Monday, September 28, 2015

e.l.f. haul

This whole thing started last weekend because I wanted some of those e.l.f. concealer brushes that everybody always talks about using to clean up their nails, right? So I went to their website figuring that I would get those and then try out some of their other stuff too, since I've heard good things about their products and they're super-cheap. I don't know about where y'all live, but around here I only ever see very limited displays of e.l.f. products. Walmart had theirs on a freestanding display at one time, I know, although I rarely go in there these days so I'm not sure if that's still the case. CVS has some and I think Target has some, but none of them seem to have full runs of it. So that's why I thought if I was going to order brushes from the website I should use the opportunity to sample some other products. And I ended up with a metric ton of stuff.  (Added: I did finally go in Walmart the other day after I posted this, and e.l.f. has in fact graduated to a full display, at least at my local store. But they didn't have the concealer brushes so I still would have ended up ordering online.)

So the box came, and after I pulled the padding and paper out, here's what was left:
I know you can't really tell much from that - and well, maybe it's not quite a ton, but it's a lot of stuff for the $35 or so that I actually spent. They had a "Desk to Dinner" set for $14, and then I ordered some other items and  I ended up getting free shipping plus a free bonus set as well, an eye set. I figured whatever I don't want goes in my stash of stuff to give away.

(Incidentally, I get the impression that there's some sort of special deal going on their website most of the time, although some are better than others, maybe.)

The "other items" I mentioned are the ones that were loose in the bottom of the box above:
  • the concealer brushes (I got 5 of them, since they're only $1 and I gather that they aren't really meant to stand up to being dipped in acetone repeatedly, so they wear out)
  • a pack of 2 cuticle pushers (I don't really push my cuticles around much, but I imagine I'll use them occasionally
  • BB cream (SPF20) in Fair
  • Matte Lip Color in Berry Sorbet
  • Concealer in Ivory
  • Blush in Fuchsia Fusion

The larger bag that was in the box contained the "Desk to Dinner" set (which is still on their website, but now for $35) & which had these items:
  • Eye Transformers - which is (to put it in nail polish terms) kind of like shifting topcoat for your eyes, apparently - it's 4 pale shadows you put on top of other shadows to change their colors 
  • Blush Palette - a 4-pan set of blushes
  • Matte Lip Color in Wine
  • HD Mattifying Balm (which is clear, and has a sponge that stores underneath the pan of balm) (AND also a more traditional powder blush, which I left off of the list the first time!)
  • Eye Refresh - supposed to help with puffy eyes and circles
  • 3-in-1 Mascara
  • Lip Balm in Pink
  • Eyeliner & Shadow Stick in Black/Smoke (this is a double-ended wand thing)
  • Angled Blush Brush
Now bear in mind that this was a very good deal at $14 - but at $35, I'd say unless you really want every bit of this you'd be better off ordering what you want a la carte, because $35 is not much less than the total retail value of these. Also note that (inevitably, I guess, since I always manage to do something like this) I mixed up the eyeshadows when I was taking pictures - the eyeshadow pan at the top right with the white package goes in the set below, and the one that belongs above is actually below:

The actual items in the free eye set were:
  • Flawless Eyeshadow set in Tantalizing Taupe (that's the one in the white package, the set of 4 shadows, with a retail value of all of $2)
  • Lash Tint Mascara in Naked Noir
  • Mineral Eyeliner in Black
Basically the free set was from lower-priced Essentials line (white packaging) except for the mascara, and everything in the Desk-to-Dinner set is the Studio line (black packaging), which is slightly more expensive but still quite low-priced. The mascara from the free set seems to be more expensive than either of these other lines - something new, maybe? I don't know enough about this to be sure.

So that's all of it, but here are more pictures of individual items - the blush palette:
The two on the left look pretty cool-toned in this picture, but actually I decided these were all too warm-toned for me. (Maybe I need to go back and look at these in another light and see if they're cooler than I thought!) (Added: on further experimentation I decided that it's not that they're too warm-toned for me, it's that they're just plain too bright for me and my super-pale skin. They just wash me out.)

The transformer palette:
I'm interested in these - I don't know if I'll really use them though. I'll definitely play with them a little, at least!

The mattifying balm:
I'm not entirely clear on how you're meant to use this. I'mna have to poke around and see what I can figure out. I tend to get shiny in the t-zone, though, so I've been experimenting around with what the good options for that are these days.

I'd say that I definitely ended up with a generous cross-section of their merchandise, and so I'll see how I like it all. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ipsy vs Sephora Play

(I wanted to call this Battle of the Boxes, except that Ipsy doesn't actually come in a box, darnit. The literalness of my mind strikes again.)

