties

FYI: I made a page for Sephora Play, but it doesn't show up anywhere so I wanted a pointer somewhere. Right now that same information is all findable through the Play! by Sephora page, except that they don't make it too easy to find. (If that link doesn't work, try doing a search on Sephora's website.) I suspect making sure they have enough of the same 6 items for every subscriber is sort of a nightmare, and that's why they're rolling it out so slowly.)

Here's what was in December's Sephora Play box - but I don't have pictures since I gave literally half of it away and didn't think to take pictures before I did that. (But here's the picture from Sephora's website!)

Oh what fun!
Sephora Play 04 - December 2015
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes (eyeliner) in Matte Black
  • Dr Brandt Skincare Poredermabrasion
  • Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Duo
  • Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil
  • Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Serum (packet of 7 - presumably a week's supply!)
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb sample
I gave away the first three and kept the second three. I have tons of eyeliner and shadow already, I don't have any interest in "poredermabrasion" (and in fact I'm super-cautious these days about getting anything abrasive anywhere near the very sensitive skin of my face). The Smashbox shadows were pretty but I decided to let somebody else be pleased with them.

For Christmas, I gave away six sets of makeup and beauty products (four to relatives and two to co-workers), and I tried to make sure each set had at least one extra-nice item - the Smashbox duo became one of those. Other "hero" items were from other Ipsy bags & Sephora boxes, as well as a few things I'd bought separately: Tarte bronzer, Buxom lip creamGlamglow cleanser, a Nest hand creme and a rollerball, and in one case a red Pretty Serious polish. And then I filled in with all the other stuff I had - which was a lot. Everybody got five items or more. I used the four Sephora Play boxes I've gotten as gift boxes, and tied them up with ribbon. I used a Ipsy bag for one where the items were all small, and and for the remaining one I used just a small Sephora shopping bag. I knew pretty much everybody I was giving these to would like this stuff but wow, it went over well, even more than I thought. Everybody loved it.

(If you're wondering, the male people I give gifts to almost all got something Star-Wars-related. My husband had told me some things he wanted besides that, movies etc. I got nail polish and some Star Wars items, myself - the best of both worlds. Oh and that Boscia black cleanser, yay!)

Switching gears, I took a picture of some hair items I was throwing away. My hair has changed so much that I just don't use the same hair products I used to use. These are both John Frieda products that I've had for a long time - several years, I bet. And they're both perfectly good products, but I used to have really limp hair and it was always colored (for the last 15 years or so, since it first started having a noticeable amount of gray). Now that my hair is a much larger percentage of gray, it has a lot more texture and oddly I haven't been coloring it much - or not with permanent color, anyway. So I don't really need the color sealer. I suppose the "shine" products would still be fine, but I'm really more into products that moisturize and de-frizz and stuff like that. Probably eventually I'll start coloring it again when I figure out what to use. It's still got a good bit of dark color to it but it's also got a lot of a sort of iron-gray to it. It doesn't look terrible, so I'm just leaving it alone for the moment, while I experiment around with what to do with this whole new texture!

Monday, December 28, 2015

More swatches

The Pretty Serious nail wheel swatches were in the last entry, and I know I showed some Zoya swatches lately, but here's a couple of other assorted things:

This is Butter London Bit Faker with two different (Zoya) undercoats: Cinnamon on the left, and Autumn on the right. Both of them look good, but Cinnamon-and-Bit-Faker was the combination I kept on using.

These are the polishes I got from Sally Beauty a while back: Sally Girl Bling Tree, Nina Pro Boys 'n' Berries, and China Glaze Dorothy Who? The latter is the only one I've actually worn, and it is of course totally awesome. I think I will like the Nina one with topcoat, though. Bling Tree's main problem is it's a bit sparse. (Also, I have more red-and-green glitters than I can possibly wear in the two-week window - at most - each year where I get in the mood for that kind of thing. But then I mostly bought this one because it came in the cute blinged-out bottle anyway!)

And then this is the two Cover Girls that I bought a couple of weeks ago (both of which I had in Glosstini size already), Seared Bronze and Pyro Pink. As I think I said before, both of these were Hunger Games tie-ins, or rather Catching Fire tie-ins, because if you've been following nail polish that long, you probably remember the China Glaze polishes that went with the first movie (Agro, Electrify, etc.). The Cover Girl tie-in went with the second movie, I know that one without thinking about it too much.
Anyway, the Cover Girl ones are very pretty glass-fleck-type things, and they're apparently being discontinued, so snatch them up now if you want them!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pretty Serious mini-haul

I've bought more Pretty Serious polishes than anything else this year, I bet. Like the gift sets, this bunch has been hanging around for a month or two - I think I bought these a while back when they were having a sale.
There's a larger version of this at the bottom, but L-R across the "Pretty Serious" section denoted with arrows):
  • Ninja-lish-ious - dark blue with tons of shimmer (and it's LE)
  • Baphomet's Berserker - speckled black, basically, with a multitude of glitter colors floating in the black crelly-ish base.
  • Elliot, which I talked about some time ago but didn't have a picture of - gorgeous bright-blue shimmer
  • Frogtown - the pictures seem to show it as a blue-green but I wore this at Christmas (with glitter on top) because it just looked like a standard Christmas green to me (here it is on PS's website) ("Green metallic shimmer" is the description on the website.)
  • Nuke The Fridge - I don't remember ever having seen a polish name that's overtly an Indiana Jones joke, but that's what this one is. Kind of similar to Zoya Irene, to my mind (I need to remember to compare - olive green with brown leanings?
  • Stud Muffin (Pretty Serious) - I turned around and gave this one away, even though it was meant to be my own gift, because I decided it was awfully similar to Bird Fling and as well as (probably) similar to ones I already had. I did swatch it before I gave it away, so hopefully I'll be able to do some more comparing anyway. It's a warm-leaning - meaning slightly orange-leaning - bright bright red creme. It's beautiful, I just felt like I didn't need it and I'd give it a better home. (It was Christmas, what can I say.)

