Saturday, January 31, 2015

January's Gimme That Polish!

Hey gang! Look, I'm doing January's Gimme That Polish and it's still January!! I'm really on top of things this month. As usual, these are my five favorite lemmings from my Pinterest board for this month. Don't forget to check out the original bloggers' posts for more pics and reviews!

1. Emily de Molly - Ariel's Realm

As I'm sure you know, ultrachrome flakies are all the rage right now. I love that brands have started incorporating them into more complex polishes rather than just making clear toppers. This is a super sexy one with a blue jelly base...definitely makes me think "mermaid"! (Emily de Molly shop | swatch by More Nail Polish)

2. Hare Polish - When the Melting Clock Strikes Midnight

This is another flakie-based polish, this time in a white crelly. I love the way the white base softens the look of the flakies, but you still get bright flashes of color here and there! (Hare Polish shop | swatch by Shelby Lou Nails)

3. Femme Fatale - Stand in the Clouds

OK, this combo of bright aqua and gold just scratches some itch for me like no other color combo. Don't care if it's sheer. Gimme!! (There's actually another polish in this same collection that I love too, In His House He Waits Dreaming.) (Femme Fatale shop | swatch by Very Emily)

4. Reverie Nail Lacquer - Provence

I'm such a sucker for interesting glitter mixes. This one has a great selection of colors and sizes--I think it's the splashes of purple that really make it. No gimmicky glitter shapes, just pure sparkly goodness! (Reverie Nail Lacquer shop | swatch by The Mercurial Magpie)

5. F.U.N Lacquer - Blessing (H)

I know ultrachromes are soooo last year, but that gold holo glitter is just calling to me. I know I'm not alone! (F.U.N Lacquer shop | swatch by Simply Nailogical)

Honorable mention: Il Etait un Vernis - Drop Dead Gorgeous

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Swatch: KBShimmer Snow Much Fun

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

Hey guys! Right now we're slowly being buried under a mountain of snow thanks to Winter Storm Juno. All the public transportation in the Boston area is shut down, and my husband's work was canceled. It reminds me of when I was a kid and used to hope for a snow day every time snow was forecast. I would wake up early and watch the news to see if my school was on the list (this was before you could just check on the Internet). Of course, now that I work at home, it's not quite as exciting anymore! :-D

I thought a perfect way to "celebrate" the blizzard would be to try out one of my latest acquisitions, KBShimmer Snow Much Fun. This is a light blue (slightly aqua-leaning) jelly with lots of white and blue glitter, including snowflake glitter, plus silver holo microglitter.

KBShimmer Snow Much Fun. Three coats with Out the Door topcoat.

This polish is absolutely gorgeous, perfect for a snow queen! I had a couple minor issues with the formula. First, it was very sheer, even at three coats. Second, I definitely had to fish a little to get the snowflake glitters. But it applied very smoothly, like all KBShimmers I've tried!

I hope my fellow New Englanders are staying safe and warm today! Here are a couple shots I took of the snow:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: January Ipsy Glam Bag

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

Hey gang! I know I missed reviewing the past few Ipsy bags, but I managed to get this month's done! (In case you don't know, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service that costs $10 and is somewhat customizable. Feel free to use my referral link if you want to try it!)

This was a decent month; I'll definitely be using up two of the products, and probably trashing another two.

1. Eco-Beauty Good Day. Day Moisturizer

This is probably my favorite product in the bag! It feels light and non-greasy, but definitely provides moisture. It has a light natural cucumber scent and contains hyaluronic acid along with several plant extracts that are meant to have anti-aging properties. I also appreciate that they didn't send a teeny tiny sample size. Although the full size is pretty pricey ($40 for 50 g) so I'm not sure I'd shell out for it.

2. Hikari Mechanical Eyeliner in Storm

(Boy, I'm getting really tired of getting eyeliners in my Ipsy bags. Even if I used eyeliner regularly, I'd still have way too many by now!)