I've had an Ipsy subscription for about a year, and I've enjoyed it. Everybody knows the deal, more or less, right? Pretty much the same as Birchbox - you pay $10 a month including shipping, and you get five good-sized samples - instead of Birchbox's sixth random item you get a little makeup bag for your samples, different every month. Occasionally you may get a full-sized item. (I can remember two items offhand that were definitely full-sized - a dry shampoo and a NOPI polish.) The items you get are supposed to be tailored to you but I still can't tell you to what degree that actually happens - in a year I got exactly two nail polishes, for example. But I did get a lot of other stuff that I liked, and the stuff that I don't like I give away, and it basically seems to me to be worth the money. I did try out Birchbox one month but it didn't seem to me to be particularly better. So I'm still getting Ipsy but I'm kind of on the fence about it, partly because I see what other people get and it seems to me that other people's stuff is better than mine - a time-tested recipe for discontent, right?

Now comes Sephora's version. This is the first official month, although I heard there have been tests before now. It's still sort of in limited release - people in three cities in the northeast quadrant of the country can get it (Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Boston, maybe?) and for everybody else, you can get on a waitlist, and I don't have any sense of how fast they're working through that list. But I have bought a bunch of stuff from Sephora lately, and because of that, maybe - they didn't actually say so - I got an invitation by e-mail, so of course I had to try it. Same price, but instead of the bag you get a 6th item.

So it showed up yesterday, and here's the big unboxing.

This is the side-view of the shipping box.

It's a box in a box, of course, I guess because most people are used to the Birchbox formula. (Ipsy comes in a padded mailer, and is always just fine, but I also guess that's why you rarely get anything that's in a glass container, like perfume, or nail polish.)

So there's a little bit of padding on top of the inner box, and when you pull that out you get the inner box, which looks like this:
Which I have to admit is pretty adorable. I don't know if the design is the same for every month, or if they change - not exactly a big issue for me either way!

Here's what you see when you lift the lid:
This is a booklet, which I have to admit I haven't looked at in detail yet. It seemed to have info on each product. There's a card in the back of it that's good for 50 Insider points if you show up at the Sephora counter with it, though! I think they are supposed to be able to answer any questions you have, too. And implied in this is something that matters to me, to some degree - everybody gets the same items, evidently. Like I said, this is one of my points of dissatisfaction with Ipsy. Some months I feel like they just throw in whatever they have left, and it doesn't necessarily seem to have much to do with what your preferences are.

Back to the unboxing - the next layer is cute matching tissue:
and under that, of course, is the main event:
So we have a Nirvana White perfume sample (which works out for me because I have a small Nirvana Black bottle already - a purse-size, that is - and it occurred to me lately that I didn't even know what Nirvana White smelled like); a lip-stain from Sephora Collection, a Bumble & Bumble hair oil, a Glamglow cleanser, and on the bottom row, a Marc Jacobs eyeliner and some Ole Henrickson "Sheer Transformation" moisturizer.

Here's the eyeliner:
It's black - I don't remember the color name but I remember thinking it was a cute name, for what that's worth. (Added: it's "Blacquer.") It's supposed to stay put really well, which is a factor that's important for me with my super-sensitive eyes - if I wear stuff around my eyes, I need it to stay there and not be in my eyes, y'know?

It's all stuff that I will try, for sure. I tried the lip-stain already and I really like it - the color is Peony, I remember that one. Moisturizer and cleanser are always good, perfume samples are good, I have no gripe with the product selection.

So now we come to the battle of box vs. bag - Sephora Play on the top and Ipsy on the bottom:
I talked about the Ipsy bag to some degree in the last entry (down at the bottom) but I didn't have pictures yet. So it's red nail polish which I really like, hand and body lotion which I will use, a brush which I will probably use, the Nyx eyeshadows which I will probably try - but it's certainly nicer than what you usually get! - and the fifth thing is a shadow pencil which I already have one of in a different color. I'll probably give at least that one away. The hand lotion is Not Soap, Radio which I haven't tried before, and it smells good. So on the whole it's far better than the usual Ipsy bag - but I'm cancelling Ipsy, anyway, at least for now. (Ipsy does not make it super-easy to cancel, either, and Netflix can tell you that I am known to cancel and resubscribe to things repeatedly, so they might ought to re-think that. But at least they don't make you call, which would be the kiss of death. Anybody that makes you call to cancel, I will never deal with again.)

(Oh, and I do actually think this month's actual Ipsy bag is kind of cute - the little leatherette thing - but I now have 12 of these bags so I don't think I need any more for a while.)

Isn't it a bit ironic that Ipsy sent me Formula X polish, which is only available at Sephora? I'm inclined to think that was probably one of the leftovers from past months, before Sephora became one of their immediate competitors. (I don't know who put up the money behind Ipsy, but I suspect they just can't quite keep up with the purchasing mojo of Sephora. We'll see how this goes in the future.)

So - to sum up - Sephora Play wins for now. I'm not entirely sure that I will keep on with that in the long haul, either, partly because I feel like a lot of things that Sephora sells are kind of out of my price range. The items I've bought that are out of Ipsy bags are mostly not terribly cheap, either, but Sephora is definitely higher-priced, overall. I bought a $40 moisturizer but that's at the top end of reasonable, to me. I'm sure not buying a $75 one. (I don't know how much the Ole Henrickson one is, actually, but that's how much the Philosophy one was that I already had a sample of. For TWO OUNCES.)