Here's the boxes:
(Hmm, there's 6 swatches and 5 boxes - I think it's Elliot that's missing, because I'd already worn it quite some time ago)

I didn't take pictures of the bottles outside of the boxes, for some reason.

This is just a bigger look at the same swatches (actually the same exact picture, just cropped) as above:
 (The brighter blue peeking out on the far left is Zoya Isa, I believe, so you can see that there are definite differences in tone between those two blues. And the brown visible on the far right has to be Cinnamon.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nailkale & Butter London gift sets

I picked up this gift set from Sephora - on sale - because I wanted the NailKale base-coat, which I'd heard good things about, and it was always sold out individually.
It has the full-size "superfood" base-coat, and four minis, topcoat and three polishes.

  • Victoria (top-left) - they apparently call this "dark cherry" - I think I would just call it burgundy.
  • Nailkale top coat (top-right) - I've seen good reviews of these, so I'm really interested to try out both the top- and base-coats. (I laughed at first at the "kale" thing but I'm willing to give it a try.)
  • Knightsbridge Mews (bottom-left) - this is a nail brightener, a peachy sheer.
  • Windsor Mews (bottom-right) - I'm going to have to compare this to Zoya Odette. It's one of those neutral/orchid colors that have been so popular this past year. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "mauve" - mauve has been so out of fashion for so long that I find it doesn't come easily to me. I think it may be brighter than Odette.

And then sometime in November Butter London had a one day "mystery set" for $10.  It turned out to be a lip crayon in Tea with the Queen, a small polish that I really liked (Cor Blimey, a dark purple), a nail file, a "scrubber" packet with a prep wipe, and a really cute bright pink bag to hold it all.
The polish on the left is full-sized, and is Knackered, which I ordered separately. The lighting was not really great for taking pictures today. I gave away the lip crayon (and the nail file) before I took the pictures, and I don't see the Tea With The Queen lip crayon on the website but here's the nail polish, which appears to be just about the same color. Very neutral.

(Here's Pink Sith's very amusing take on Knackered, even if you do have to imagine what the most of the gifs are.)

(additional note: Our normal holiday tradition is to wrap stuff like this up and not open it again until Christmas Day, even when I know perfectly well what it is. And taking pictures of it also has to wait til afterwards. But this year is so screwed up I'm not even bothering.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The latest from Zoya

Here's the latest round of Zoya polishes.
(I just took a picture of the box because I think the box is pretty.)

They had a series of one-day deals, and I snapped up the one I saw that looked like the best deal to me. That was buy a mini Color Lock system for $20, get three polishes of your choice free and free shipping. I would probably not have paid $20 for just the Color Lock box by itself - it's minis of the top-coat, base-coat, and drying drops, plus their remover which I am already on the record as not liking. (It's already in the pile of samples to give away. I think the scent of it is too strong, is my only problem with it. It gives me a headache.) But I did want to try the Anchor and Armor system (and the drops) so I'm happy to have them, and when you lump all those items together, it's a very good deal. So here are the  color polishes I got:
In case you still can't read that (and their print is really tiny), it's Aurora, Ivanka, and Isa. Frankly, I never would have thought to buy Aurora, but I watched a bunch of people's "favorite Zoya polish" videos lately, late one night, and more than one person had it as their very favorite. I am not hugely fanatical about holos but I decided to give it a try. (I might have gotten Dream instead, which as I understand it is the same formula, basically, but since I also wanted Isa I didn't want to end up with two dark blues in the same batch.) The one I am impressed with so far is Ivanka, actually, because it doesn't look like what I thought.
I had the impression it was emerald green, but it's lighter and somewhat more blue-leaning than I was expecting, which as far as I'm concerned is a good thing. I have tons of emerald greens already. (I'm not sure if I misread, or forgot what I read, or what. Wouldn't be the first time.)

Here they are on a wheel:
Isa has some hidden glitter down in the depths that doesn't show up here. It's really beautiful, but I don't know how much that will show up in action. Anyway, I'm happy with what I bought.

(I didn't get a picture of the Color Lock set - if the sun comes out tomorrow I'll add that in.)
(A bit dark - the sun came out, but the angle was bad or something - but you can get the idea, anyway.)

Oh, you want to hear something funny? (or, well, I think it's funny at least!) - I am plotting another January stash run-through. The last... 3 years, I think, I've rearranged my stash completely in the winter/spring and taken pictures - one year I did it by color, the next year by brand, and then last year I did it by finish. And I said I probably wouldn't do it again because my stash has gotten too big. I came up with this new system where I sorted them seasonally and it does work pretty well, but I'm finding that I want to compare things and see if I can get rid of a few things. So I may just go back and do the whole thing by color again. I have so much more polish than the last time I did this that it should be quite different from the last time, and hopefully instructive. I can look for dupes - and then I will convince myself I have to keep them all, undoubtedly. But hey, if I even get rid of a few that'll be an improvement. If I actually do this, I will probably break it down into small similar color groups. It may take forever.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December Square Hue

Here's December Square Hue, which is the last Decades set, for the 2010s:
We have a deep purple, a bright red and a gold.
And here are the names:
(The differences in the apparent bottle size are misleading here; they're all exactly the same size, some were just nearer the camera than others.
So we have:
  • Baby, Baby, Baby ca.2010 - which I guess is referring to a Justin Bieber song (this is not something I'm up on)
  • Bird Fling, which apparently is talking about Angry Birds since this also says ca.2010 and that's the year that Angry Birds came out
  • Olympiad ca.2018 - which is apparently the year of the winter Olympics, not the summer ones. Which are, I guess in Rio this coming year? I don't know.
And for the record, I have cancelled Square Hue, for the second time. Their polishes are good, and that's not to say I won't start it again later. The new series coming up did not especially grab me, though.

