Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: June Ipsy Glam Bag

Good morning! Today is my and Mr. ALIQUID's first anniversary!! I can't believe a year has gone by so fast. Trudy and I have the best husband/dad on the planet!!

Anyway! Today I'm finally getting around to reviewing this month's Ipsy Glam Bag. If you're not familiar with Ipsy, it's a beauty product subscription service that costs $10 per month. You get 4-5 sample and full-size products each month that are customized (more or less) to your preferences, as well as exclusive deals from all the featured brands. Here's my referral link if you'd like to sign up!

This was an OK month for me (no nail polish though). Only one total dud, I think! For $10 that's pretty good. I'll start with my favorite product!

1. NYX Butter Gloss in Apple Strudel

This is a really nice lip gloss! It feels slightly sticky but generally very smooth and luxurious. The color intensity was just right for me--not totally invisible but not horrible candy pink either. I've already used this gloss multiple times.

2. Laneige BB Cushion

This BB cream came with a lot of literature, so I'll let this sexy lady explain it to you (click for bigger). Basically it's a BB cream with SPF 50, which is obviously a very good thing. It comes in the form of a soaked sponge with a puff to use as an applicator. I guess this gives you more control over the amount you want to use. I got samples of all three shades, so I was a bit grumpy about only being able to use a third of the sample pack.

Obviously, "light" is my shade (are we surprised?? no). I wonder whether "dark" would really work with very dark skin tones, but I can't test that.

Anyway, I found the coverage of this product to be pretty typical for a BB cream, i.e. not as heavy as a foundation. It was neither matte nor shiny on me. Not too greasy. It seems to have good wear time too, which is a plus for a sunscreen product. On the negative side, I did find that it tended to accent any dry spots on my face. It's also pretty pricey: $34 for half an ounce. So probably not something I'll be buying.

3. Be a Bombshell Lash Out Mascara

This seems to be a pretty basic, no-frills mascara to me. It works OK, I didn't have a big problem with clumping, but it doesn't do anything extraordinary either. I found it to be flaky by the end of the day, and not particularly waterproof either. I'd say it's equivalent to my $5 tube of N.Y.C. mascara, but it costs three times more.

Here are the before-and-after shots:

I think my eyelashes are kind of sparse and would probably benefit more from a finer/denser mascara brush.

4. Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner in Blue

Ahhh, eyeliner...the one eye product I just can't get right. I think this would look really cute for a bolder look, if only I could draw in a straight line. Maybe I'll try it tonight for our anniversary dinner.

5. Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray

Come on, Ipsy, I thought we'd discussed this...don't send me hair products! They don't work 99% of the time. My hair is ultra fine and pretty stubbornly straight. But I tried this stuff anyway, because I guess you never know.

So you're supposed to spray this on damp hair, scrunch it, and then either let your hair air-dry or dry it with a diffuser (which I don't have). The problem is that when my hair air-dries, it poofs out into a mane of frizz. So that's Issue #1. Issue #2 is that as soon as I brushed my hair, all the waves basically collapsed. So instead of having wavy Beach Goddess hair, I had Slept On It Funny hair. Issue #3 was the grimy residue this product left behind. Soooo yep, it's a dud. If anyone wants the rest of my bottle, I'll send it to you!

Did you get an Ipsy bag this month? Did you like it?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Revlon Naughty

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Happy weekend! This weekend is special for us because tomorrow is our first anniversary. We're going out to eat a giant steak dinner, so I'll make sure to post pics on Instagram and make you all jealous!

Today's Neverending Pile theme is dirtiest-named polish. Sadly I don't have a whole lot of polish with dirty names; the worst I've got is Revlon Naughty. I think the name fits the polish pretty nicely!

Revlon Naughty. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Naughty has a smoky brownish-grey base with a sexy purple glow. Definitely quite sultry! The formula was OK--too runny for my taste, streaky on the first coat but evened out on the second. I did get some minor bubbling too. In indoor lighting the shimmer gets hidden a bit.

What's YOUR dirtiest-named polish?

Total untrieds tried: 67 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: A England Princess Sabra

The product in this post was given to me as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Happy Hump Day! I've been crazy busy making nail polish lately, so expect to see lots of new stuff in the near future!

I did take some time to swatch an untried polish today. This Neverending Pile Challenge theme is gold. I don't wear much gold polish because it tends not to look good with my skintone. But I looooove today's polish because it's not a yellowy gold, and in fact has olive green undertones (plus scattered holo shimmer!). This is A England Princess Sabra!