This is a metallic gunmetal eyeliner with a twist-up dispenser. The color looks like it could be nice, but I had a really hard time getting it to draw evenly on my skin. It was barely showing up unless I pressed very hard. Judging from the reviews, a lot of people had this problem, so it's not just me being dumb!

3. Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo

This was the other let-down of the bag for me. It's an all-over highlighter cream that's supposed to "provide a youthful glow and dewy finish". Now, my life goal is to make my face less shiny, so anything that makes me more "dewy" is a bad thing.

So the swatch above shows the stuff before it's blended in. It has a pink tint with little gold flecks that are impossible to photograph. As far as I can tell, the pink pretty much goes away once you blend it (although I'm already very pink, so it's hard to say for sure). I put it on under my makeup, and at first I definitely looked shiny (er, sorry, "dewy"). Once I got the rest of my makeup on, I couldn't tell that I was wearing a highlighter at all. Plus, it gave me that grimy feeling I associate with liquid makeup (I switched to powder makeup a long time ago for my oily skin). So, yep, into the garbage.

4. Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eyeshadow in Treasure

This is the second time I've gotten a Pacifica coconut eyeshadow in my Ipsy bag. Last time the shades were disappointingly faint, but I think they did a better job with this one. It's a bronzey gold metallic and it definitely showed up well on my lids. I also appreciate that Pacifica tries to avoid including some of the yuckier ingredients that can show up in other eyeshadows. I'll probably wear this again.

5. (MALIN+GOETZ) Mojito Lip Balm

I was surprised how much I like this lip balm. It's in liquid gel form and has a nice subtle, not-too-sweet fragrance. It goes on very thick and velvety, although I've found it can get sticky over time. It adds some shine too. I don't recognize most of the ingredients, so I couldn't say if it's actually doing something good for my lips, but it definitely feels nice. The one thing I don't like about liquid lip balms is that I feel like I use too much, and the full size is $12, so I won't be buying more.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Swatch: Picture Polish Unicorn

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

Hi gang! Just a quick swatch for you today! I recently got a bottle of Picture Polish Unicorn as a Secret Santa gift, and it is just as pretty as I was hoping! It has a minty blue base with small pink and silver glitters and purple shimmer. My pic doesn't really do it justice.

Picture Polish Unicorn. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

I have literally nothing bad to say about the formula. It was basically perfect, not too thick or too runny! I did have to use two coats of topcoat to smooth out the glitter. My nail line is just barely visible with two coats.

Enjoy your evening!

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Today's mani: Reciprocal gradient with A England

Happy Friday!! Today I tried out a reciprocal gradient inspired by some of the manis at Simply Nailogical. She does some amazing stuff with gradients!

Unfortunately the colors I used weren't different enough to make the pattern as visible as I wanted. But in real life my nails still look pretty cool and subtle. I will definitely have to do this one again!

The polishes I used were A England Ascalon, Sleeping Palace and Briarwood. In case it's not clear what I did, I started by doing a gradient of all three, let that dry, then put down Scotch tape in triangle shapes and did another gradient going in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask

The product in this post was sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Hi there! Hope your week is off to a good start! I just got back from the dentist to get a filling, ick!

Today I've got a review of a hair product for you! I know I complain about hair products a lot, since I have very fine hair and most products leave it feeling grimy and heavy. But I've been wanting to try a hair mask in the hopes that it will help tame my crazy flyaways.

InstaNatural kindly sent me a jar of their Argan Oil Hair Mask, and I'm on the whole pretty happy with it so far! This mask is packed with natural moisturizers, like argan oil, shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil, as well as other beneficial ingredients like green tea extract, amino acids and vitamin B5. The product claims to improve your hair's texture and shine, as well as protect it from heat.

The mask can be used in two ways: as a mask (duh), where you apply it all over damp hair, let it sit 5-15 minutes, and then rinse; or as a standard conditioner. I tried it both ways. It has a light creamy consistency and a pleasant, sweet fragrance.

