Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Nails: Mixed Metals French Tips

I am no expert at nail art, but thought I would try something a little more interesting than my standard gold or silver polish this year and came up with the combo below. I think the rose-bronze Nails Inc. Old Park Lane is a nice contrast to OPI's spectacular silver chrome polish, Push and Shove

I am pretty basic when it comes to polish--one color, two to three coats and done--so this was a bit out of my norm. I got a little help with the french tips from Kiss's Design Perfection manicure guides. After some practice, I found the key to a better result is to:

  • Wait until the first layer of polish is completely dry before applying the guides. 
  • Press the guides onto the nail securely, making sure there are no gaps where polish could leak and ruin the perfect edge. 
  • Wait until the tip color is totally dry before removing the guides (this was tough for me, as I was ready to rip them off after a minute or two).
  • Plan to have something entertaining to watch on TV during this process!

I have short nail beds, so I used the narrow brush pictured above to apply the silver polish on the edges of my nails in the areas where the large OPI brush cannot reach without making a mess. If you have longer nail beds or long nails you will not have that issue.

I think the end result is a fun and festive look for a party or special occasion. I also love the look of silver french tips paired with a sheer pale pink like Essie's Mademoiselle, or the peachy nude, Back in the Limo. I may try that combo next! 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting my blog and wish you all health, happiness, and prosperity in 2015. May the coming year bring good things to all.

Cheers to the New Year! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

MAC Lightscapade and Perfect Topping Mineralize Skin Finishes from the Lightness of Being Collection

Lightscapade 2014 Lightness of Being collection vs. Lightscapade 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday and are looking forward to celebrating the start of the new year!

Today I'll be sharing a few photos of the two items I chose from MAC's Winter 2014 collection, "Lightness of Being." I haven't seen the collection in stores yet, so may end up getting some other items, but so far have been underwhelmed by swatches I've seen of the eye shadows, and most reviews I have read mention that the blushes have a lot of glitter fallout, so I have held off on ordering anything else until I have a chance to try them in person.

I am quite happy with the two Mineralize Skin Finishes. I thought at first that due to the raised pattern, the powder might be a bit harder to work with, but it is actually soft and applies just as nicely as the classic MSF formula. Knowing that I already own a version of Lightscapade, I did feel a twinge of buyer's remorse after ordering this new one, which I did simply because of the allure of its interesting pattern and redesigned packaging. Though after swatching it I felt a bit better because, as you will see below, there is a slight but discernible difference between the two versions.

Left to right: Perfect Topping and Lightscapade Mineralize Skinfinish

Left to right: Perfect Topping, Lightscapade 2014, Lightscapade 2012

The swatches above were taken in sunlight which seems to have made the colors pull warm, but you can still get a sense of the differences in tone. The new Lightscapade is less white, with more pronounced pink tones and is slightly more shimmery in comparison to the subtle, candlelit glow of the 2012 iteration. However, once it is blended out the differences between the two are truly negligible. At this point I still prefer the older version because it is just a bit more natural-looking on the skin. I haven't had an opportunity to wear Perfect Topping yet, but in swatches it is the loveliest pale shimmery peach--I am looking forward to giving it a try soon!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shopping: Sephora VIB Rouge Sale

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing great--it's been a while! I'm a bit late with this post, but I always enjoy seeing what other people have picked up during Sephora's sales so thought I would share the items I chose during this year's VIB Rouge sale, which ran from November 6-10. 

Initially I had intended to get only Guerlain's Petrouchka holiday palette, as I always love Guerlain's holiday palettes and have collected them for the last three years. But my resolve quickly weakened and after much time spent browsing the Sephora website, I ended up ordering some other products that have been on my wishlist for a long time, such as Hourglass's Ambient Lighting Palette and Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. I've also wanted a Guerlain Meteorites brush for a year or so--even though it has had mixed reviews I felt like it would be a nice complement to the powder and it just matches the pretty Meteorites tin so well--I couldn't resist!  

Unlike in years past, this year I did all of my shopping online so that I could take advantage of my Ebates discount. I spent way more than I should have, but the allure of 20% off gets me every time! Ah well, I have promised myself that I will make up for it by being more frugal in the new year (spoken like a true makeup addict!). 

1. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
2. Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo - Nude No. 1 (plan to use this to lighten darker lip colors)
3. Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush
4. Hourglass Foundation/Blush Brush No. 2
5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

6. Guerlain Holiday 2014 Nail Lacquer - Coque D'Or (pretty shade of gold for the holidays) 
7. Guerlain Meteorites - Dore 04 (makes a lovely, natural-looking, sheer blush shade) 
8. Guerlain Holiday 2014 Petrouchka Eye & Cheek Palette  
9. Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder - Blondes 02
10. Guerlain Meteorites Brush 

11. Josie Maran Bear Naked Facial Wipes (basic wipe that doesn't make my face burn like some do)
12. Bare Minerals - The Magic Act Palette (great selection of neutral shadows and blush shades) 
13. Lancome Grandiose Wide-Angle Fan Effect Mascara (have wanted to try this for a while) 
14. Urban Decay - Urban Obsessions set (Sephora 500-point reward item) 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipstick "Julie" Casual Look of the Day

Hi everyone! I wanted to share a quick look from last week, in which I used NARS' new Audacious lipstick shade Julie ($32) for the first time. I had been on the hunt for this particular shade a few weeks ago, as it was for a long time out of stock at NARS' website and was also unavailable at my usual NARS source, Nordstrom. But I was eventually able to find it at Barney's. However, if you are interested in this shade, it is currently available at

Of all the shades in the Audacious range Julie is so far my favorite because as much as I would like to, I am unable to pull off cool-toned, mauve or vampy shades very well. (The only other shade I purchased is Raquel, which is cooler toned and slightly lighter.) Julie is a medium-light peachy-coral without any shimmer. It is too colorful to be considered a nude on my skintone, but still manages to be the type of shade that will complement rather than compete with a stronger eye look. 

NARS Audacious Lipstick - Julie

Other products used: 

MAC French Cuff, Carbon, Soft Brown, and Twinks, Lorac Front of the Line Pro liner and MAC Power Surge Eye Kohl

Illamasqua Velvet Blusher - Flirtatious

Left to right: MAC Carbon, French Cuff, Twinks, Soft BrownPower Surge Eye Kohl, Lorac Front of the Line Pro in Black, Illamasqua Flirtatious, and NARS Julie

I'm afraid you can't really see this subtle eye look very well in photographs, but I was really more intent on showing you how Julie looks in action. I hope this is helpful to anyone who may be considering this shade. I really love the new packaging, lasting power, creamy texture, and opacity of the NARS Audacious Lipstick formula and recommend that everyone give at least one shade a try! 

By the way, I am also loving Illamasqua's Flirtatious cream blush. The texture and performance reminds me a bit of Chanel's cream blushes. It blends out to a lovely, velvety finish and is long lasting. I sure miss having easy access to the Illamasqua brand, which was phased out of my local Sephora earlier this year. I had to order this shade to be delivered to the U.S. from across the pond! 

Thank you for visiting, and have a great week! xo

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Halloween Nail Polish Picks - 2014 Edition

Miss Kitty the Pumpkin Queen

It's time once again for my annual Halloween polish post. I've always been a fan of Halloween--it's such a fun holiday and the perfect excuse to get creative and try on a new persona for a night.

Below are thirteen nail colors--some old and some new, some high-end and some drugstore--that I thought would complement a number of Halloween costumes. My favorites are OPI's amazing silver chrome, Push and Shove (photos do not do it justice--it is literally like wearing liquid metal on the nails) and OPI's red glitter in a black base, Today I Accomplished Zero--ideal for any vampire or similar spooky character.

I also like Sally Hansen's Pumpkin Queen--a traditional Halloween orange with a nice formula at a very affordable price. And, of course, no Halloween polish post would be complete without a purple or two. I am in love with Nails Inc's new Nail Kale formula and wide, tapered brush. Their vibrant purple shade, Gloucester Walk, might just be my new favorite purple!

