Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today's mani: Gruesome gradient

Happy Hump Day! October is almost over, can you believe it?? I hate how fast time goes by!

Well, you might have noticed that I haven't really gotten into the Halloween spirit as far as my nails go. Halloween just doesn't interest me now that I'm too old to get free candy. Plus, orange doesn't look very good on me. But I figured I should do at least a couple manis before the holiday passes.

Instead of orange, I decided to use a slime green color, which is equally creepy to me! I did a gradient with Essie Shake Your $$ Maker and Revlon Stiletto. When I was done, I decided it needed something more, so I did a little stamp with Winstonia plate W116 and Julep Harley (my go-to stamping silver). What do you think--is it ghastly enough?

I'll probably do one more Halloween mani, since I doubt this one will last until Friday (I'm going to be deep-cleaning our apartment for the next few days). See you then, boys and ghouls!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: October Lip Monthly bag

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Hi guys! Today I have a review of a subscription bag I just decided to try out for a few months. Lip Monthly sends you a variety of lip products each month, plus one other beauty product. It costs $10 per month, but you can get a discount if you buy multiple months in advance. Here's my referral link if you'd like to try it out!

The one downside to this service compared to other ones I've tried is that it isn't customizable, so they don't take your skin tone or other preferences into account. It's still a fairly new service though, so this might change in the future.

The theme for October's bag was "the nude lip". Alongside a lipstick, they included multiple lip care products, as well as an eyeliner to use for a smoky eye look. Unfortunately the star of the bag didn't really suit me, as you'll see!

1. Starlooks Lip Sugar

This product didn't come with an ingredients list, but it smells and tastes like brown sugar, so I'm assuming that's the main ingredient. It works pretty much as advertised to exfoliate your lips and doesn't feel overly rough. A little goes a long way. Will definitely use again.

2. Noyah Classic Lip Balm

(Yes, it's spelled Noya on the tube but Noyah everywhere else.) This is a very simple, all-natural lip balm that feels really great and moisturizing. It contains only coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, and stevia for sweetening. It's also kosher, if you're into that. That said, I do think the balms are a bit overpriced ($4) so I'm glad I got this one for less. (Although I have mountains of homemade lip balm here, so I never need to buy lip balm again.)

3. Fantabulous Lipstick in Honeycrisp

Here is the promised nude lipstick of the bag. I confess, I always thought "nude" lipstick matched the color of your lips, but this one is actually more like flesh-colored (for me anyway). I can see how this could look good with a really bold eye look. Unfortunately, this particular shade is much more yellow than my skintone, so it ended up looking really weird on me.

(Sorry, indoor pic.)

I wasn't too impressed with the formula either--it wasn't very opaque. Definitely won't be wearing this one.

Bottom to top: Honeycrisp, Look deVine Pinot Noir, L.A. Girl Blue Metallic

4. Look deVine lip shimmer in Pinot Noir

As you can tell from the above swatch, this product adds just a slight tint and shimmer to your lips. I tried photographing it over a lipstick, but you really couldn't see it. I would mainly use this as a lip balm, because it has a ton of natural oils and feels great. It also has a rather strong grape scent. Additionally, it contains resveratrol, which is found in grapes and is supposedly good for you, but there isn't any clear proof of its benefits in humans.

5. L.A. Girl Eyeliner in Blue Metallic

This is the one non-lip product in the bag. It's a standard pencil eyeliner. As you know, I'm not a big fan of eyeliner, but I tried it on and it seemed to work decently. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good photo of it.

OK, so I was happy with 3/5 of my first Lip Monthly bag, and that's decent for a subscription service. I have three more prepaid bags coming, so I'll let you know how they are!

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: October Ipsy Glam Bag

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Happy Friday everyone! We've had some super crazy weather here lately--intense wind and rain for two straight days. I guess winter really is coming. :-/

Here are my thoughts on the Ipsy bag I got this month! Ipsy is a beauty subscription service that costs $10 per month. Each bag is somewhat personalized to your preferences. If you'd like to sign up, please use my referral link!

1. Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in Rose Berry

Always happy to try new hand creams since it's starting to get cold here! This cream has a very watery texture, so it absorbs quickly. Normally I don't like watery creams, but this one does actually feel like it's doing something. My hands feel smoother afterward. I wasn't a huge fan of the scent though (surprisingly, since I love almost all scents). This one had a weird kind of savory quality to it, kind of like goat cheese or something? I don't know. But on this website they have a variety of other scents that sound nice, and the creams aren't too expensive!

2. Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths

These are disposable face wipes that also contain a variety of plant extracts and oils that are supposed to be good for your skin. You don't have to use any water with them or rinse off afterwards. They foam up, but surprisingly don't leave any noticeable residue behind. I did feel clean after using them, although I didn't try them with makeup on. The big downside to any product like this is that they seem awfully wasteful to me.

3. ECRU New York Acacia Protein BB Cream for Hair

Oh joy, another hair product. As I'm sure you've heard me whine before, I have ultrafine hair, so most leave-in products make it feel grimy and heavy. This particular cream is supposed to improve texture, volume, moisture and shine. "Perfect for all hair types." Yeah, we'll see.

So the tube didn't specify whether to put the product on the entire length of your hair, but I went for it. Go big or go home. This cream is water-based, so it didn't leave behind as much residue as I was expecting. It did weigh down my roots though. In terms of benefits, I saw marginal improvement in texture/smoothness, but as soon as I went outside in the wind, my hair frizzed up like a sheepdog again (as you can see in the pic below). So, overall, not impressed.

4. City Color Be Matte Lipstick in Cappuccino

(Sorry for the indoor pics--again, crazy weather!)

OK, this lipstick has some downsides but I can't help liking it. It has the feel and smell of a crayon, as in Crayola. (I guess that's not a downside if you have some crayon-related nostalgia.) It doesn't spread very smoothly at all. BUT it has great pigmentation and I really love the color! I don't care if it smells like a crayon, I'm going to wear this one. (Swatch on top in pic below.)

5. Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder in Graphite Frost

(Swatch on bottom in above pic.) This eyeshadow is meh, just OK. I'm not a huge fan of the color, as I normally go for more natural-looking eyeshadows. Pigmentation is mediocre.

Here's me doing my best "smoky eye" with Graphite Frost in the crease and a little below my lower lid. The lipstick is NYX Ceto, one of my favorite nude shades. (And check out that frizzy hair!)

Welp, another month, another Ipsy bag. I haven't gotten a nail polish from Ipsy in a long time, but I know other people are getting them! Grrr!

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

He Picks My Polish: Grandma's couch

Hey all! I'm really happy to join in with He Picks My Polish for this month! In case you don't know how this works, you have a guy in your life pick three polishes from your stash, and you have to do a mani with them. You can't add any other polishes besides neutrals. It's fun and potentially hilarity-inducing. (Feel free to join in this month!)

If you've seen my previous installments, you know that my husband likes to pick colors that match his favorite fictional ladies. I was expecting a similar thing this time, but he surprised me by going a different route. The polishes he chose were L'Oreal L'Orange (orange, of course), Nails Inc. Bruton Mews (a dark green), and OPI You're So Vain-illa (off-white). After I gave up trying to guess, he informed me that the colors represented one of his favorite foods: orange chicken. (The green stands for broccoli.) Yes, he's a weird dude.

With orange and green, I at first naturally thought of doing a pumpkin design, but changed my mind and went for a floral pattern. It turned out kinda vintage-couch, don't you think? It still looks very fall-like to me.

Check out the other manis for this month!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Today's mani: Sunset gradient

Hi all! Boy, I've been a bad blogger lately, haven't I? The truth is, I've barely done my nails at all lately. I sometimes feel like it's not worth it, because my mani will be ruined by either 1) making nail polish or 2) packing up orders. Yesterday I decided I had to do something because I had a tutoring job to go to. So I threw something together which I'm not 100% happy with.

First I did a gradient using Picture Polish Citrus, L'Oreal Orange You Jealous?, Revlon Passionate Pink and Zoya Audrina. I can't remember the last time I did a 4-color gradient (have I ever??) and it turned out nicely. I just keep forgetting that orange looks better in the bottle than on me!

The stamp is what really annoys me. I first wanted to do a cloud stamp, but after I finished the gradient I realized the stamp I picked wasn't going to work (it stamps the sky, not the clouds themselves). So I switched to this sun stamp (Winstonia plate W111), and of course I didn't manage to center it properly. Bleh. Plus I have shrinkage on my tips.