A point in Ipsy's favor, now that I think about it, is that you don't always get the brands you're already used to seeing - they make you try new things, and many of them are good. Everything that I've bought because of the samples (there's three items listed here, and I've bought one more since then) were new brands to me, and I liked them.

(I just looked and the lip-stain is $14, which is not too bad. I assume we'll have a fair amount of Sephora-brand items in the mix, which helps a bit.)

Monday, September 21, 2015

The latest stuff

I keep forgetting to take a picture of my nails - I'm sporting my first Bubblegum Punk manicure, over Misa Quirky Smile (dark teal). And it's awesome.

I'm also doing my periodic rearranging of my stash - I've done this the last couple of years, and it's usually what ends up with me taking pictures of everything. However, I've done that twice and now my stash has pretty much grown beyond the point where that's practicable. I'll tell you what I'm doing, though. I tried organizing it by color and then I tried pulling out certain finishes (like holos and top-coats and so forth) and neither one of those has really worked out, completely. But I know I'm prone to wear certain things at certain times of the year, right? Brights in the summer, earth-tones in the fall, glitters in the winter, so forth. So I'm experimenting with sorting by season. Some things are basic and non-seasonal and those are their own category - creams, especially, tend to end up there. But it's kind of amazing to me how many colors fall well into the seasonal split. So I'll report back on how that's working out.

Here's the latest round of new stuff (all of which ended up in either a fall or winter box, as I recall):
L-R: Aura, Pitch Purple, I Know You Are But What Am I?, Casablanca, Legend

I actually broke down and paid full price for a Formula X for the first time... they lured me in with blackened red, what can I say? The one on the left was the non-sale one and the one on the right was on sale. (Placed at the ends, as the crafty among you might guess, to keep the other bottles from rolling away.)

The Models Own and the Black Cat are my first from both of those brands and came from the Llarowe closeout sale. I feel sad about Llarowe's scale-back because it seems like the end of an era. But really I suspect her own polishes were the best-sellers these days. And it's not like she's actually going away!

So here's the low-down on those:
Aura (Formula X Black Quartz) - I called this blackened red, but actually what it is is black-and-red microglitter. I believe this is pretty new and nobody has swatches of it out there that I can find, so the link is to the Sephora page. It looks great in the bottle, but when I swatched it, I was not as impressed. We'll see - I have so much new polish that it may be closer to Halloween before I get around to wearing it, anyway!
Casablanca (Sinful Colors) - a fairly light silvery-gray. Sinful calls this chrome but I don't agree, it's more satiny than that. I think I mentioned before that I had trouble getting this to dry. My bottle tended to go on thick, but next time I will definitely be doing thinner coats.
I Know You Are But What Am I? (Black Cat Lacquer) - obviously Pee-Wee inspired, I believe it's from an 80s collection. It's an almost-red fuchsia jelly glitterbomb. It's really gorgeous.
Legend (Formula X Shifters) - Sephora calls it "maroon and rainbow metallic" but in the bottle I thought it read purple. In fact I took pictures in pairs, I'll put those below.
Pitch Purple (Models Own HyperGel) - if you could get an even single coat of Pitch Purple on, it might be a brighter purple. But I couldn't manage that and I used two. With two it becomes much darker, but still very shiny and pretty. (I did end up using top-coat over it, but it's nearly shiny enough on its own.) Lucy calls it "ink purple" at the link above and that sounds about right.

See, Pitch Purple and Legend both look purple. This was in indirect sun and they are usually as true-in-color as pictures of purple ever are (which is to say, they mostly are, but they're not infallible). Legend probably has a more red-looking base than it appears, is my guess. That's presumably part of the Shifting duochrome-ness of it.

And here are the two redder ones. Aura does not seem to be quite as advertised, but it's still pretty. I am going to take Ignite (see below) and black creme and all these vampy red glitters and play around and see what I can come up with for my Halloween needs!

I was complaining about Ipsy never sending me nail polish, but this month they finally did. (In these days of employees whose only job is social media, I don't think it's completely paranoid of me to wonder if that's completely a coincidence, that I get nail polish right after I complained here about not getting any!) So Ipsy is partially out of my bad books, but I'm also getting Sephora Play starting this month, and if I like it I may continue that and cancel Ipsy. We'll see. I just feel like Ipsy can be very spotty and it annoys me when I see that other people got better stuff than I did! (In fact, one night lately I was wandering between YouTube videos and I saw a video with two people comparing their Ipsy bags - one got way better stuff than the other one, and I was like, "Oh good, it's not just me.")

So anyway, the Ipsy bag came after I had already taken the picture above, but the polish is a Formula X mini, and it's called Ignite, and I thought, "Oh, yawn, red," but then it turns out it's not a bright red, it's a blood-red (apparently Sephora's description was "smokin' red"), and I'm not entirely sure I have anything exactly like it - which is dangerous because next I may be wanting to buy the full size. It's beautiful. It occurs to me that I have actually not tried any of Formula X's normal colors because I've been buying all these sale ones, and they're all from other lines besides the core one - even the one that wasn't on sale. This is very shiny and very unlike the ones I have. (Apparently I am safe, though - I just went and nosed around Sephora's website and Ignite is not there any more.) (And I will of course take pictures of the whole Ipsy haul eventually. It had Nyx eyeshadows, which I would be more excited about if I wore eyeshadow more.)

