Tuesday, December 22, 2015

OPI Hello Kitty Collection Swatches

Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel, Super Cute in Pink, Charmmy & Sugar, Small+Cute=

OPI will be launching a Hello Kitty collection on January 6th. The entire collection consists of twelve colors, plus one special edition shade, Say Hello Kitty. I had not heard about this collection prior to happily stumbling across it at a local beauty supply store a couple of days ago, when I picked up the four shades pictured above. I try not to go crazy for OPI's large nail collections these days but, in this case, the next day I went back and got the remaining shades that I was interested in. I have a weakness for pinks and girly shades, so this collection is just my cup of tea!

The four shades that I did not purchase and are not shown below are My Pal Joey (vibrant blue creme); My Twin Mimmy (bright yellow creme), Never Have Too Mani Friends (black creme), and the special edition shade, Say Hello Kitty (hot pink shimmer).

From left to right:
Kitty White, Let's Be Friends!, Small+Cute=
Charmmy & Sugar, Look at My Bow!, Super Cute in Pink 
Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel, Spoken from the Heart, 5 Apples Tall 

Kitty White, Let's Be Friends!, Small+Cute=, Charmmy & Sugar 

Kitty White is a semi-sheer icy pearl shade with crystalline shimmer--perfect for the holiday season!
Let's Be Friends! is a pale whitened-pink creme that requires careful application to avoid streaking.
Small+Cute= is a warm light pink creme, with a slightly sheer and streaky formula. I ♥ the name.

Small+Cute=, Charmmy & Sugar, Look at My Bow!, Super Cute in Pink, Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel 

Charmmy & Sugar is a beautiful icy lilac-pink with iridescent micro-shimmer and iridescent glitter.
Look at My Bow! is a cool bubble-gum pink creme.
Super Cute in Pink is a purplish-magenta with a crelly formula.

Super Cute in Pink, Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel, Spoken from the Heart, 5 Apples Tall 

Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel is a fuchsia with multi-toned micro-shimmer--opaque in two coats!
Spoken from the Heart is a vibrant coral-strawberry pink creme with a great, glossy formula. 
5 Apples Tall is a bold poppy red creme, also with an outstanding formula. 


Spoken from the Heart, Let's Be Friends!, Look at My Bow!, 5 Apples Tall

Do you see any must-haves? My favorites are Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel, because I have nothing quite like it, Charmmy & Sugar, so fun and sparkly, and Spoken from the Heart, which will be just perfect when spring comes around!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies


I received this jar of Harrod's awesome-tasting lemon curd recently and decided to put it to use in some cookies. I'm not known to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so baking up a batch of cookies is actually an Instagram-worthy event for me! 

My mom is the big cook in our family. She has a few go-to recipes she uses year after year, including molasses crescent cookies rolled in powdered sugar, coconut date-nut balls, jam bars, classic spritz cookies, and of course the crowd-pleaser, chocolate-chip. I and my coworkers always look forward to her cookies at this time of year. Even though I am trying to be healthier and cut down on sugar and carbs, I have to try at least one of each!

The dough for these thumbprint cookies is fairly straightforward and simple to put together. The finished result is melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness with a bit of tartness from the lemon zest. This same recipe would also be great with preserves or even chocolate kisses in place of the lemon curd. 

I used the following recipe, which I found on redbookmag.com

Yields: 45 cookies

Ingredients 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon curd, store bought

Directions
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. 
  • Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until well blended. 
  • Beat in yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. 
  • With mixer on low, beat in flour just until moist clumps form. Gather dough together in bowl to bind.
  • Shape scant tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. 
  • Using a floured finger, make a deep indentation in center of each ball. 
  • Bake cookies until firm and lightly golden on bottom, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from oven and immediately fill indentations with curd. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes longer to set curd.
  • Bake remaining cookies. Lightly dust edges with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Do you have any favorite dessert or cookie recipes that you traditionally use during the holidays? 



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eye Shadow Palette


When I first heard that Gwen Stefani was collaborating with Urban Decay on a palette I knew it would be something I would want to add to my collection, regardless of the shades included! But after receiving it I was so pleased that the colors in this palette turned out to be shades that I will be happy to use on a daily basis.