Today I've been grouchy too (lip balm making is giving me trouble, plus the endless stress of trying to find a job). But I'm going to try to perk up and do my nails more regularly. He Picks My Polish is coming up in a few days, and Mr. ALIQUID already knows what colors he wants!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

So one interesting thing I've noticed since I started getting into nail polish is that I've gradually become more interested in other kinds of makeup too. I used to only wear makeup (other than foundation etc.) on special occasions. Then I started expanding my eyeshadow collection and learning how you're actually supposed to apply it (I'm still working on that one!). Now I'm starting to experiment more with lip color. It took me a long time to feel comfortable wearing colors other than nude!

So all that is to introduce the fact that I recently bought a set of five NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams for 50% off from Ipsy. Matte lip products (or highly pigmented lipstick of any kind) are pretty far out of my comfort zone, and these looked really pretty, so I went for it.

The five I got are all on the lighter end of the color spectrum. Since the formula on all was the same, I'll describe it here. As the name suggests, these products have a creamy consistency--more liquid than a lipstick (they apply with a doe-foot applicator) but more solid than a lip gloss. They are nicely pigmented and don't feel too dry, although they don't feel moisturizing like their site claims.

The lip creams do tend to settle into the lines on your lips. I'm not sure if they'd still do this over a lip primer, as I don't own one (shocking!!). As for durability, I'd give them an average rating. You can lick your lips or take a drink without really fading the color, but they also wipe off pretty easily and don't leave any sort of stain behind. So be prepared to reapply if you're planning to wear one of these for a long time.

OK, on to the colors!

From left to right (the descriptions come from the NYX website):
  • Sydney: soft lavender
  • Istanbul: clean pink
  • Milan: mid-tone blue-toned pink
  • Antwerp: mid-tone yellow-toned pink
  • Stockholm: mid-tone beige pink

While these are all pretty, I think Stockholm was my surprise favorite. At first glance I thought it would look too brown, but it doesn't stand out as much as I expected and actually makes for a nice alternative to nude. I really like Istanbul too. I think Sydney is the only one I wouldn't really wear--it's so pale, and I'm already pale enough! It would look great on someone with darker skin.

The NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are available at the NYX website for $6 each!

The products in this post were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Today's mani: cappuccino watercolor gradient

Happy Monday! Today I decided to try out a new-to-me nail art technique. I was inspired by the Nailasaurus mani that I featured in my Museum-Worthy manis post for September. She did a beautiful gradient using a nail art brush instead of a sponge, which makes it look more rustic and artsy than a traditional gradient. (There's a tutorial in her post if you want to see how it's done!)

I decided to do an all-brown gradient. The end result looks like a cappuccino to me!

The polishes I used were, from dark to light: Revlon Stormy Night, Julep Annemarie, Julep Otte, and OPI You're So Vain-illa.

I actually did this mani twice. The first time I put too much polish on the brush and lost the brush-strokey look I was going for. You almost want to do a dry-brush technique, and don't forget that you can go over the same place again if the color is too sparse.

Have a great week!

Friday, October 3, 2014

September's Museum-Worthy Manis!

It may be October, but I'm still thinking about my favorite nail art from September! These are my top five from my Pinterest Awesome Nail Art board. Make sure to click through to the original artists' posts and give them props!

1. Fireflies in the Field at Sunset by Chalkboard Nails

One thing I love about Chalkboard Nails' nail art is that a lot of it is both stunning and yet simple enough that we nail art amateurs can still give it a try. This is a perfect example--it's beautiful and evocative while still being just a gradient with some dots and a few brush swipes. It's amazing what she can accomplish with such simple techniques!

2. Monochromatic for 31DC 2.0 by Will Paint Nails for Food

OK, I don't understand how Meghan can do such fine linework by hand. Sometimes it's hard to remember when you're looking at a zoomed-in picture of nail art that the canvasses are the size of a freaking fingernail! Seriously, go look at her original photos. Just unbelievable.

3. Aboriginal Artwork Inspired Nail Art by Wondrously Polished

There are dotticures and then there are dotticures. This is the sort of thing I aspire to do. What I love most is actually the fact that the dots aren't perfectly uniform. That gives the art a natural pebbly kind of look. Love the color scheme too.

4. Four Seasons by PiggieLuv

No edition of Museum-Worthy Manis would be complete without one of Narmai's ultra-detailed art recreations! This mani took her two hours per nail. I can't imagine squinting down at my nails for that long. Probably a good thing, since I would never have the heart to remove a mani like this.

5. Gradient Artwork by The Nailasaurus

I can always count on The Nailasaurus to teach me new techniques to try, and I think the watercolor gradient is at the top of my list. This really does look like a painting. Much more texture and interest than your standard gradient. Plus I am seriously into this berry/nude color scheme.