A England Princess Sabra. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

No one makes scattered holos like A England! I think this one is so classy and elegant. The formula was perfectly easy to apply, with great consistency and no streaking.

What's your favorite A England polish?

Total untrieds tried: 66 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Brown

Happy Monday! Today's Neverending Pile Challenge theme is brown. I know not everyone is a fan of brown nail polish, but I love it. I think because browns have a nice earthy, natural quality that other neutrals don't.

Anyway, today I did a simple striping tape mani (pattern shamelessly stolen from Chalkboard Nails) using Julep Annemarie and Revlon French Roast. French Roast has beautiful multicolored flecks in it--I really should swatch it separately sometime!

P.S. This is my 250th post!!

Total untrieds tried: 65 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Sunday, June 22, 2014

I made food: vanilla ice cream

Good morning everyone! Mr. ALIQUID and I are big ice cream fans, so you can imagine how excited we were a few weeks ago when I finally made my first homemade ice cream! We got an ice cream maker attachment for our KitchenAid mixer as a wedding present but only just now decided to take the plunge. And it was definitely worth it!

So ice cream isn't something you can make on the spur of the moment, because it does require special equipment. But I'm going to show you how easy it is, so if you've been thinking about getting an ice cream maker, maybe this post will convince you! The actual process isn't technical at all and takes maybe an hour of active cooking (plus lots of waiting...but the anticipation makes the final result taste better!).

The recipe I used comes from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which is full of amazing and unusual flavors (like chamomile chardonnay ice cream or cucumber, honeydew and cayenne frozen yogurt!). But for my first try I decided to go with a classic vanilla. I won't tell you the exact recipe because I encourage everyone to go out and get this amazing cookbook, but I'll show you how the process works!

Jeni's ice cream recipes use seven basic ingredients: light corn syrup, sea salt, heavy cream (duh!), whole milk, cornstarch, cream cheese (in place of the more usual eggs) and sugar. In addition, I used a vanilla bean, although vanilla extract would of course be fine too.

The ingredients start out going into three separate bowls...

...the cornstarch is mixed with a little bit of the milk...

...the cream cheese is whisked with the salt...

...and everything else goes into a big pot. This mixture gets boiled for a few minutes, then the cornstarch is mixed in (this will thicken the batter), then everything is boiled for a minute more.

Finally you whisk the hot batter into the cream cheese, and you're done with the cooking!

The batter goes into a Ziploc bag in an ice bath, or you can put it in the fridge. Either way, it's very important that the batter is nice and chilly before you put it in the ice cream maker, otherwise it won't freeze!

Now it's time to turn the batter into ice cream! As you can see, the KitchenAid ice cream maker consists of a double-walled bowl with liquid in between the walls, as well as a churning attachment. The bowl must be completely frozen before use; we kept it in our freezer on the coldest setting for 24 hours. 

So you put the batter in the bowl and turn the mixer to its slowest setting. The frozen bowl starts freezing the ice cream, while the mixing process adds air, so you get nice fluffy ice cream instead of a solid block of ice.

After 20 minutes or so, the ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve, and that means it's done. You scoop it out into a container, lay some parchment paper on top, and stick it in the freezer for a few hours, where it will turn into beautiful ice cream!

Whaddya think? Not bad for my first try! The vanilla flavor is way more intense than your average storebought ice cream, and it's sooo rich and can feel your arteries clogging as you eat it. I'm not sure we can ever go back to grocery store ice cream now! This week I made cookies 'n' cream flavor--it's just vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreos added near the end of the mixing process.

Have you been inspired to make your own ice cream? For those of you who already have an ice cream maker, what's your favorite recipe?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet: Gradient cartoon nails

Happy Summer Solstice! The sun woke us up around 5 AM today (the downside of living on the eastern side of the time zone), so yeah, it's definitely summer! Make sure to enjoy the sun before the days get short again (don't forget your sunscreen)!

For this week's FingerFood challenge, we did cartoon/comic manis. I knew I had to try out the famous cartoon look--it's one of those classics that every nail artist should do at least once! I made it a little more exciting by starting with a neon gradient using China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy and Orly Tropical Pop. As usual, my camera couldn't really capture the neons accurately, but they are definitely eye-searing in real life!

For the black outline I used a Sally Hansen nail art pen, which was much easier than using a brush, although the paint tends to crack when it dries, so I had to go over some spots several times. I added the "glare" with Maybelline Porcelain Party. Then I mattified everything using Revlon matte topcoat. I'm really happy with how this turned out!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: The Lady Varnishes Lothlorien

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Happy Friday! I have another pretty swatch for you today from an indie I've been admiring for a long time. For today's Neverending Pile prompt, green, I wore The Lady Varnishes Lothlorien. I mean, Galadriel is one of my favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings, so I basically HAD to buy this polish, right?