Using the product as a mask, I didn't notice a huge visual change in my hair after one use, but it definitely felt a lot softer than usual! My hair didn't feel grimy at all, but it did look slightly weighed-down at the roots. This probably wouldn't be an issue for someone with thicker hair than me. As a conditioner, it didn't detangle as well as my usual conditioner. So I'll probably stick to the cheap stuff on a daily basis and use this mask once or twice a week for intensive moisturizing.

The jar is nice and big (8 fl. oz.), although you have to use a fairly large amount if you have long hair. I think it'll last me at least a couple months of weekly use.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try this mask, and I'll definitely keep using it, probably alongside a volumizer if I'm planning on leaving the house. I'm interested to see if there are any long-term benefits!

InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask is currently on sale at Amazon for $17.95 down from $49.95, so it is absolutely a good deal right now!

The product in this post was sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Swatch: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Spark in the Dark collection & Siren LE

The products in this post were sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Happy Friday! Today I'm excited to show off an upcoming collection from a new-to-me indie brand, Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer! I was so honored that Julie asked me to review for her!

The Spark in the Dark collection is perfect for winter because it's full of different shades of blue, which made me really happy! Of course, blues are the hardest shades to photograph, so I had to color-correct some of these, and the colors still might not be 100% accurate. So I would definitely look for multiple swatches before purchasing if that concerns you!

A note on the formula: the brand states that their polishes are "designed to be opaque in one to two coats, so they may need to be thinned to your desired consistency." I found that they were definitely on the thicker side but still perfectly workable, so long as I was careful to wipe a lot of excess polish off the brush. I didn't feel the need to add thinner to any of them, but that's just my preference!

OK, let's start with an LE polish called Hypothermia! This polish will ONLY be available if you purchase the entire collection. It's described as a purple holo with purple shimmers, although to me the base color is more like faded indigo.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Hypothermia. One coat with Out the Door topcoat.

The purple shimmers were hard to catch on camera, but they're definitely there in real life. The holo effect is nice and strong. This polish was a great one-coater!

Next is Bound to the City Life, a dark teal jelly with multicolored holo microglitter. It has great depth and sparkle!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Bound to the City Life. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Since this is a jelly, it was thicker than the others and took a little more finesse to apply evenly. I didn't find it unpleasantly goopy or sticky though. 

This is Counting Down Until I See You, which has a clear base packed with pink microglitter, as well as some larger pink glitter, gunmetal grey glitter, and silver reflective beads. Definitely the blingiest member of the collection!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Counting Down Until I See You. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat (left) and Revlon matte topcoat (right).

Since this one's very sparkly, I added matte topcoat to my ring and pinky nails so you can see the details a little better. (Plus I think it looks great matte!) The glitter applied very evenly, and two coats was sufficiently opaque for my taste. 

Next up is It's Almost After Midnight, a smoky dark grey with strong blue shimmer. This is definitely one of my favorites in the collection--it's so moody!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer It's Almost After Midnight. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

This polish was sheer on the first coat but built up well on the second. I couldn't stop staring at my nails. :-D 

Here's Never Danced Like This Before, a navy holo with teal shimmer. It's gorgeous, with a jeweltone-like quality to it.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Never Danced Like This Before. One coat with Out the Door topcoat.

This was another one-coater. I'm really impressed with how she manages to get such depth and opacity in a polish at the same time! The holo particles here are a little bigger and less dense than in Hypothermia.

Next is She's Electricity, a hot pink holo with pink and aqua shimmers and purple-blue iridescent microglitter. This one feels like a splash of summer in amongst all the blues!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer She's Electricity. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

The extra shimmers and glitter are visible, but they don't pop out quite as much as I was hoping. Maybe if I added some thinner? The holo effect here is the weakest of the three holos in the collection. 

Next up is The Years Have Been Short, which is a slightly white-tinted base with blue, white and iridescent microglitters, blue shimmer, and silver reflective beads. This polish just screams "snowstorm" to me!

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer The Years Have Been Short. Two coats with Out the Door topcoat.

Again, the glitter applied very evenly and I was happy with the opacity at two coats. I think this would also look nice layered! 