New polishes: Outlast and Nine Zero

So here's the two Outlast polishes I was talking about in the last entry plus the one Nine Zero polish:
These two and at least one more (Violet Flicker, I think? which I already had) were marked as being discontinued. Seared Bronze is supposed to be a Warm & Fozzie dupe - and in any case, these glass-fleck polishes in this line are great (there were at least 6 of them and maybe more, although I don't know if any of them are still in production now) and if you don't have them or something like them I would totally recommend picking them up. CVS is said to have them marked down so they'll probably go fast.

As for the Nine Zero, this was the one that I mentioned a while back, that I bought because it was just like nothing else, and that's this:
(I still had Seared Bronze on my fingers at the time I took this, although now I've switched to Twinkle Lights.) And here it is on a wheel.
This is two, three, and four coats, respectively. You can't really see the silver base color here and I couldn't see it well in the afternoon sunlight, especially against the whiteness of the wheel - which is why I did the fourth coat just to see. But when I put it on my fingernails yesterday I only did three. It's a silver holo base and then the little scattered confetti hexes - but you can see that the hexes go on pretty thick without having to work at it. I was not dabbing at all in these pictures. So it's really a cool and different polish.

In case you're not already aware of this, Nine Zero polishes are from jessface90 of YouTube, who's pretty well-known there, but has just started her own polish line. I've always liked her videos and I felt like she is the sort of person who's not going to put out polishes without testing them properly and such. And I only have this one so far but I think it's awesome.

(And I think I have some more new things, but I'll put that in a separate post.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

NOTD: Seared Bronze (on close-out?)

I picked up two Cover Girl Outlast colors, Seared Bronze and Pyro Pink - they weren't marked down at the time but they had a note that said they were being discontinued soon. I have both of these in the teeny Glosstini bottles from back when they came out (that was Catching Fire, so what, two or three years ago?) I've always meant to buy the bigger bottles and so I went ahead and got them. I've since heard that CVS has them on clearance.
I actually was playing around with layering the two, so this may be pinker than it would be by itself.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Purchases & empties

I saved this picture of the Black Friday Nest trio because it's gone from Sephora's website other than this little thumbnail, now. I happened to get my hands on one (thanks to a Sephora employee who tipped me off that it was there) that was still hanging around my local Sephora this past week. The set has three small but good-sized rollerballs - I believe they're Indigo, Verde, and Dahlia & Vine. I always like green scents so I imagine Verde is the one I'm going to keep for myself. I like Indigo, too, though.

(I know I took my own picture of my set the other day, but I can't find it right now. I'll add it back in when I track it down.) Here we go:

I haven't bought much nail polish lately, as I think I said before, but I did cave on a Zoya "happy hour" promo the other day - if you bought the $20 mini color-lock set you got three free polishes of your choice and free shipping. I hadn't ever tried out Zoya's full Color Lock system, so that's worth having to try (Their remover literally nauseates me, I do know that, so I'll definitely be giving that one away). I believe the polishes I got were two classics that I'd never gotten, Ivanka and Aurora, and then Isa from a more recent collection. (We'll see if I like Ivanka enough to compensate for that name's unfortunate association with the T-word.)

I have one "empty" picture, my old favorite eye serum:
I don't know if this brand is still around at all - I haven't seen it in years, anyway - but it was a good eye serum. I've found good (& cheaper) alternatives these days, though, so I'm certainly not going to try to hunt it down.

I threw away a couple of other things and didn't think to take pictures. One was Garnier moisturizer that's got a gel formula - this or something similar - which I was never crazy about but was determined to use up. And I threw away what was left of that Marc Jacobs blusher that I bought earlier this year, because it was ruined. (Not because I depotted it - which I did - but because I subsequently dropped it into a sink full of water. I wish I'd just left it alone because then I could have given it to a good home, but... well, it's not like there's much I can do about it once it's soaking wet.)

Oh! and I did buy another moisturizer, I almost forgot that - not a replacement for the Garnier one, but I had a sample of LaFresh night creme which was almost empty, and I decided I couldn't live without it and so I forked out for the full-size one. I have several day-cremes that I really like - LaFresh's Good Day is one of them - but I haven't found many night-cremes that I really love. It's probably no coincidence that all of the ones I've liked the most are awfully expensive, which makes Good Night at $40 for 1.7 oz look more reasonable.

Friday, December 11, 2015

NOTD: Bird Fling + Alpha Nail

I got the 2010s collection from Square Hue. The bottom layer of this mani is Bird Fling, from that collection, which is a nice bright red creme. (I had no idea what the name might be referring to, and I googled and came up with Angry Birds. It says 2010 on the bottle, and apparently that's the year that Angry Birds was first around. I can't think of any thing else that involves flinging birds, so for now, I'm going with that theory.)

So I wore Bird Fling for 24 hours, and it looked great but it was chipping, in that way that reds tend to do. Not big chips, but definitely there. So I considered taking it off and starting over, and instead I patched it up and put Alpha Nail on top of it. Two coats of Alpha Nail, actually. You can see the blue shimmer of Alpha Nail pretty clearly here, and to me, it now looks like a bright pink instead of a red.
(Honestly, in the bottle I thought that Bird Fling was on the border between pink and red, anyway. But on the nail, by itself, it looked pretty definitely red.)