(Apologies for the lobster hands!)

The Lady Varnishes Lothlorien. Three coats with no topcoat.

Lothlorien is a minty/seafoamy green matte polish with silver and gold microglitter and green shimmer. This color is exactly up my alley--very dreamy and magical, just like the elves! As you can see, it's fairly sheer, as my nail lines are still visible under three coats. The formula was thick but manageable, but not 100% self-leveling. The polish dried slightly gritty due to the tiny particles in it. Dry time was nice and fast, always great for a matte.

I wore this polish with a topcoat too, and I think I actually prefer it this way because it lets the shimmer really pop!

The Lady Varnishes Lothlorien. Three coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Lothlorien is available at The Lady Varnishes' Etsy shop ($11 for 15 ml)!

Total untrieds tried: 63 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Emily de Molly Turbulence

The product in this post was given to me as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Hey kids! Today's polish is a brand new one in my stash, but I just couldn't wait to wear it! The Neverending Pile Challenge theme for today is blue (my other favorite color), and I had to try the bottle of Emily de Molly Turbulence that I just received in a polish swap! I actually included this polish in my first edition of Gimme That Polish back in February (and look at that amazing swatch--can you blame me?) and my swap buddy very wisely bought it for me.

Turbulence is a deep blue jelly with loads of different glitters--diamonds, hexes and dots, blue, green, pink, and silver, lots of it holographic. Sadly I couldn't capture the true majesty of this polish with my crappy camera, so please go look at some better swatches as soon as you're done here!

Emily de Molly Turbulence. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

The formula was quite lovely--thick but not gummy, and I had no problem getting the largest glitters on my brush. I had to do some dabbing to get an even glitter distribution. I used one thinner coat with a thicker, glitter-packed coat on top.

Please visit Emily de Molly's shop to buy Turbulence (they ship within Australia) or find their list of international stockists!

Total untrieds tried: 62 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Good morning kiddies! I'm super excited because today's Neverending Pile Challenge prompt is my favorite color, PURPLE!! I had a bunch of fun untried purples to choose from; in the end I went for KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie. This color isn't showing up on their site, so I'm guessing it's been discontinued. That means I'm gonna be hoarding this bottle like crazy!

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie. Three coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Sugar Plum Faerie is a red-toned purple jelly with various sizes of pink, purple and green glitter. This is, of course, right up my alley! It was thin for a jelly and very easy to apply, with only a little dabbing needed to keep the larger glitters in place. I used three coats for even coverage.

The girl I tutor likes to look at my nails, and I'm betting on some compliments with this mani! (Her final Latin exam is this week, so wish her luck!)

Total untrieds tried: 61 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Red tips

Hi! I hope all the dads and their families out there had a great weekend! We just got back from a short trip to visit my in-laws and celebrate my sister-in-law's engagement! I did this mani before we left but didn't have time to post it then.

The theme for Friday's Neverending Pile Challenge was red. Red is another of my not-so-favorite polish colors, so I decided to mix it up by pairing red with a nice complementary polish. I used Nina Candi Apple on my index and pinky and the French tips, and Happy Revolution Flip Flip Flipadelphia on the two middle fingers (this was a collaboration between Happy Hands and Polish Revolution and is currently for sale at Polish Revolution). I like the way the red glitter ties everything together!

I loved wearing this mani! There's a reason the French tip is such a classic look!

Total untrieds tried: 60 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Thursday, June 12, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet: Boozy nails

Hey there! This week's FingerFood theme is cocktails! Yummm, I haven't had a good cocktail in a while...anyway. I decided to try to make my nails look like little glasses of fizzy champagne! Although I think they turned out more like light beer. :-D

I started with a base of Revlon Gold Coin and then mixed some Gold Coin with white polish to make the fizz color. I added that with a dotting tool. Very simple!

Check out the rest of this week's manis!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Barry M Birthday

The product in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Happy Hump Day! Today's Neverending Pile Challenge theme is pink. Now, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I'm not really a pink person. Around age 14 I stopped liking pink and started wearing moodier colors, and I'm still basically the same way. So my collection of pink polish isn't huge. But I do have a couple fabulous untried pink glitter jellies, and here's one of them!

Barry M Birthday was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UK drugstore Superdrug. It's pretty hard to get Barry M in the US thanks to the UK's draconian shipping rules, but luckily I got a British friend to smuggle a bottle out for me! It's a vivid pink jelly with a purple shimmer (less blue than it appears here) and white and silver glitter. Very in-your-face!