(I got an e-mail meanwhile that Sephora Play is also on the way - and Square Hue, which I'd sort of forgotten I restarted again. More more more.)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fashion week trendspotting, pt 2

Because I'm still looking at NYFW pictures so you get to hear about my accumulated wisdom.
  • Let's talk about colors. I got through part 1 without mentioning any colors other than mustard and gold. I also mentioned the romanticism trend, and you can probably guess from that where the colors are going: tons of pastels, tons of white. Tons of white. I am not kidding. At one point I felt like my retinas were going to burn out from looking at so many artistically-bleached-out lookbook pictures of white outfits on white backgrounds. (That said, there is also still tons of black, presumably because NYers can't get dressed without it, and, well, everything else too. Bright colors, neutrals, prints - I'm certainly not saying there are only pastels and white.)
  • women's clothes with pockets, yay! (and lots of models striding down the catwalk with their hands in said pockets, presumably partly so everybody knows the pockets are there)
  • I mentioned slashed-up sleeves before, but after that I started noticing that one of the ways the sleeves were slashed up often bared the shoulders. Lots of bare shoulders one way or another, like it's the new erogenous zone. (It's been a couple of days since I first wrote this, and I am ready to say that this is not a mini-trend; it looks more like a full-blown one. Shoulders galore.)
  • mini trend: things with rows of buttons - on the front, on the sides, sometimes in the back. As long as they don't get totally carried away with this, I like it.
  • Is there a name for fringe that's anchored at both ends? I don't feel like it's still fringe that way, but I don't know a word for it. Well, whatever it is, swag or draped or something? I don't know - I've seen multiple examples of it. For example: go here and click on the picture of look 6 to enlarge it. The skirt there is the kind of thing I'm talking about. (I tried on Twitter to link to particular pictures in the NYFW slideshows and I found that my links were just going to the first slide*, so I gave up on linking directly.)
* I tweeted a link of a picture of an outfit in a color I really liked (one of those golden-colored things) and found later that the link was going to Look 1 of the show instead, which was this mauve pantsuit that I really hated. That annoyed me greatly.

This isn't a trend per se but I was mostly pretty unimpressed with the actual clothing in the much-hyped Givenchy New York show. It was almost all lingerie looks in black and white - with a couple of fabulous evening gowns for variety, and some men in suits. There were something like 80 looks and I was yawning my way through most of it. (I did like the masks, but there were only a few of them. This is just the opposite of last fall's Givenchy show, where I pretty much hated all that face jewelry that all the models were wearing, but I loved the clothes.)

OK, here's another thing, it has nothing to do with trends because it's nothing new, but it's an observation about something that's starting to annoy me, which is see-through outfits. (This is not referring to the Givenchy show.) I almost hesitate to mention this because I feel like somebody's going to assume prudishness on my part and that's really not it. I don't mind seeing this stuff on the runway, but this is Ready-To-Wear, right, you're supposed to be able to wear this stuff out on the street, and how are you going to wear some of these? (For an example, go back to the link above, and go to Look 11. A bra or camisole is not really going to cut it, and even if you're flat-chested it's still too sheer.) It's one thing in the couture shows, where they show outfits unlined, but then later when some actress wears it to an awards show it's inevitably going to be lined. With ready-to-wear it just seems impractical, if it's not something that can be layered. I guess I just have to think of it as lingerie - but even Givenchy's lingerie looks weren't as impractical as that.

(I do realize that you can theoretically just go outside like that and damn the torpedos, but in Texas I'm pretty sure that would get you arrested. Most other places too, I suspect. I heard during the kerfluffle back a few weeks ago about Times Square that women can legally go topless in NYC, but I don't get the impression that many do.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

NOTD: Casablanca + Blue Rouge

So that combination in the title is what I'm wearing now, Lynnderella Blue Rouge over Sinful Colors Casablanca. I started out the day Friday with nothing on but base-coat, and I was going to put some polish on before work, and then Rob showed up unexpectedly because his car had broken down and he had already had it towed back to the mechanic's across the street from us - and I ended up just getting dressed and walking out the door with him. (The brakes went out on the car, which is scary, but everything's fine except that we have to pay to get the brakes fixed, ugh.) I took him and dropped him off at work, but it wasn't time for me to go in yet, so I went and got lunch, and then I couldn't stand it that my nails were in their natural, slightly stained condition, so I went to Walgreen's and grabbed a bottle of nail polish practically at random, and that was Casablanca. (Not quite at random; I went down the Sinful displays at the front going, "No, not glitter... I have that..." etc. -- It was a process of elimination, basically.)