(And I'll do pictures of the 2010s collection when I get a chance.)

Random note:
I happened to notice that three years ago, Karen was talking about Nail Paks - that was an idea that never quite took off, wasn't it?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

NOTD: Cinnamon w/matte Bronze Foliage

I bought Bronze Foliage from Virago Varnish on clearance sale back in the summer even though it was terribly seasonal, and then - of course - when it finally was the proper season for it I almost forgot to wear it. And it is really beautiful. (The color on my nails looks right, here, so why are my fingers so red? I never do understand how this works.)
It's big hexes along with pretty heavy small glitter, and it's flashier than I expected because it's all holo. So I put Matte Me Crazy on top to tone it down. You can still see the holo glitter pretty clearly in this picture but in real life it doesn't show up quite so much.

At least this mani gave me another excuse to trot out Zoya Cinnamon. I'm not quite ready to swing into full December mode, anyway.

I've slowed down a lot on the nail polish purchases but I did order one polish from Nine Zero because it just didn't look like anything I had - or anything I've ever seen, for that matter - and that's Twinkle Lights. It looks like it's sort of the same kind of finish as Lippmann Mermaid's Dream, to me, but in holiday confetti colors in a silver glitter base. Or something like that.

Friday, November 27, 2015

NOTD: Zoya Jem, matte

I decided I was in the mood for something purple, very early this morning, and then after I settled on Jem, I decided to see how it looked matte. This is Matte About You on top, which is really more satin than matte, but anyway, it looks pretty awesome. (I banged it around a bit playing videogames, which you can see if you look closely, but that aside, it totally works.)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NOTD: Alpha Nail over Windsor Mews

I have some Nailkale minis that I bought a while back and hadn't tried yet. Windsor Mews looked sort of interestingly neutral - it's a purplish neutral creme in the vein of Zoya Odette (which I have and never remember to wear, but I'll have to try & remember to compare them). Well, neutral creme, it looked alright but I was bored with that in an hour, so later on I added a coat of Bubblegum Punk. Then I wasn't especially crazy about the results of that, either - I think B'gum Punk is better over dark colors - so I decided to try a different topcoat, and I found my bottle of Alpha Nail and layered that on, and well, I won't say it's my favorite mani ever or anything, but it is much more interesting, for whatever reason:
I had to poke around to find it, but in this entry there's a bit of a comparison between the different "shimmery top-coat" polishes I own - it's the first picture, a ways down, and there's some discussion with it. I decided then that Alpha Nail definitely had a blue tinge, and I stand by that. I think you can see it in this picture a little bit, although not really strongly. I need to remember to try Alpha Nail again.

Monday, November 23, 2015

November Sephora Play

Here are the items:
(I had to fish the blue pencil out of the bottom of the box under the shreds of paper - if I hadn't seen it in the booklet I might not have even realized I was missing an item!)

The Exclusives
Sephora Play 03 - November 2015
  • Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer (hydrating primer)
  • Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Rhubarb
  • Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in Dolly
  • Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear (waterproof) in My Boyfriend's Jeans
  • Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
  • Stella Eau de Parfum from Stella McCartney
This is a good selection of stuff - I'll probably keep everything but the Buxom lip creme, because I'm not partial to lip-gloss type of stuff, and even aside from that I don't care for the color, which is sort of a nude pink. The Rhubarb pencil looks like it is likely to suit me - not that I need any more lip colors.

Friday, November 20, 2015

NOTD: Autumn

Zoya Autumn, which is a couple of days old so I guess one little chip is not so bad:
It looked more orange in the bottle - and it looks pretty orange here, too - but in practice I would say it's more of a bronze, or at least a bronze-orange. It's not at all unflattering on me, anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2015

NOTD: Bit Faker over Cinnamon

The lighting's real weird on this, but you can kind of get the idea. This is BL Bit Faker - which I found at Marshall's a couple of months ago - over Zoya Cinnamon:
I messed up my middle finger, which is why I just glopped on more - it's the "let's make it an accent nail!" school of thought. You can still see close-up that it's a bit uneven but in real life it looks ok. I really like this manicure.

I just noticed that you can also see it in the mirror in this picture:
(The color's much more true there.) As far as the rest of the picture, this is another "empty" but in this case it's empty because I depotted it, more or less. Not in one piece like they do on YouTube - but I actually broke it up and basically ground it down to powder (and put it in my old Benefit blusher box, if you're wondering). I don't know if it was my brush or if the blush itself, but I couldn't get the blush to go onto my cheeks to my satisfaction the way it came. Luckily, considering that I took a $30 blush and ground it to bits, it works pretty well that way. I do like the color. It turned out to have a weird consistency to it - it's not a dry powder, it's almost like a powder-creme thing. I wonder if it will get drier eventually. Anyway, it wasn't working for me like it was before, so it's all good.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sally's purchases + Zoyas

I mentioned before - possibly a couple of times - that I was running out of Instant Artificials and I was hunting for another bottle. They've changed the packaging but it's still supposed to be available in stores, according to the website. I looked in one store and I made a trip out of my way to a different store only to get there after they'd closed. So I finally ordered it from the website. And then I ordered a bunch more stuff, too, because there was a sale and I figured, why not? (This is the kind of thinking that often lands me in trouble, as you might imagine.)

Here's the latest installment of new stuff, half of which came from Zoya's last promo and the other half from Sally's:
(There was more stuff in the big Sally's order than just nail polish, by the time I got done. But it's all scattered to hell & gone, and there's no way I'm ever going to get it all gathered back up again.)
I actually got four Zoya polishes, but one of them is Cinnamon which I've already shown more than once. These three are all 2014 releases, one from the fall collection (Autumn, naturally) and the other two from the holiday collection.