Barry M Birthday. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

This is my first time trying Barry M, but I already understand why they're so popular! This is an awesome summer polish. The formula was great too--thin and easily spreadable, without much need for dabbing to get the glitter in place.

I have no idea if this guy is still available, so you UK folks will have to check your local Superdrug!

Total untrieds tried: 58 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Two cremes with stamping decal

Hey, what's up? The theme for today's Neverending Pile Challenge is two cremes. I'm running short on untried cremes since I always use cremes for nail art, but I found two that went together perfectly for a nice summery mani!

I started with a base of China Glaze Be More Pacific (a new one!) and made a stamping decal with Revlon Stiletto (the black) and Revlon Optimistic for the accent nail. The cherry stamp comes from an untried plate, Winstonia W118. Last time I did a stamping decal, I put it on after the base color was dry; this time, I did it while it was still wet. It was easier to stick on, but I got hella bubbles under it. So I'm still not sure which way is best for decals!

For my other nails I tried out another untried stamping plate, Cheeky CH22, which is all French tip patterns. I'm not sure how to get the tip even when you can't see the stamp as you apply it...oh well. I really like the way my decal came out!

Total untrieds tried: 57 + chevron decals + 3 stamping plates


Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Ugliest(?)

Hey all! What a lazy day we had's starting to get hot and humid here, so all we felt like doing was sitting around and watching TV. Oh well!

I'm finally catching up with the Neverending Pile Challenge with Friday's prompt, which is ugliest. Obviously this is another totally subjective call on my part, but I did have a polish in mind from the start...I chose Julep Karen, which is a pale-but-not-pastel orange shimmer with gold flecks. The silver shimmer gives it a kind of unpleasant greyish cast in my opinion. I paired Karen with Julep Hannah, a greenish-tan creme that I actually really like, but I know some people would consider it "pretty-ugly". It's an ugly combination anyway!

I think this shade of orange might be the single most unflattering color on me EVER. If you're wondering why I own Karen, it came in a Julep mystery box, so I didn't actually choose to buy it!

Total untrieds tried: 55 + chevron decals + 1 stamping plate


Saturday, June 7, 2014

FingerFood's Theme Buffet: Under the sea

Hi! Hope you're having a good weekend! Today I finally managed to get my FingerFood mani for the week done. The theme is under the sea. I decided to do jellyfish! (Apologies for the kinda ragged picture...I was in a rush.)

I started with a black base and used the watercolor method to make a watery background with several shades of blue polish, including Revlon Indigo Night and Plunge Pool, China Glaze Hanging in the Balance, and Sephora by OPI Ocean Love Potion. On top of that, I made white dots for the heads of the jellyfish and dabbed them with a Q-tip dipped in acetone to make them translucent. I added the tentacles and topped everything off with a coat of L'Oreal Miss Pixie, a blue jelly.

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: Prettiest(?) polishes

Hey folks! Today's prompt for the Neverending Pile Challenge is prettiest. Now, I don't know about you, but it's impossible for me to choose one "prettiest" polish in my collection. (Almost) all my polishes are pretty in their own way--a creme is pretty in a different way from a glitterbomb, you know? So instead of trying to come up with some kind of prettiness rubric, I just grabbed a couple untried polishes that jumped out at me from my stash list as being really interesting.

I ended up wearing Orly Fowl Play, a deep red-toned purple jelly with orange-yellow flakies, tiny blue glitter and silver flecks; and Picture Polish Paradise, a blue-green sparkly foil with purple and holographic rose glitter. Now, I have to apologize a bit for my photographs: Paradise is so shiny that it basically gave my camera a panic attack, so I could only manage these side-on shots. But I hope they convey how these polishes look! I got two indoor shots and a sunlight shot. (One day I'll get a real lightbox, I promise.)

Orly Fowl Play and Picture Polish Paradise. Three coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Did you notice that Paradise has a slight color shift too?

Before I go, I realized I forgot to post this picture yesterday--here's Trudy supervising my stash-photographing process!

Total untrieds tried: 53 + chevron decals + 1 stamping plate


Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge #11: My polish stash...photographed!

Good morning! I'm finally returning to the 2014 Blogger Challenge. You might have noticed that I haven't done it for a couple months--there were some prompts I didn't have much to say about, then I kinda got distracted. But I thought today's topic would be a perfect place to get back on the horse. The prompt is collections. What do I have a giant collection of? Nail polish, of course! If you like to see pictures of organized stuff, you will like this post!