There is a majority of pale shades, which could be disappointing to some, but overall this is quite a versatile palette. It has many lovely neutrals as well as a few colorful shades, and has a nice balance of mattes and shimmers. Included are highlight, transition, and defining shades so that a complete, cohesive look can be achieved by using this one palette alone. 


Gwen Stefani is said to have participated closely in the design process to ensure that the finished product would reflect her personal style. The packaging is made of sturdy plastic and includes a generously-sized mirror. It is perhaps not lightweight enough to be ideal for travel, but is nevertheless a fun, unique and eye-catching piece with elements of modern art.  



Row 1: Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Punk
  • Blonde (pale beige w/pink iridescent shift)
  • Bathwater (pale beige w/gold pearl)
  • Skimp (pale nude satin)
  • Steady (medium rose w/metallic gold shift)
  • Punk (reddish brown matte)
Row 2: Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, Serious
  • Baby (cool metallic rose)
  • Anaheim (light taupe-brown matte)
  • Stark (nude-pink matte)
  • Zone (medium brown matte)
  • Serious (smoky gray w/iridescent floating pearl)
Row 3: Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987, Blackout
  • Pop (pale coral w/iridescent sparkle)
  • Harajuku (metallic blue-pink w/iridescent micro-shimmer)
  • Danger (deep metallic royal blue w/blue micro-sparkle)
  • 1987 (bright metallic yellow-gold) 
  • Blackout (blackest black matte)


I can't wait to start putting this palette to use! I would recommend it to anyone, though the general consensus seems to be that it will appeal more to those with pale or light skin tones. I do think that it could work well for anyone really, especially if you already own many dark or vibrant shades and could use a few more highlight shades to supplement your existing collection. 

As of this writing it is out of stock at Urban Decay, but it will be available at Sephora, both online and in stores, beginning on December 1st. 

Glitter reindeer from Target and candles from Bath & Body Works 


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Look of the Day: Gold, Peach and Plum



After a hectic week at the office, I'm so glad the weekend is finally here. How about you? Although chances are that by the time you're reading this it may already be over! For today's post I thought I would share a simple look I wore while making a Saturday morning visit to the mall and taking care of errands. 

I decided to "shop my stash" and make use of some items I haven't touched in a long while. The Bare Minerals eye shadow palette shown here was a limited edition and seems to be no longer available except on eBay, but at the end of the post I'll show some easier to find shades from MAC that can be used to achieve a similar result.  


Eyes 

Bare Minerals palette - The Next Big Thing
Stila Smudge Pot - Black
MAC Eye Kohl - Powersurge 
MAC False Lashes Mascara 

Lips

MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil - Revved Up
Boots No. 7 Line & Define Lip Pencil - 20 Nude

Face

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi-Use - 217 Charm 
Estee Lauder Double Wear Powder Makeup - 2N1 Desert Beige
RMS Beauty - "Un" Cover-Up - 11



For the eyes I used all of the shades in The Next Big Thing palette, beginning with the pale gold (Rising Star) on the inner half of the lid and then added the warm bronze (Hoopla) on the outer half of the lid. I used the satin peach (Smash Hit) in the crease and the dark plum (Ensemble) on the outer corner. I lined the top lash line with Stila's Smudge Pot in the shade Black and on the bottom lash line I used MAC's Powersurge Eye Kohl, a lovely antique bronze shade.



Above, left, are four MAC shades that can be used for a similar effect. All of these shades are currently available for purchase on MAC's website. From left to right: Sketch (Velvet), Free to Be (Matte), Amber Lights (Frost), and Gorgeous Gold (Veluxe Pearl) 

On the right are the four shades in Bare Minerals' The Next Big Thing palette, from left to right: 
Ensemble, Smash Hit, Hoopla, and Rising Star

I ended up preferring MAC's matte shade Free to Be over the warm peach shade included in the palette, but liked the other shades equally as well. The dark plum shade in the palette is more richly pigmented than MAC's Sketch, but Sketch can be built up to a comparable intensity.