  1. NARS - Night Breed 
  2. Sally Hansen - Scaredy Matte 
  3. OPI - Today I Accomplished Zero 
  4. Milani - Silver Dazzle 
  5. OPI - Push and Shove 
  6. Deborah Lippmann - Let's Go Crazy 
  7. Zoya - Suri 
  8. Nails Inc - Gloucester Walk 
  9. Julep - Jane
  10. Sally Hansen - Pumpkin Queen 
  11. MAC - Mean & Green 
  12. SephoraX - Radioactive
  13. OPI - Green on the Runway

Top Row: NARS Night Breed, Sally Hansen Scaredy Matte, OPI Today I Accomplished Zero, Milani Silver Dazzle, OPI Push and Shove

Middle Row: Lippmann Let's Go Crazy, Zoya Suri, Nails Inc Gloucester Walk, Julep Jane

Bottom Row: Sally Hansen Pumpkin Queen, MAC Mean & Green, SephoraX Radioactive, OPI Green on the Runway 

I hope you are inspired to get creative with color this Halloween. Wishing you all a safe and fun holiday. Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

MAC Brooke Shields Collection: Gravitas Eyeshadow Palette and Nail Polishes in Dignity and Pricey

I haven't been following MAC's new releases as closely as I used to and sometimes only learn of new collections when I receive MAC's marketing email in my inbox but, sadly, by that time most of the in-demand items are long gone--as was the case with the Brooke Shields Gravitas 15-pan eye shadow palette. I didn't give it much more thought until Saturday morning as I was walking through Macy's and was drawn to the MAC counter to take a look at the collection. As luck would have it, the sales associate said there was one palette left. But, I asked myself, did I need another eye shadow palette--especially one that has a few shades that I already own? Well...the rational half of my brain said, "Not really." But the more dominant, fun-loving half of my brain said, "Heck yeah, you do--and why not throw in a couple of nail polishes while you're at it!"

MAC Brooke Shields Gravitas Eye Shadow x 15 Palette

Top Row: 

Pretty (Satin)
Soft Brown (Matte)
Expensive Pink (Veluxe Pearl)
Clove (Satin)
Satin Taupe (Frost)

Middle Row: 

Canter (Frost)
Luscious (Frost)
Antiqued (Veluxe Pearl)
Psyche (Frost)
Carbon (Matte)

Bottom Row: 

Shroom (Satin)
Persuade (Matte)
Plummed (Veluxe Pearl)
Lofty (Satin)
Pepper (Velvet)

Left to right: Pretty, Canter, Shroom, Soft Brown, Luscious, Persuade, Expensive Pink, Antiqued, Plummed, Clove, Psyche, Lofty, Satin Taupe, Carbon, Pepper

Left to right: Pretty, Canter, Shroom, Soft Brown, Luscious, Persuade, Expensive Pink, Antiqued, Plummed, Clove, Psyche, Lofty, Satin Taupe, Carbon, Pepper

I am really looking forward to using this palette on a daily basis. It has a nice ratio of neutrals and more colorful shades, along with mattes and shimmers. I do wish there would have been a different shade in place of Carbon, as I already own two of them. A matte black is always helpful and I can understand why they would include it, but Carbon is notoriously over-used in MAC palettes. Perhaps it is time for this shade to either retire or be reborn in a new formulation. What do you think? 

The Gravitas palette is a great value for anyone who doesn't already own the permanent shades included here, which are: ShroomSoft Brown, Expensive Pink, Antiqued, Satin Taupe, and Carbon. I'm sorry I don't have better swatches for you, but do visit Temptalia for a closer look at the individual shades and a more comprehensive review of the palette. It is currently sold out on MAC's website but may still be available at your local counter, although there seems to be a limited supply, unfortunately. If you're not able to get your hands on it, there are also two Veluxe Pearlfusion eye shadow palettes: "Mortal" and "Trusted Instinct" ($44), which are both currently still available on MAC's website and Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy's, and Dillards.    

There are two limited-edition nail polishes in this collection: Dignity--a pretty and ladylike salmon cream, and Pricey--a glossy, dark warm red, described by MAC as "burgundy." They contain 0.34 oz, which is the same amount of product in MAC's standard polishes, but these cost $5 more ($17 versus $12). The bottles are of the "ice cube" shape, similar to those used by Estee Lauder, and the gray-toned brush handles are adorned with Brooks Shields' signature in vibrant orange. The formula of Dignity is quite nice and opaque. These polishes are described by MAC as having a new high gloss formula with a "no streak/no chip finish." When applying Pricey I had some difficulty getting even coverage around the cuticles due to the somewhat narrow brush--but that may have been my own fault--I am not an expert at applying such dark shades. Pricey, although not a unique color, is really gorgeous. I can never get enough of this type of deep red.  