This will obviously be image-heavy, so click the jump to see it all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

May's Museum-Worthy Manis!

Hey there! I've finally picked my five favorite nail art designs from my Pinterest board for last month! It was REALLY tough to narrow it down to just five this time...there are so many talented people out there. Read on to see my picks and make sure to go visit the original artists' posts!

1. Greek Pottery by Break Rules, Not Nails

I have a classics degree, so I couldn't NOT pick this one! The patterns come from a MoYou stamping plate, which I need right now, and I love the way she imitated the texture of pottery using saran wrap on her base colors!

2. Watercolor Effect Poppies by Lucy's Stash

Lucy's Stash is one of my absolute favorite blogs for nail art, especially for her floral designs, and this is a perfect example. I love this amazing vintage pattern and all the tiny variations in color she achieves with the watercolor method. She has a tutorial up for this mani if you want to try it yourself! (I might!)

3. Still Life by Wondrously Polished

Wondrously Polished did so many amazing manis this month, but I could only pick one! (Here's my runner-up!) I love it when nail artists use the whole hand as one canvas, and Lindsey has a great eye for color.

4. Woods and Vine by Style Those Nails

The flowers and vines in this mani are beautiful, but what sucked me in was the use of water marbling to make a wood grain pattern! Genius!

5. Epic Love Story by PiggieLuv

I had to save this truly epic set of five manis for last! Somehow Narmai had the fortitude to do a mani for each tier of this gorgeous wedding cake, and she absolutely nailed it! Look at how perfect and crisp those freehanded figures are!!

Well, I'm once again blown away by the talent in the nail art community. What was your favorite mani last month? Who should I be following?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Neverending Pile Challenge: What was I thinking?

Good morning! It's time once again for the Neverending Pile Challenge! Today's theme is a great one: what was I thinking buying this? I think every nail polish hoarder can relate to this one! Sometimes you just impulsively grab a bottle and then instantly regret it.

My "what was I thinking" polish is from the Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat collection of bar glitter toppers. All Yarned Up is a clear base with short yellow, peach and periwinkle bar glitters. Now, I hate bar glitter, and I'm not a huge fan of glitter toppers either, but for some reason I decided I needed a polish from this collection. OK, past me, that was a weird choice. Anyway, I did a glitter gradient using All Yarned Up over another untried, Zoya Willow.

OK, from an objective point of view I can see why this polish is looks like sprinkles or little feathers or something. It might come in handy if I do a cake or ice cream mani. (Which means I probably won't be able to part with it...I'm such a hoarder.) It's just not really my style though. Plus the little glitters kept poking me through the topcoat.

Are you a fan of the bar glitter trend?

Total untrieds tried: 51 + chevron decals + 1 stamping plate


Monday, June 2, 2014

May's Gimme That Polish!

Happy June! Here I am, slightly late, with my Gimme That Polish picks for May! These were my top five polishes among all the ones I pinned to my wishlist last month. If you like 'em too, go check out the swatches and then visit the brands' shops! (And if you have no more room in your Helmer for new polish, I'll hold on to them for you...)

1. Dollish Polish - Love Me Some Pie

I was surprised that this one ended up on my list, since I don't normally like this sort of random glitterbomb. But something about the squishy jelly and the contrast between the pink and black glitters sucked me in! (Dollish Polish shop | swatch by Accio Lacquer)

2. Fanchromatic Nails - The Dream of the Apples

This one's not a new release, but it kept popping up in my Etsy feed until finally I had to pin it. Fanchromatic Nails seems to be awesome at making this kind of hazy, ethereal glitter crelly. And I'm really digging the yellow-green base color. (Fanchromatic Nails shop | swatch by Pointless Cafe)

3. Lacquer Lust - Aubergine

I looooove matte polish, and this gorgeous purple suede is calling my name! The shimmer in it just adds more interest while still remaining subtle. (Lacquer Lust shop | swatch by Fashion Polish)

4. Dollish Polish - One Lifetime With You

Yep, it's another Dollish from The Ultimate Fandom Collection! This one is inspired by Aragorn and Arwen from The Lord of the Rings, which is part of why I love it so much. Just look at all those flakes and glitters! I could stare at this macro forever. (Dollish Polish shop | swatch by Accio Lacquer)

5. KBShimmer - Too Pop to Handle

Hnnngg, look at all the purple!! I would love this glittery jelly even without the flashes of holographic rainbows, but they just make everything a bit better, don't they? (KBShimmer shop | swatch by Work Play Polish)

That's all, folks! It's times like this I wish I was a millionaire! What polishes are you currently lusting after?