Finally, here's Wanna Fall in Love Tonight, a red-toned purple with golden red shimmer. This dries to a semi-matte finish, so I've left it au naturale on the two left fingers and added topcoat on the two right fingers. (Pardon my huge nail ridges!)

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Wanna Fall in Love Tonight. One coat with Out the Door topcoat (ring and pinky fingers).

Although my nail line is visible here, I couldn't really see it in normal lighting. I probably could've gone for two coats though. As you can see, the shimmer is very fine and adds a luminous quality to the polish. 

In addition to the Spark in the Dark collection, I also received a limited edition polish in the Siren Series, which will only be restocked once. Sirens Are Made For Water, Not Snow is a blue creme with a purple flash that dries semi-matte. As above, I added topcoat only to the ring and pinky nails.

Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Sirens Are Made For Water, Not Snow. One coat with Out the Door topcoat (ring and pinky fingers).

I was a bit disappointed to find that the purple shimmer is much weaker on the nail than in the bottle. (My camera couldn't pick it up at all because it was confused by all the blue.) This might be another case where adding thinner could help.

Overall, I think this is a really solid collection, especially with all those gorgeous blue polishes! My favorites would have to be It's Almost After Midnight, Never Danced Like This Before, and The Years Have Been Short. Which do you like best?

All these polishes will be released on January 12 at Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer's shop! You can get the entire eight-piece Spark in the Dark collection for just $67 (13 ml size) or $37 for minis.

Be sure to follow Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to stay up-to-date!  

The products in this post were sent to me for review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My favorite nail art of 2014!

Hi again! Whew, I've had a long day mixing up nail polish, and my hands are sore from shaking bottles! Can't wait to show you the new stuff... ;-D

So today, as promised, I have my five favorite manis from last year. As I was going through the blog, it was a little sad to see that I did so much less nail art in the past six months than at the beginning of 2014. I guess I haven't felt much inspiration lately. Maybe I should make a New Year's resolution to do more nail art this year!

Anyway, here are my top five (#1 is my absolute favorite):

1. Red Mountain

2. Ikat Chevrons

3. Grandma's Couch Floral

4. Cute Puppies

5. Triangles

Hope you like these as much as I do!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My five favorite swatches of 2014!

Hi guys and gals! As promised, I'm going to show you some of my favorite posts from last year. Today I narrowed it down to my top five swatched polishes, which was pretty hard, believe me! Are we surprised that they're all purple or teal??

In no particular order (each title is linked to my original post):

1. Glam Polish Leapfrog

2. KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie

3. Glitter Daze Poised

4. Zoya Neeka

5. Indigo Bananas We Are the Music Makers

Which of these is your favorite?

Tomorrow I'll be back with my favorite nail art from 2014!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

More pics from vacation

Happy New Year everyone!! 2014 sure went by quickly, didn't it?

We got back from our long trip yesterday after driving 5.5 hours through the big storm that was all over the eastern U.S. Now it's time to get back to life (and start eating better again!), but first I'll show you some more manis I wore over the holidays, and a couple other photos!

This was what I wore on Christmas: Happy Hands Metal Heart.

Then for my 10-year high school reunion, I wore Powder Perfect Maneater with an accent of Indigo Bananas Moonlight:

You can't see it in the sun, but Maneater actually has a lot of blue-green iridescent glitter, so I took another pic that shows it better:

Finally, I have a few photos from our visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. I used to go there for field trips all the time, but I hadn't been back in many years. As you might guess, the museum mainly focuses on the history of technology, especially cars, trains and planes, but they have a lot of other exhibits too, such as the chair Abraham Lincoln was shot in. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

Here's the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile:

Rosa Parks' bus:

FDR's presidential limo (they also have JFK's limo, which was actually used by other presidents after JFK was assassinated in it. Kinda morbid, don't you think?):

One of their special exhibits was a Lego display with some models of Detroit skyscrapers:

I'll be back soon with a roundup of some of my favorite manis from 2014!