  • Autumn - which is much more orange than Cinnamon, although it's hard to tell here. It's from last fall's collection (was it Ignite?) with the "liquid metal" finish
  • Haven and Thea - Haven is a purple metallic, leaning toward the red-violet side. Thea is a pretty similar base color, looks like, but it's a Magical Pixie Dust, meaning it's full of mixed holo glitters. (I'm eyeing Nori, which is the blue one, but I figure I should see how I like Thea first. I've been iffy on holo glitters generally, in the past.)
And these came from Sally's:
  • Boys 'n' Berries (Nina Ultra Pro) - I mostly bought this one just because I'd never tried a Nina polish, and it was on sale and it looked like my kind of thing, a red-violet microglitter. I hope it's actually as bright as it looks like in the picture at that link, because that looks pretty awesome. Although it's apparently also very sheer, according to what that blogger said. (I swatched it on a nail wheel after I first wrote this and it is indeed super-sheer.)
  • Bling Tree (Sally Girl) - I have to admit that I halfway bought this for the blingy cap. But it's a red, green, and white glitter, which I don't actually have. (I have a couple of green-and-red variations, but not with white.)
  • Dorothy Who? (China Glaze) - I've been meaning to get this one for a while now; as I understand it, this is a re-release. It was originally released (along with Ruby Pumps) in the Wizard of Ooh Ahs collection in 2001. By the time the whole collection was re-released in 2009, China Glaze had lost the original formulas, so the new versions were created from people's hoarded bottles of polish and are not identical. (Read Michelle's post at the link above for more on this story.) But Dorothy Who? has joined Ruby Pumps in the permanent collection these days. (more swatches)
  • Aaaand that's my new-style Instant Artificials on the end. I've tried it and it seems to still be working fine - hopefully they didn't monkey around with the formula! (And I bought more than one bottle, so it'll be a while before I have to hunt it down again.)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Empties, hair products edition

I've been sort of assuming that anybody who reads blogs is going to know what I mean by "empties" - but then it occurred to me that it's a YouTube term, mostly (at least that's mostly where I've seen it), and well, not everybody hangs out there. Anyway, I think it's relatively self-evident - but in case it's not as much so as I think, the idea is just that you show & discuss products you've used up, before you throw the bottles away. I do think there's something to this, in the sense that these tend to be the products you're actually using the most, right?

So here are some hair products I've used up:
  • fantasticstyle volumizing spray - this is from the chain Fantastic Sam's, which is where I've gotten my hair cut for many years. It's not trendy but they get the job done. And as far as I can tell their hair products are quite good; I've also gone through a couple of large bottles of their shampoo over the years. I won't be buying any more volumizing spray, but that's because my hair has changed and I just don't need volumizing spray any more, since my hair has plenty of volume on its own these days. This is actually several years old, so while I did use this up, it took me a while. I guess this is more or less the current version of this product. 
  • Not Your Mother's Clean Freak dry shampoo - I know I've mentioned before that I've been trying out various dry shampoos, and I have yet to find my holy grail in this category. Clean Freak works just fine, but I found that I went through this can incredibly fast. It's not super-expensive, but it's not exactly super-cheap, either (it's $7, according to that link, which I would consider a good value if it had lasted longer). I'm undecided about whether to give this another try, although I may.
  • Infusium23 leave-in conditioner - I feel like everybody knows about this product, but then again you never know, and I certainly haven't seen anybody talking about it recently. Again, it's a drugstore product, it's been around for years, and it's not sexy, in the sense of being a trendy brand, but who cares. I went out and got a new bottle of this right away. I don't use it every time I shampoo, but I use it a lot, and this bottle still lasted me a couple of years. (Also, I couldn't even have told you that I had bought the Moisture Replenishing formula last time, but it does say that on the bottom of the bottle, and that's what I bought again. Apparently it comes in several formulas - which I didn't even realize before.) I never thought about it until now, but actually I would characterize this as a Holy Grail kind of product, in this case - it's inexpensive and it just works.
(I'm not sure who originated "holy grail" in this sense, but personally, I'm pretty sure I learned it from Nouveau Cheap.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Square Hue 2000s

I showed pictures of the Square Hue 1990s collection a while back. The three polishes representing the 1990s were:
  • Vogue, for 1990, a shimmery dark red
  • Desert Storm, for 1991, a sand color
  • Y2K, for 1999, a shimmery dark charcoal
Sometimes it's hard to find good swatches for Square Hue polishes, but Of Lace & Lacquers has full pictures of this collection.

Then I just got the next collection, for the 2000s, and those are all gray/silver, interestingly.
They are:
  • Never Forget, for 2001, a really beautiful sort of toned-down, maybe slightly antiqued silver metallic
  • Idol, for 2002, a bright silver microglitter with a tinsel-like finish (This is, I'm assuming, a reference to American Idol, which started in 2002.)
  • Hurricane, for 2005 - they call it a "platinum metallic" but to me it's sort of a murky darker gray metallic. It's an interesting color.
The two non-tinsel polishes on the ends look awfully alike in this picture, but they are really not. They're both gray-toned metallics, yes, but Hurricane is quite a lot darker. (I do have to admit, though, that I'm starting to feel a bit like Square Hue is obsessed with gray. But that's probably because I got the November box last year too. Also because it's totally trendy.)

You have to give Square Hue credit for this: themed polishes are a dime a dozen but I don't know another company that's tried to do much with historical events. It's a touchy subject, on two of these three, but Never Forget (the polish) is really beautiful, in particular. And I think with Hurricane they were going for the color of storm clouds, maybe? which, y'know, as somebody who lives in hurricane country, I can appreciate. (It might look really good layered with Idol, actually.)