I don't remember having seen Casablanca-the-polish before, but it doesn't seem to be a new color, either, as far as I could figure out. It's gray, or rather silver, and SC calls it chrome, but it's actually not. It's not shiny enough to be chrome - it's more like a satin finish. It's an interesting color. I was complaining about it on Twitter that night because I of course had put it on in the car (I guess I could have put it on at work, but that would have been just as much of a pain) and it went on in one thick coat, and I went, "Oh, wow, a one-coater," but then it Would. Not. Dry. Of course it was raining and I'm sure the general humidity did not help. I let it dry for a few minutes and then I went inside, and then I had to go back and fix it inside, because it got all messed up just walking across the street to get inside, even though  I was trying to be careful. So I imagine the answer is that you have to do thin coats instead of allowing it to go on in one thick one, anyway. I'll report back after I actually try that.

I picked up that particular bottle of polish partly because I was thinking it looked like a layering polish, so of course when I got home, I went looking for something to layer over it. I looked at the little line of Lynnderellas and I picked out Blue Rouge as being the most silvery - I figured it would mesh with the silveryness of Casablanca. And it did. (I still am awfully crappy at fade manis, though. Practice! I need to practice!)

It has occurred to me that while I mentioned using Instant Artificials, what I haven't mentioned is that my current base-coat of choice is Bridge the Ridge. (Instant Artificials first, then Bridge the Ridge, then polish.) I have been trying out ridge-fillers just because I realized that my fingernails do tend to have ridges, but honestly I mostly just like the feel of this one. And the results as far as wear also seem to be good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

NYFW trendspotting

I've been looking at a lot of Fashion Week pictures, and here's some things that I noticed recurring instances of. (Some magazine's website - Harper's Bazaar or Elle or somebody like that - has this recurring series that says, "three's a trend" - in some cases I haven't seen these things more than a few times; in others it's much more.)
  • mustard and gold colors - more than I remember seeing in ages, really. (I thought of saying "since the 70s" but it's not in any sort of 70s-like volume, just here and there. It's been there in a number of different shows, though.)
  • raised waistlines - everything from just slightly raised to a obi sash tied right under the bust. But conversely, a few lowered ones, too, notably a really low one on a jumpsuit that seemed new.
  • slashed-up sleeves, in various ways (other stuff was slashed-up, too, but the sleeves really jumped out at me as something I hadn't seen a lot of before)
  • fringe is still in
  • sheer is still in
  • overalls are still around, and they seem to be growing on me, a bit - partly because designers are using them in ways that are more interesting than the old ones, I think
  • lots of high-low hems, on tops as well as on skirts
  • I was kind of mocking Vogue about the "fall romance" thing on the cover - but boy, there's apparently going to be plenty of spring romance around next year, too. Lots of voile and pretty prints and eyelet, all that stuff. Oh, and capes - capes are sort of romantic, right?
(And this is just my impressions from the first couple of days.)

Added: I was thinking earlier about my comment up there about the mustard/gold colors - surely they haven't been ignored entirely for 35 years, which is how long it's been since the end of the 70s! I'm thinking they must have had a moment some year when I wasn't paying attention. The odds say more than once, really, in 35 years... (It was probably a year when I was all into baseball or something.)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recent NOTDs + a throwback Thursday

I haven't remembered to take any pictures of anything lately. In the last few days I suspect that's partly because I'm totally enthralled by Fashion Week (which is a whole other story), but I'm not sure what my excuse is before that.

Let's see, at the bottom of the last entry - which is hella long and not about nail polish so I wouldn't be surprised to find out that nobody read down that far - I mention wearing I Know You Are But What Am I? from Black Cat Lacquer. (I'm not going to keep repeating that I don't have pictures after this, because we've established that already.) And it was very pretty mattified, and it also lasted very well for a red. Without the matte, it will be an awesome holiday polish.

After that I wore Models Own Pitch Purple, which is the other thing I bought from the Llarowe closeout sale. It's a super-dark, super-shiny purple - it doesn't quite look black but it's close. It's the first Models Own polish I've bought, and I was impressed - it went on well and it lasted well.

And after that I actually left my nails unpolished for an entire day, except for Instant Artificials. I've been remembering to wear that lately, and I really like it. It goes on really hard and shiny - which makes it good for wearing on its own, actually. It's your natural nails, except all protected and shiny! Anyway, the bottle I have came from somebody's blog sale a while back, and I see on Sally's website that they have changed the bottle. As long as it still works, I'll probably go buy some more when this is gone.

And now I'm wearing No More Waity Katie from Butter London. Which makes this a Throwback Thursday, because I've had this bottle for several years. This is a pretty classic color, to me, but I think it's come and gone a couple of times in the years since the Royal Wedding, and as far as I know right now it's discontinued. If you don't know about this one already, it's a really odd purple-gray which looks completely gray in some lights. But it's a cool color and I don't know of anything else that's much like it.
This is certainly not a great picture, but it wasn't a great manicure - by which I mean that as usual, my application is faulty. It's a little balky to apply, is my only complaint about the polish.