The quality of the Bare Minerals Ready shadows is great--especially the shimmery shades, which are so smooth and pigmented. They also offer some pretty duos with neutral shades that are worth a look if you've never tried them before. 



Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week! 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Guerlain Holiday Météorites 2015: Flocons Enchantés



The single holiday collection I look forward to most each year is Guerlain's. Their packaging is consistently lovely and their holiday palettes rarely disappoint, and they usually contain just the sort of colors I enjoy using. 

This year's collection, released back in mid-October, is entitled Neiges et Merveilles and has a winter fairy tale theme. The limited-edition Météorites, Flocons Enchantés (also referred to as Perles de Neiges) are a bit different than those we've seen lately. Rather than being enclosed in the traditional metal tin, these are contained in a pearly sphere made of plastic, reminiscent of a snow globe. An intricate golden snowflake design along with the iconic Guerlain logo can be seen through the transparent top.

As a makeup lover from a very young age, I had been curious about Météorites for as long as I can remember, but it would be many years before I actually purchased any. I had always thought of them as the sort of product that is a luxurious indulgence rather than a practical "necessity." But after acquiring a small number of them in recent years I can say that few items in my collection are as beautiful to look at, or as fun to use! 

Even the interior of the box is beautifully designed.

There is a handy mirror provided inside the top half of the container and a cute white powder puff with a golden bow. I prefer to use a brush rather than the puff that Guerlain includes, but it is convenient for a quick dusting of powder and it also helps to keep the pearls from moving around freely in the container and becoming damaged.  

I think what has excited everyone most about these, aside from the unique packaging, is that this year we have not only the usual pretty shimmering pearls, but we get stars too! (Well, actually they're meant to be snowflakes but I'm going to call them stars.) How can a Guerlain fan resist?
  
According to Guerlain the shades included are beige, to even out the skin tone; champagne for illumination; and golden, for a sun-kissed effect. Below is a closeup taken in sunlight to better capture the shimmery glow. Aren't they gorgeous?


To apply Météorites I swirl a powder brush around in the pearls making a point to get the bristles as far as possible toward the bottom of the jar to catch some of the loose powder residue. I use Guerlain's Météorites brush, which is made of goat hair. It has received mixed reviews and is not as soft to the touch as some of my other powder brushes, but its firm bristles do a better job of picking up the powder than a softer, fluffier brush would. I have read that the Hakuhodo J104 brush is a nice option to use with Météorites

Flocons Enchantés provides a refined pearly sheen to the skin that seems to slightly diffuse imperfections. When you look closely you can make out the shimmer but it is not overly apparent. If you are after a dramatic highlighting effect you'll probably want to look elsewhere, as this product functions primarily as a finishing powder and the results are quite subtle, at least on my light (MAC NC20) skin tone. 


Below is a look at my entire Météorites collection. It all started with the limited-edition Perles du Dragon (2012) followed by Perles d'Etoiles (2014). Then during last year's Sephora VIB sale I splurged on the Météorites brush as well as  #4 Dore, the darkest shade offered in the permanent range, which I use as a blush. 

Flocons Enchantés

  


Flocons Enchantés looks a bit out of place next to the others above, but wouldn't it look magical all on its own as a centerpiece on one of those fancy mirrored vanities? (Unfortunately, I don't have a fancy mirrored vanity!)

Clockwise: Perles d'Etoile, Doré, Flocons Enchantés, and Perles du Dragon 
Left to right: Doré (#4), Perles d'Etoile, Perles du Dragon, and Flocons Enchantés
Left to right: Doré (#4), Perles d'Etoile, Perles du Dragon, and Flocons Enchantés

Above, you can see the differences in tone and it is apparent just how light Flocons Enchantés is in comparison to the other Météorites in my collection. Despite being so pale, I think its sheerness will allow it to be suitable across a wide range of skin tones.