And I find Idol slightly hilarious - in a good way, because I'm a long-time Idol-watcher. Has anybody ever done an Idol polish before? If so I don't remember seeing it. American Idol's real heyday was waning before the indie polish world got rolling with all its zillion fandoms, so who knows, maybe not. The only thing I can think of that's an intersection at all between nail polish and Idol is that Carrie Underwood, who of course is an Idol alum, had her own polish collection from NOPI - but I don't think any of those specifically referred to that, that I recall.

Anyway, whatever I think about the excess of gray, these are really beautiful and cool.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NOTD: Elliot & Cinnamon & a lot of layers

I hope the title here doesn't lead you to think I was wearing Elliot & Cinnamon together, because I can't see doing that apart from maybe some nail art purposes. Bright cyan blue with dark brown? No.

I don't have a picture of Elliot, but here's Cinnamon:
I put on 2 coats of Cinnamon first and wore that for a day or so, and then I was playing around and I tried a coat of Travel In Colour on top of it (because layering is just what I do), and it was pretty, too but it wasn't really brown any more, it was was purplish. So I wore that for a while and then I put another coat of Cinnamon on top. And it's just a little bit messy, but it's really so pretty. I think it's my favorite brown ever.

Elliott is a bright cyan blue with tons of shimmer, and it's gorgeous. And again, I wore this for a couple of days and then I decided to play with it. I was going to put Daphne's Disco Party on top of it, but I never did that. Instead I put Bubblegum Punk on top of it, which was also beautiful, but was somehow different in a way that I find it hard to define. It was the same basic color, but... toned-down, slightly? Bubblegum Punk in this case read as a shimmer that was different than the shimmer that was already in Elliot. Or something. And then after that I looked at Square Hue Idol, from the new 2000s collection, and it's, like silver tinsel, and it's great, and so I put it on just the tips. And this was also really beautiful, but by the time I did that, it looked totally like a holiday polish. In a month hopefully I'll remember to try this one again, and it'll be perfect.

I'll have pictures of the Square Hue polishes and several other new things, coming up. After some more rainy days, the sun finally came out and I got pictures, although of course they're with the iPhone since the Canon just will not cooperate. (I didn't realize how much I would miss my poor old Canon.)

Something I forgot to say in the last post (although that seems like ages ago now!) was that I did my eyes for Halloween on the Friday night - I didn't do a full costume but I had a witch's hat and a black top, at least, and I wanted to do something to my eyes but I had very little time. I ended up just using a Bellapierre black gel eyeliner pencil, which went on very thick, and I just did a "goth girl" sort of thing with heavy, heavy lines around my eyes. It did well, especially considered how thick I poured it on. I managed to smear it a bit during the evening, but it really didn't look like raccoon eyes by the end, and that's about all you can ask.

(No, there are not pictures. I didn't even think of it at the time. I am not particularly photogenic and terribly self-conscious besides, so I am just not a selfie kind of girl.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


When last heard from, I had on Bat My Eyes, which I loved, but it was looking very ratty along about Thursday, so I took it off and in the middle of the night Thursday night - or rather Friday morning, because we're talking about 3 or 4am here, I decided to finally try some of the nail strips I've been hanging onto. I had a couple that came from Karen and a couple that Oh Three Oh Four sent me as a bonus when I ordered all that stuff from her blog sale. So I can't swear about where these particular ones came from but I suspect it was Karen. In any case, the one I used was Sally Hansen Running Wild, which I don't have a picture of to my knowledge but which you can see here, on Amazon. (I liked them enough that I am tempted to order some more, but I'm trying to resist that temptation!) So they are black and purple zebra stripes, and they seemed perfect for Halloween. I think I had avoided wearing any nail strips/wraps so long partly because I figured there was a learning curve and I was intimidated. But actually they went on fine. The main problem I had was using the wrong size and leaving gaps at the sides, but I fixed that, more or less, by painting black polish in the gap. That fix didn't look gorgeous if you really looked really close but who's going to look that close except me? It was fine, and I really liked the manicure and I won't be so hesitant to try nail strips a second time.

I was thinking that my next manicure would be something bright for Day of the Dead, but it's already the 3rd now so it's a bit late for that. I got Pretty Serious Elliott, which is bright blue, and I was going to put Daphne's Disco Party on the tips. (I bought Elliott basically in order to do this manicure, which is an idea I saw on Lab Muffin - the 2nd picture down.) My nails are still bare so it's possible that will still happen, or it may not. (If not today, I'll definitely do it later, for sure.) I'm still at the base-coat stage, and my bottle of Instant Artificials is getting very low and I'm mourning, a bit. I need to go to the 24-hour pharmacy down the road tonight to pick up a prescription and I'm thinking about detouring by Sally Beauty to see if I can find a new bottle. (I did look when I was in Galveston a couple of weeks ago, but they didn't have any out at that store and they were busy so I didn't ask about it.) I think I can eke one more mani out of this bottle, though - maybe even two.