(Apparently this is the first picture I've taken of my nails at work since Are You Jelly? which seems like ages ago.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Vogue

I've gotten really into fashion lately, and it's weird, because I don't want to wear it, I just like looking at it. You see that word "aspirational" thrown around, and for me, it's not aspirational. Even when I was younger and skinnier I did not have a body made for clothes. I tried when I was younger but I just can't walk in heels and anyway, I have this desire to be comfortable and I've never been that comfortable dressed-up. Maybe some people are... although really, the way people mostly dress down these days sort of gives the lie to that, a bit, doesn't it? Well, anyway, somebody likes fancy fashion because it's out there and people are buying it, but it's sure not me. I'm interested, but not for actual wear.

So it's kind of weird that I've developed this fondness for, to the point that I nearly had an anxiety attack over the weekend over the prospect of all million or so of's fashion-show pictures (literally, it was over a million, so they said) moving to a different site under the auspices of Vogue. There's a new website of, but all it does is direct you to the runway section of Vogue. Anyway, it all got moved and all seems to be working fine - I'm mostly talking about that to demonstrate how extremely attached I've gotten.

I always did have a fondness for the big fat issues of Vogue that came out every September, though, going back to when I was in college, maybe. Actually, now that I think about it, it may go back even further than that, to reading Seventeen as a younger teenager - that was when I noticed the phenomenon of the "back-to-school" special issue. I graduated to Mademoiselle later (back then it was aimed at sort of a college crowd) and then on to Vogue. I didn't really always understand all the crazy fashions but it was pretty to look at.

So - skipping back to the present - my copy finally arrived, yesterday, and I spent an hour or so communing with my big fat (832 pages! proclaims the cover) magazine earlier today - it's so big I barely got past the table of contents. I took notes, and I don't know if anybody but me is interested but I'll share, anyway.

First of all, Queen Bey is on the cover (here's a link to the pic), and I'm not in love with the dress she's wearing, but anyway, she looks pretty. The cover said something about "fall romance" - which I think is the kind of thing they say about every other year, and it also had a headline about "forces of fashion - the rule-breakers defining the way we dress now." Whatever that means exactly - I'll figure it out when I get further into the book! So the cover was a gatefold and I thought maybe there'd be more pictures of B when you folded it out, but no, it was just a perfume ad - Ralph Lauren Romance, and Midnight Romance. Oh, also, wrapped up with the subscription issue was a loose full-sheet ad on heavy stock, for Black Opium. If it had had a real sample I'd have been happier, but it smells good as far as I could tell. (I adored Opium back when it first came out - I remember having a bottle, I must have gotten my mom to get it for me for Christmas or something.)

Okay, so the front section had a pattern, I was noticing. It was mostly clothes but then it would have a makeup or skincare or perfume ad mixed in occasionally. So behind the front matter that was RL perfume, we had multipage ads for different designers - Prada, Dior, Ralph Lauren clothes, then Estee Lauder lipstick with Kendall Jenner. I had seen something that said most of the designers were using lower-profile models this year, it's a trend for some reason. And I could tell - I recognized a few faces, because I've been spending so much time looking at runway shows, but they weren't the "big" faces, at least not in this front section - those were saved for the makeup ads, and other than Kendall, were mostly actresses. After Lauder there was pages of Gucci and Saint Laurent and then an ad for Lancome perfume (La vie est belle - which I do have a big sample of, I must have gotten it from Sephora and it smells very nice) with Julia Roberts. I can't really imagine Julia having the same taste I do somehow but maybe I'm not doing her justice. On, on, 4 pages of Fendi and then some Lancome Miracle foundation with, I think, Penelope Cruz, Then pages of Burberry and then Lauder again, this time some serum with Eva Mendes as its face. Then Chanel clothing, all in black, Dolce & Gabbana with a happy Italian family scene (and those dresses with the roses that annoy me so much). Then Bottega Veneta, Miu Miu, and then the first jewelry ad, David Yurman. 4 pages on the 3-step Clinique skin system (which I used religiously for years but have about given up on now!), then Celine, Michael Kors bags, 2 pages of Rolexes (watches are back in, after all), Marc Jacobs - with furs if I'm reading my notes right. Then Michael Kors fragrance and Tiffany T collection jewelry - which is very minimalist, really, which is what's been "in" in jewelry for a while now. Then Creme de la Mer, more skincare, and 4 pages of very gothy McQueen fashions - that shouldn't be a surprise. Then Nars mascara, 2 pages of La Perla, another perfume ad - this one is Chanel Chance, then somebody named Sam Edelman who I've only ever heard of in the vaguest way. Is he somebody up-and-coming who I ought to know about? I guess I'll have to look. He had pages and pages, whoever he (or she) is. Then after a Clairins serum ad (serums seem to be big right now) we finally get the first page of the table of contents. on approximately page 105. I was exhausted by the time I got there.

(Added: I hadn't remembered to check about this, but I stumbled across some Sam Edelman shoes on WhoWhatWear - they are not what I would call "inexpensive" but they are certainly much more reasonably-priced than most of the stuff you see in Vogue!)

