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.)