So you may or may not remember that I was trying out a system where I sorted out my polishes seasonally instead of in a more conventional way by color or brand. And so far it's working out fine. As long as I'm willing to put some time into keeping things sorted properly, I think it will work. I have some basic and nonseasonal polishes separated out from this system - this includes a lot of cremes and a lot of topcoats, mostly. Here's how I break down the seasons as far as nail polish goes:
  • Halloween - specifically-Halloween polishes, which I have rather a lot of, plus bright oranges and blacks (although black really falls under basics), some greens and purples
  • fall - browns, coppers, darker purples and other dark/vampy polishes (although some of these will carry over into winter, I think). I also like murky greens in the fall.
  • Christmas/holiday - bright reds, bright & forest greens, dark/bright blues, silver & gold, and I have some holiday-specific polishes like mixed red/green glitters
  • winter generally - glitters other than the holiday-specific ones, especially blues and silvers. Dark and vampy of course also can be used here but I find that I gravitate to glitters in January. (Our Januarys aren't generally that cold but they tend to be very dreary; I think I use glitter as an antidote.)
  • Mardi Gras** - I have one polish that's mixed Mardi Gras colors (although apparently it was released at Christmas) - also various greens, purples, and golds may get pressed into service for this. My Mardi Gras manis tend to be very glitter-heavy. 
  • Valentine's Day - get out the reds from Christmas, add lots of pink
  • St Patrick's Day - greens of all kinds, but especially the very bright Kelly-green ones
  • spring - I'm not much on pastels, but I usually pull out the few I have for Easter, particularly. I tend to wear a good bit of pink in the spring.
  • summer - neons, blues, brights. For the summer holidays I sometimes do red/white/blue manicures.
(This is an old picture, but this bunch would definitely pretty much be in the "fall" category.)

** How many Mardi Gras manicures I get in tends to be influenced by where MG falls in relation to Valentine's Day. Some years they overlap, but I've already checked the 2016 calendar and this year Mardi Gras is very early, on February 9th. In Galveston the main Mardi Gras celebrations are the two weekends before that, meaning they're the last weekend of January and the first weekend in February. What they do overlap with somewhat is Lunar (Chinese) New Year, which is February 8th, but I don't usually do manicures especially for that. (Has anybody put out a polish for that? I can't recall seeing one. I guess if I was inclined to I would probably just do lacquer-red, anyway.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

More Halloween-ish NOTD + Sephora Play #2

This isn't an utterly fabulous picture and it has visible wear, but oh well:
This is Lynnderella Vampink over Misa Spinning Out Of Control, which is a dark purple. I just wanted a base that wasn't completely black, and I think this did nicely. I wore this manicure mattified for a couple of days, and then on Friday, when this was taken, I put a shiny top-coat on it. It was, naturally, much more showy that way.

Now I'm wearing Bat My Eyes, which I don't have a picture of so far. (It's been raining since yesterday morning, here, and isn't showing any particular signs of stopping yet, although it has slowed down so I guess we're not all going to wash away, at least!) Here are Bat My Eyes swatches from Swatch & Learn, and mine looks more or less exactly like this - minus her lovely oval nails, which I could never hope to achieve. Anyway, it's blackened antique gold, and I adore it and I may not take it off until Halloween is over. (For the record, I put my usual base under both these manicures - Instant Artificials and Bridge the Ridge. On this mani I used Butter London Hardwear top-coat.)

I don't really anticipate getting to take pictures by tomorrow, so I'm just going to tell you what was in the second month of Sephora Play. I'm sure if you're dying to see pictures you can poke around on YouTube or somewhere and find some but I'm not feeling like hunting for any right now. (Oh look, I stumbled across a full set of pics on Nouveau Cheap! so that was easy.) It's mostly Asian or Asian-style beauty products - which Sephora has been pushing all month, actually, so I shouldn't have been surprised. (They've changed their front page now because they appear to be swinging into holiday-gift mode, but here's a K-Beauty page - not that all these brands are Korean. Belif is; I'm not sure about Dr.Jart. Boscia is definitely a Japanese company, and I don't think Fresh or Atelier are Asian at all. (Added: Fresh was founded in Boston, according to its webpage, but I do think Dr Jart is Korean.)

Secrets of Dewy Skin
Sephora Play 02 - October 2015
  • Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser plus charcoal konjac sponge
  • Sephora Pearl sheet mask
  • Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Day Tint
  • Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Instant Infusion
  • Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb
  • Atelier Cologne - Mandarin Glacial
Both those last two were things I had at least samples of already, but I don't mind having more of either one, I like them both. I have actually never tried a sheet mask but I'm going to try this one. And I'm sure I'll try all the others, too. These days I kind of operate on the principle that you can never have too many skin products!

Monday, October 19, 2015

pre-Halloween manis

I had on Candy Corn Cordial, the Top Shelf polish, and I forgot to take a picture of that. It was kind of your standard orange mixed with your standard holo-glitter, though, if you can envision that. It had a sort of texture to it and I ended up wearing it mattified, because I wasn't all that interested in a glitterbomb at the time. However, I do have a picture of what I put on top of it (after a couple of days when I got bored, as I do):
This is LynB This Is Halloween (which inevitably gives me a Nightmare Before Christmas earworm every time, but there are worse things) over the orange base. I think it probably shifted This Is Halloween toward orange, having that under there.

Then yesterday I started over - oh! and I used my new Up&Up polish remover to get the glitter off and it worked like a charm (this stuff, if you don't know what I'm talking about - I'll probably have more to say about that later on). I was running late (as I do) and went out the door headed for work with Instant Artificials on my nails and a bottle of polish in my hand, and put it on as I went. The polish was Revlon Fall Mood, from the now-discontinued version of Colorstay. Then last night I put Lynnderella Cauldron Drippings on it, as a fade mani. I don't have a picture to tell me what it looks like, but I think I did a pretty decent job of it for once. Cauldron Drippings is Lynnderella, an orange hex-glitter with assorted other stuff mixed in. She says that every bottle is different. (I think this is still available but with a somewhat-different name. Aha, I just looked and it's Which Cauldron Is it? - however, that's sold out on her website at the moment.)