Flocons Enchantés is a lovely addition to my small but growing Météorites collection--but is it a must-have? Probably not. However, if you are in the market for an elegant, violet-scented finishing powder, then this could be a nice (albeit pricey) gift to yourself this holiday! As of this writing it is mostly sold out online, but you may still be able to find one at your local counter.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Polish Picks - 2015 Edition


Halloween is almost here, which means it's also time for my annual Halloween polish picks! This year I decided to forego the traditional bright orange shades and went with a celestial night theme, as you may have guessed by the photo above. I hope you enjoy the swatches below and let me which are your favorites or if you've tried any of these before! I've included a mix of new and old shades--a few were limited editions that may be hard to find, while others are new shades from this year's holiday collections.



  1. Sweet Star: silver with multi-tonal shimmer (Chanel, 2014) 
  2. Twilight: dusty plum with purple shimmer (Laura Mercier, 2012)
  3. Nuit Enchante: sheer merlot with burgundy-red shimmer (Lancome, Holiday 2015) 
  4. Extravagant Night: deep purple with gold and violet micro-glitter (Estee Lauder, 2010)
  5. Endless Night: glossy blackened grape (Nars, 2011)
  6. Midnight Rose: dark orchid purple cream (Lancome, 2012)
  7. Midnight: shimmery amethyst purple (Dolce & Gabbana, 2009)
  8. Nuit Merveilleuse: shimmery bright violet (Guerlain, Holiday 2015) 
  9. Lunar Eclipse: sheer vibrant blue glass fleck with magenta shimmer (Orly, 2010)
  10. Into the Night: very sheer iridescent tanzanite blue (OPI, 2012)
  11. Under the Stars: rich navy with blue micro-glitter (Rescue Beauty Lounge, 2008)
  12. Night Porter: shimmery forest green (Nars, 2011)
  13. Center of the You-niverse: black with silver shimmer and black glitter (OPI, Holiday 2015)
Sweet Star, Twilight, Nuit Enchante, Extravagant Night

Extravagant Night, Endless Night, Midnight Rose, Midnight

Midnight, Nuit Merveilleuse, Lunar Eclipse, Into the Night 


Into the Night, Under the Stars, Night Porter, Center of the You-niverse


Thank you for visiting and I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chanel Rose Fusion Le Vernis Nail Colour for Holiday 2015

 

Rose Fusion ($27, limited edition) is one of three nail colors included in Chanel's new Vamp Attitude collection for Holiday 2015. The other two are the previously released blackened red shade, Vamp, and a new topcoat, Lamé Rouge Noir, which has fine golden flakes in a sheer reddened base.

Rose Fusion is a difficult color to describe. The best I can come up with is that it is a metallic smoky taupe. But actually it is more complex than that. It contains fine pale green iridescent shimmers that give it a lot of sparkle in sunlight. It even seems to have a very weak lavender duo-chrome quality that I can sometimes make out when I tilt my fingers downward, but it is not easily discernible.
  
Rose Fusion - indoor natural light

I am wearing it here over Deborah Lippmann's All About That Base with Poshe as topcoat. The purple tone shows up quite a bit in these photographs but in person it mostly comes across as a metallic grayish taupe. This polish provides opaque coverage in only one coat, but I used two coats just to make sure there were no uneven spots. As with many metallic formulas, there can be a tendency for visible brush strokes but I didn't encounter any major issues with streaking. A little extra care when applying and a good base coat always help. As of this writing I've been wearing it for two days and have not had any chips.

Rose Fusion - full sunlight
The formula and consistency of Rose Fusion is similar to the 2014 limited-edition shade, Sweet Star. As you can see in the comparison below, they are both opaque metallic shades with sparkly multi-toned shimmers. I would classify Rose Fusion as neutral, but it appears warmer when placed next to the cool-toned silver, Sweet Star.

Comparison swatches - full sunlight 


Comparison swatches - indoor natural light 



My behind the scenes helper, Corsa!
Rose Fusion is a unique shade that fits in beautifully with the other items in the Vamp Attitude collection. It would make a lovely addition to any Chanel enthusiast's collection; however, if you are generally not a fan of metallic or frosty shades you might want to skip this one. I would recommend it as a nice option for those who are looking for something that is festive and eye-catching, yet different than the standard holiday reds and golds that are released at this time of year. Since it is a limited edition shade, if you have your eye on this one I would get it soon before it disappears!