Honorable mention: Tattered Monochromatic Spray Marble by Chalkboard Nails

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September's Gimme That Polish!

Yep, I'm double-posting today! I had to show you my favorite lemmings from my Pinterest wishlist for September! We're rapidly approaching Halloween, so my list is a bit spooky this month. Just hold my hand and you'll be fine! ;-) Don't forget to visit the original blog reviews of these polishes for more details!

1. Dollish Polish - Got Brains?

Mmm, love how murky and creepy this one is! Plus if you check out the rest of the photos, you'll see the awesome color shift! (Dollish Polish shop | swatch by Accio Lacquer)

2. China Glaze - Choo-Choo Choose You

Yes, another dark and shifty shimmer! They're definitely in season, but I seriously could wear this kind of polish every day of the year. Actually, I kind of need the entire China Glaze All Aboard collection. (China Glaze site | swatch by Lace and Lacquers)

3. Philly Loves Lacquer - Bats Are the Chicken of the Cave

Ahhh I just love full-coverage microglitter! This one looks like TV static. Plus it's holographic!! Just love everything about this. (Philly Loves Lacquer shop | swatch by Accio Lacquer)

4. Cadillacquer - The Rest is Silence

Let's interrupt the parade of moody polish with an in-your-face aqua! Holos with contrasting shimmer are my new favorite thing. The whole Sons of Anarchy collection is amazing like this. (Cadillacquer shop | swatch by Fashion Polish)

5. Glam Polish - Wicca

I saved the most amazing thing for last. PURPLE and HOLO and HOLO GLITTER?? I kinda want to eat this picture. (Glam Polish shop swatch by Lacquerstyle)

Honorable mention: Elevation Polish - Devil's Cauldron

ALIQUID Lacquer Puppy Love LE for Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

Hi folks! That's right, I've got some more new ALIQUID Lacquer for ya!

This time it's a very special limited edition that will only be for sale during October. It celebrates Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, which of course Trudy and I are big supporters of! Right, Trudy?

I'll take that as a yes.

So, the polish! It's called Puppy Love and has a bright teal base with pink and gold flecks and a holo sparkle!

The polish sells for $11, and $5 from each purchase will go to the ASPCA. Donations to the ASPCA help with a lot of great causes, including:
  • Grants to shelters nationwide
  • Spay/neuter and microchipping programs
  • Adoption, fostering and relocation programs
  • Investigation and seizure of abused animals
  • Lobbying for anti-cruelty legislation

Did you know that 3.9 million dogs enter shelters in the U.S. every year, and about a third of them are euthanized? There's a belief out there that shelter dogs will always have some sort of behavioral problem that makes them an undesirable pet, but that just isn't true. NO dog is perfect, and EVERY dog can improve! Plus, if you adopt an adult dog you know exactly what you're getting!

When we adopted Trudy, we loved her right from the start. She is so cuddly and affectionate, not to mention really smart! (Bad at playing catch though.) She loves to run and play, but is also great at power napping if we're busy. As a pit bull mix, she didn't have a great chance at being adopted because of the stigma against pit bulls in this country. At least 800,000 pit-bull-type dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S. Luckily we haven't had to overcome too much prejudice; the only difficulty was finding an insurance company that will insure an apartment with a pit bull (go State Farm!).

In terms of behavior, Trudy does show signs of dog aggression, which was a bred-for trait in pit bulls originally (they were, and sadly still are, fighting dogs!). But she has never shown any signs of aggression toward people, even in scary situations like the vet or groomer. She will bark at people if she's afraid, but generally a calm demeanor (and maybe a treat!) will relax her pretty quickly. We have no idea what her life was like before we adopted her, only that she was left to wander around on the street with no ID. I like to think that she's much happier now!

It's important to remember once again that every dog has its good points and bad points--just like people!--and to learn how to deal with them. If you're interested in adopting a dog, you can start reading here. Just be sure that you can afford the time, money, and emotional investment to care for it for the rest of its life! If you're not sure you can, consider volunteering at a shelter or as a foster owner instead. And don't forget to spay/neuter! Puppies are awesome, but more puppies = more dogs in shelters. :-(

Thanks for reading my spiel! I'm aiming to sell at least 50 bottles of Puppy Love this month--that's $250 for the ASPCA! It would be awesome if you could help out!