I don't know what I'll wear after this, but I'm trying to be more organized and so I have a list in my planner of things that I want to wear before Halloween. I have a lot of Halloween polish, it's a weakness of mine.  I divided them up and this is what ended up on this week's list: Very Pretty Vampire, Cauldron Drippings (which of course I've already worn but might conceivably do again), Chupacabra, Deadly Nightshade, and Walker Bait. It's highly unlikely that I'll change my polish three or more times this week, but at least I can make an informed decision rather than going, "Shit! I forgot to wear ____!" afterwards, as I usually do.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Skincare items new & old

This is an empty - I'm not sure I've ever posted one of those before, but this is something I've used forever and so I thought I'd mention it.
I just looked on Clinique's website, and I don't see this exact product listed - which is not surprising because I've had it for several years. In case you can't see, it's called "extremely gentle eye makeup remover" (they've always done their packaging in all lower-case since I can remember, and I'm pretty sure I remember more or less back to the dawn of Clinique). But now they have one called "naturally gentle eye makeup remover" so I think it's fair to assume that it's a similar product. As I know I've mentioned here before, I don't wear much eye makeup any more, due to way-oversensitive skin & eyes, but I've used this product since I was in college and it was always great.

I talked about the latest Walmart box already, but I hadn't remembered to post this picture, which is my favorite product from those last couple of boxes before that, the Olay 7 eye treatment. I think I've mentioned it in passing but I never got as far as taking a picture:
This is a picture of the box, in fact; the sample actually is in a little pot which I think is .4 oz, but it's really lasted and I adore it, it's great stuff. I had bought an eye cream from Nourish Organic pretty recently, as well, so it'll be a while before I actually need to buy any more. I'm alternating between those two, and I guess by the time I run out of both I'll have a definite opinion on which I should buy next time. Neither one was particularly inexpensive but both seem, well, awesome.

Have you noticed how much I talk about moisturizers these days? I am still searching for the perfect, not-too-expensive moisturizer for my face & neck, and so I decided to try the Sephora-brand one and see how it did. And I already had the sample size of First Aid Beauty repair creme in my Sephora cart, and then I ended up with a small Nest hand creme which I did not even actually need, but it sure smells good.
So with Sephora's usual 3 small samples + premium sample, this is what I ended up with. I think they must have substituted something that was out of stock on the samples, because I'm pretty sure I didn't ask for Dr. Gross facial self-tanner. But oh well. that happens, and I can't actually remember what I did ask for, so no big deal. The Sephora moisturizer is actually in a tube the same size as the Nest tube (I think they're both 1 oz.), and it seems good; my only issue is it's (mildly) scented, and I'm so conditioned by years of Clinique products that putting anything scented on my face seems weird. But I've been using it anyway, and it seems fine. I like the FAB lotion, which is not particularly a surprise - and as I said, I like the scent of the Nest lotion, although for sheer moisturizing power it can't compare with my favorite Crabtree and Evelyn hand lotion. (Honestly, I feel like I'm cheating on Gardener's Hand Therapy by even trying a sample size of something else!)

The premium sample was the Urban Decay one you can see above, which I'm intending to give away. (Unless I change my mind.) The three smaller samples are the Philosophy fragrances - which is actually a two-fer, it has two tiny spray bottles of two different scents - and then the Dr Gross stuff which I mentioned already, and the Fresh black tea lotion. (I wanted to try that one but actually every Fresh product I've looked at is seriously out of my price range, unless I really cave on that point.)

Sephora is killing me lately - meaning I'm spending too much money there, that is - but on the other hand I'm getting to try some good products. I should also mention that I haven't tried the First Aid Beauty repair creme on my face, mostly because I read some reviews about it which said that really it's too much for many people's faces, but it's really awesome for patchy dry skin on the rest of the body. And that's a problem which I do have intermittently, especially in the winter, so that's why I wanted to try it.

In other news, I think my poor 10-year-old Canon camera may have finally bit the dust. At least, I can't get the SD card to seat, and I even bought a new SD card because I thought that was the problem. It had various other issues that I've been working around, and if it's really dead I may just upgrade my iPhone rather than buying a separate new camera, since my iPhone is a 4 - not even a 4s, just a 4 - and is pretty much on its last legs, too. I figure the camera in an iPhone 5, even, is probably as good as than the Canon was anyway, since it was so old.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Walmart box for fall

I just found this little graphic on my computer - apparently I saved it the other night before it disappeared from Twitter (it was popping up, at the time, whenever you used the "wild card" hashtag):
If you know me on Twitter you probably already know that I am a long-time baseball fan, and an Astros fan. Over here I won't bombard you with Astros posts like I sometimes do on Twitter, but I thought I'd at least mention it! (No, I am not going to the game in person. I didn't try to buy tickets while it was still possible and now I'm sort of sorry. But not sorry enough to pay through the nose for tickets. I'll be watching on TV. And tweeting, probably.)

Okay, so, on to the actual subject of this post, the fall Walmart box. The last few boxes I got from them were kind of full of cards and itty-bitty samples, and were confusing and even the bigger samples didn't seem all that great, I thought, and this one was thankfully card-free with better samples. (Well, I think there was one card, that said something about a Twitter hashtag - the same hashtag that you can see on the box. But that was it.)
A disposable razor, wrinkle serum, deodorant,  and Curel "rough skin rescue" lotion are what's visible in this picture - all stuff I will definitely use.

There were a couple more items hiding at the very front:
Mouthwash - which I don't usually use but my husband does - and hair stuff, which I'll try out for sure, even though I don't really need any more volume in my hair these days. (It's John Frieda and the bottle color matches up, so I assume it's from this line.)

And here's one more shot of all the products out of the box:
I've used the Curel and the Roc serum so far, and both seem good, as far as I can tell from a few uses.

Here's the razor out of the box:
Heck, one razor is probably worth what this box cost.