Dignity Nail Lacquer

Pricey Nail Lacquer

Have a lovely week! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New RMS Lip2Cheek in the shade "Curious"

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying what is left of your Sunday. I really can't believe the weekend has gone by so quickly. I think I need another day off! How about you? 

Today I'm sharing swatches of a new shade that RMS has added to their Lip2Cheek range: a warm, sunny orange with subtle golden shimmer called Curious ($36). This is a unique shade in my collection, as most of my lip products are peach or peachy-pink, but there are no peach or pink tones to be found in Curious--it is straight-up orange. Despite its somewhat intimidating appearance in the container, I am happy to report that it is quite wearable. The touch of shimmer makes it more flattering on the lips, though it is not all that noticeable on the cheeks.

I've tried applying it with my fingers, which is OK in a pinch, but was much happier with the results when using brushes. I was able to get better coverage and color intensity when layering it on with a lip brush, and the product appeared more even and natural looking on the cheeks when I blended it out with a duo-fiber stippling brush.

The listed ingredients are: 

*Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract,  +/- Red 30 CI 73360, Red 6 Lake CI 15850 and may contain: [+/-Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxide CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019]
*certified organic

I am enjoying the ease of using the same product on both lips and cheeks. It takes all the guesswork out of cheek and lip shade coordination. It may be a bit "safe," but I don't think you can go wrong with this sort of monochrome look. Then you can have more fun and get creative with the eyes! (Although I did not even wear any eye shadow here, as I was short on time before work when I took these photos.) 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great week! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New RMS Beauty Eye Polish in the shade "Imagine"

RMS Beauty recently introduced two new Eye Polish shades in their Wearable Brights collection: Inspire--a lovely, metallic icy blue, and the beautiful shimmering plum shade shown above, Imagine. (Also new in the collection are Lip2Cheek in Curious and Lip Shine in Royal.) I knew I had to have Imagine, as I am a huge fan of plums and burgundies and this is a perfect shade for the fall season.

Many of you probably already familiar with RMS's cream shadows (renamed "Eye Polishes," which I think is a good description of how these perform). For those of you who haven't tried them: they are creamy and well-pigmented, but become more sheer upon application and provide a slightly glossy finish. They contain natural mineral pigments and ingredients that are said to be moisturizing, making them particularly suitable for dry or aging eyes. I can vouch for this because I have very dry skin and I found that these are more comfortable for all-day wear than cream shadows such as Maybelline's Color Tattoos or MAC's Paint Pots. As I mentioned in a review of the two other shades I own, Solar and Karma, they do have a tendency to crease, as they do not dry down and set--so if you have oily lids I would recommend these only for short-term wear or perhaps in conjunction with powder shadow. 

RMS Eye Polishes contain 0.15oz for $28. The listed ingredients are: *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopherol (non-GMO), *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019] *Certified Organic

I'm sorry that the images below aren't the best to demonstrate the color, but I do hope they are helpful to give you an idea of how Imagine looks in action. I really love this as a lid shade because it adds an interesting pop of color and shimmer, while not being overly bright. I am looking forward to using it alone and in other color combinations! 

I applied Imagine all over the lid and defined the crease with Bobbi Brown Oat (matte tan) powder shadow and added Bobbi Brown Navajo (matte ivory) along the brow bone. I used a small amount of RMS Solar to highlight the inner corners, and lined the upper lash line with LORAC Front of the Line Pro and set it with Bobbi Brown Caviar (matte black). I lined the bottom lash line with Urban Decay's 24/7 pencil in the shade Scorch. On cheeks I used Bobbi Brown Antigua and on lips I used Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Isla (one of my favorite peachy-pinks). 