I did look further than that but I had given up on the notes by then. It was more of the same (we hadn't seen all of the high-profile designers yet, after all), but now we have some one-page ads for the first time, and rather a lot of promos for,, etc. (This is in contrast to the fashion ads which hardly ever deigned to mention a website, although I'm pretty sure they all have them. Maybe because they don't want to seem like they're competing with their own retailers? I don't know.) I got to the end of the table of contents, which seriously was on page-200-something, and that was about as far as I got. For now.

Meanwhile I did redo my nails. No picture yet, I'll get to that tomorrow, hopefully. The Llarowe order came so I'm wearing I Know You Are But What Am I? from Black Cat Lacquer. It's a glittery slightly-darkened red, really pretty, and I mattified it. I like it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stash additions: binge edition

So here's the big list of everything I've gotten lately, in alpha order by name (bottle pictures are here and here, and there are swatches at the bottom). Also, since virtually all of these were bought on sale, one way or another, many of them have limited availability. I've put notes on some of them where I know they are still available as of the time I'm writing this. (Some of them may be available from other sources like Amazon, anyway, of course. And I think at least a couple of the Lynnderellas may still be available, too, but with the way they are sold - i.e., mostly on eBay - it's hard to be sure!)
  • Alexa Lace (Nails Inc.) - believe it or not, this is my very first Nails Inc. polish. I think this was an Alexa Chung collaboration. It's a matte glitter (or maybe technically satin) in red, and it's an unusual mix of shapes that does come out looking rather like lace. (I was looking to see what other polishes were in this collab - it was Alexa Leather, Alexa Lace, Alexa Sequins... there was also cashmere, and stars and hearts and at least a couple of colors under an "Alexa Edit" name. It's a bigger collection than I realized.)
  • Alpha Nail (Nail Pattern Boldness) - a blue-to-purple-shifting duochrome topcoat. (Still available from NPB here.) (2015 mani over red here)
  • Bit Faker (Butter London) - gorgeous mixed-metal glitter in the copper/bronze range, which can be built to opaqueness in two coats.
  • Blue Rouge (Lynnderella) - periwinkle and various purples - despite the name, it's much less blue than Forget You Not. Similar to Viola but paler. (I guess the name makes more sense if you think of it as blue plus rouge - red - which, after all, makes purple on a color wheel.)
  • Bubblegum Punk (Rescue Beauty Lounge+R29 collection) - iridescent shimmery cellophane-ish top-coat. Sort of hard to describe but really beautiful. It becomes very close to opaque, at least, with 3 coats. (Available from RBL here.)
  • Cauldron Drippings (Lynnderella) - orange glitter and random(ish) mixed glitter - she says every bottle is different - in a clear base. Mine has bar glitter, among other things, but not enough of it to be seriously annoying. It's very pretty - in a mega-Halloween kind of a way!
  • Excuse Me I Blurpled (KBShimmer) - blue and purple glitter, my favorite combination. It looks like the base is actually blurple. I swatched this over a black base and it was very dark that way. I believe it's really intended to be worn on its own.
  • Explosive (Formula X) - really wild metallic holo glitter in a black base. (Sephora's description is "black rainbow mega-glitter" - I've also seen it called the perfect New Year's Eve polish). Still available at Sephora at the moment.
  • Fly (OPI mini) - from the Nicki Minaj collection, a turquoise cream, maybe a bit lighter than the average turquoise.
  • Forget You Not (Lynnderella) - periwinkle (i.e., blue-violet) satin glitter in a blue base, with pink shimmer
  • Good Girl Gone Bad (Deborah Lippmann) - this was a holiday 2011 polish, a sparkly wine-red. It's gorgeous. I try not to obsess about polishes in this higher price range because I just don't need to be paying full price for them - so I'm glad I didn't know about this one til I had an opportunity to get it at a bargain price!
  • Graffiti (The New Black ombre set) - These are a bit odd, these sets, but I'm glad I got this one, because it'll be fun to play with. It has five separate mini-polishes - they don't seem to have individual names - and some of the other sets are various shades of purples and so on, but this one is black and silver and gray. It has a black creme and a shimmery one and big silver glitter and fine silver glitter. I can't see doing one finger in each but I think it'll be good for layering.
  • Love Potion No. 99.9 (Lynnderella) - my understanding is that there was an old formula that was just called Love Potion 99, and then the new formulation is 99.9. (But I can't swear to that.) It's got orchid leanings but it's darker than Orchid Of The Year, which I already had. Basically, it's purple glitter (somewhat red-leaning) with maybe a slightly purple-tinted base - almost clear - and some scattered small red glitters.
  • Scrangie 2.0 (Rescue Beauty Lounge) - Ji's blurb about this talks about oil slicks, and man, maybe I'll see that when I look at this in other lights, but so far I can't see it at all. I called it a fall-ish polish. (The second link is also the link to buy it, fyi.) Anyway, it's also described as "complex" and that I absolutely buy. I honestly thought it was a sort of a bronze metallic when I decided to order it, and I don't think that's completely off, either. Now that I'm looking for it, I guess I do see the oil-slick effect. A bit. Anyway, complex is certainly right and I'll probably have more to say about this after I wear it! (more swatches) (Note: that was the wrong link, but I finally noticed and have corrected that!)
  • VamPink (Lynnderella) - I'm not sure how I ended up with so many Halloween polishes - three of the six Lynnderellas - but eh, I love Halloween and anyway, neither of these two with vampire names really look exactly like Halloween colors so I can wear them whenever. This one especially - it's various pink, magenta and black glitters in a pink base.
  • Very Pretty Vampire (Lynnderella) - this looks different than I thought it did at first. It's not exactly Halloween - what it is is goth. It's red, burgundy, and black in a clear base. It has big pieces including some good-sized squares, although I haven't really managed to fish any of those out of the bottle yet!
  • Viola (Initial Lacquer): ...and in fact this very possibly the very bottle that I now possess, in those pictures, since I got mine from Oh Three Oh Four's blog sale. This is mixed purple glitters in a purple jelly base, with some small glitters in other colors mixed in. I had never even heard of this brand, but then it looks like she's not making polish any more, so I guess it's best not to get too attached to the brand!
Glitter Food (Nail Pattern Boldness) - made to be a top-coat that evens out glitter, although I've heard people say they also use it as a base under their glitter, and I'm currently testing that out. I'm going to have lots of material to test both those uses out on with all these Lynnderellas! It actually has a third use, as well - the other use is as "Fix-a-Flat" - you use it to sort of re-suspend glitters in the bottle. (The link above has a photographic demonstration of that.)