Thank you for visiting! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

RMS Beauty: Organic Face of the Day

Hi everyone! Today I have to share with you a simple face of the day using all organic products from RMS Beauty. I've tried a couple of their products in the past (the Raw Coconut Cream and Lip and Skin Balm) and have been intrigued for years by their cream shadows and lip/cheek stains. B-Glowing currently has a 20 percent discount (use code 20SS13) and I decided it was the right time to purchase of few of the items that have long been on my wishlist. I'll be showing you everything pictured above except for the plum shade on the bottom left, which is a brand new Eye Polish shade called "Imagine"--this one will get its own post in the near future! 

Solar Eye Polish ($28, 0.15 oz) is a metallic golden bronze. This is a lovely shade, but has a tendency to become sheer if overly blended. To retain the beautiful color and glossy, metallic quality I recommend patting it onto the lid full strength and then adding only a very small amount of product to blend upward into the crease. If you have oily lids, you may want to forego using this in the crease area entirely and instead use your favorite powder shadow to avoid smudging and creasing throughout the day. 

Karma  ($28, 0.15 oz) is described as an earthy brown. Although I can make out the brown tones in my swatches, when applied on the skin it looks more like an off-black than a brown. I would say it resembles the color of espresso grounds. This shade is great for a simple smoky eye, or it can be used as a base for powder shadows, or even as a liner. It worked OK for me as a liner, but I usually prefer something smudge-proof and opaque (though I am thankful to have this as an organic option for lining). 

A word of warning when using this shade: watch out for smudges! I have very dry skin and I wore it to work for nine hours and noticed that it transferred a bit to the corners of my lower lash line during the day. As it does not dry down and "set" completely, it's important to remember not to rub or touch your eyes when wearing this product. With that said, I still really like the shade and plan to use it again in the future as a shadow and as a base, but perhaps not as often as a liner. 

Smile Lip2Cheek ($36, 0.15 oz) is a lovely coral-pink shade that can be used as a blush or lip stain. I had been considering ordering this product for a couple of years, but was unsure if it would be too bright for me. Upon using it I was pleasantly surprised--it makes a beautiful blush shade that really brightens the face and lasts throughout the day. 

As a lip stain, I found that to get the intensity I wanted, I had to pat on a few layers to build up the color. I added a neutral liner for more definition but those who aren't fans of lip liner could also use a lip brush to achieve a more precise edge, or for an effortless and casual look you can just apply it with your fingers. It can feel a bit dry on the lips, so I recommend using the RMS Lip and Skin Balm or your favorite lip balm underneath. This is a perfect, space-saving product to bring along when traveling because it looks great as both blush and lip color. 

"Un" Cover-Up ($36, 0.20 oz) in #11 is a pale warm ivory. This shade works well for illuminating the under eye area. It does a fair job of concealing under-eye circles, but on my skin tone I feel it is a touch too light and does not look entirely natural. It is not fully opaque, but provides more coverage than products with thinner consistencies, such as YSL Touche Eclat. For the purpose of concealing I would recommend #11 only for those with very fair skins. It could be used to highlight the under-eye area by those with medium or tan skin tones. 

When applying I found that it blended more easily when I patted it with my fingers for a few seconds to warm up and "melt" the product a bit. I have read many rave reviews about this product and have heard that some people even use this as their foundation. I have only used it twice so far, but my first impression is that it is adequate, but not superior to any of the concealers I have tried from mainstream brands. I do like the ingredients and it is non-irritating and I think this is a great option for concealing if you prefer to go the organic route. (I plan to order the next darker tone, #22, to see if it will do a better job at tackling my under-eye circles and will save #11 to use as an inner-corner brightener.) 

From left to right: "Un" Cover-Up #11, Lip2Cheek Smile, Eye Polishes: Solar and Karma

Below I am wearing Solar on the inner half of my lids with Karma on the outer corners, and my under-eye concealer is "Un" Cover-Up" in shade #11. I used Lip2Cheek in Smile on both cheeks and lips. As you can see, it's not nearly as bright as it appears to be in the container. I also used a small amount of Urban Decay's 24/7 lip liner Naked2 to define the edges of my lips.

As much as I would like it to be, I'm not sure if my beauty stash will ever be 100% organic--only because I have many lovely products from mainstream brands that I can't bear to part with just yet--but I definitely look forward to trying more items from RMS as well as other organic brands. There are some really great options on the market these days. Now I am on the hunt for a good organic foundation and mascara. Let me know if you have any recommendations or favorites!