Okay, swatches:
This is some of the new top-coat things compared with some that I already had. Left to right we have Gossamer (Jin Soon), Alpha Nail (NPB), Bubblegum Punk (RBL) and an oldie but a goodie, Hard Candy Jailbait, all over WnW Black Creme. Jailbait does not look so much like the others over black, but the effect is generally similar. I talked over here (towards the bottom) about these polishes while I was doing the actual swatching. Gossamer looks pink-ish, Alpha Nail looks blue-ish, and if those two are fraternal twins, Bubblegum Punk is their shinier cousin.

Here's Bit Faker over black, Wet N Wild Black Creme on its own (which is what's under almost everything this wheel), Alexa Lace, Scrangie 2.0, and Alexa Lace again, this time not over black. (Scrangie is not over black, either.) Alexa Lace over black is rather similar to the one Lynnderella, but I like it. The link way above has it layered over a pale pink and that was pretty as well.

Here's Bit Faker, without undies and with the black undies:
You can see that it builds pretty easily to opacity, on its own. I think it looks really good both ways, though.

Also, I filled that blank black space up there with Cauldron Drippings:
I should point out that none of these have topcoat at all - it becomes pretty obvious on some of these big glitters. Anyway, I imagine I'll wear this over orange, when it comes right down to Halloween, but it looks pretty cute this way, too.

The only one of this bunch that's new is the first one. This is Explosive (Formula X), Snowflakes (Color Club), Travel In Colour (China Glaze), and Fire Fly (Jesse's Girl). Explosive is really splashy, as I think I mentioned above, although you can't really see it here. Interestingly, to me, the smaller glitters in Explosive look exactly the same size-wise as the ones in the next polish, Snowflakes, but they read really different from a distance. Rather than reading like a loud holographic, Snowflakes reads more like a flakie - I guess it's a flakie in glitter form? I guess that's possible. -- Then after that we have Travel In Colour, which as I already knew, reads pretty pink, and it covers more than these others. And the fourth one is Fire Fly, which I'm always forgetting to wear but which I've always thought was gorgeous when I did remember to wear it. It almost looks greenish here, but really I think it's just sort of colorless, or maybe silvery. It just adds shimmer.

Explosive without and with undies, and I'm happy to see that you can get more of a hint of the rainbow effect in these pictures:
It has a gray base and you could wear it on its own, certainly, but I think I like it over black more, in this case. I may save this one til winter because it's so seriously flashy, and I usually get in the mood for that in the winter. We'll see.

Let's see, this is Viola, the Initial Lacquer one, and then Love Potion 99.9 and VamPink. You can see that VamPink does look pretty pink, and that Viola is somewhat more blue-violet, where LP99.9 is maybe more towards neutral.

Here's Fly, Good Girl Gone Bad, and Excuse Me I Blurpled again, you've seen that one above. I had to start a different wheel, and I ended up filling half of it with the Lynnderellas without topcoat, because it made it easier to see what was what in the glitter. The two Llarowe polishes I got in the mail tonight are also on that wheel, so I'll probably have pictures of all that later on. I also think I'm missing large pictures of some of the Lynnderellas, so I'll go back and fill that in too, in case anybody besides me cares!

Here's the whole black wheel once it was completed (well, it's all over black except the two I pointed out above, Scrangie and Alexa):
(I have gone back to writing the names on the wheel because even though it's messy, it gives me a record of what's what. I am too scatterbrained and when I put the list somewhere else I tend to lose it!) (And I remembered after a while that I quit using Pigma Pens on these - that's the ones that are smeared, on the left - and went to using fine-point Sharpies instead, because those hold up better on the plastic.)