Friday, July 29, 2011

REVIEW of Essie's Turquoise & Caicos and Geranium

Now, I don't have great swatches for this review. I would suggest checking out other blogs since there are plenty of swatches floating around. Though, essentially, both colors are pretty true to the color in the bottle which I've been loving about Essie lately.

Turquoise & Caicos was very watery. The first two coats applied streaky and slid into my cuticles. Somehow on the third coat, it went on smooth and opaque. On some nails I did have to go over bare areas with a fourth coat. But with all that...I really like the color and the finished product. The watery consistency makes clean-up more of a bother than usual but also gets the polish into the corners which is usually a problem for me.

Overall: Watery formula, gorgeous color (same as in the bottle). I'm willing to put up with the formula but this isn't a polish you need to run out and get if you have something similar.

I applied Geranium to my toenails but all the pictures make it look orange. It's also pretty much the same color as in the bottle and a bright red/red orange. If you want something with orange or coral, this won't be for you. If you want a bright, fun red that's bright enough to have some edge, try Geranium. This formula was also really watery but it was opaque by the first coat.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner REVIEW

I am still very much in the process of figuring out how to do my makeup. It's something that seems like it should be simple, especially being a bit artistic, but it isn't. It takes practice and a lot of trial and error. One of my struggles has been eyeliner, which can really add some polish to a look or put all your hard work to waste and leave you looking like a mess.

My first attempt was with a pencil liner...L'Oreal Paris Infallible Nevel Fail Eyeliner in Black. With a ridiculously long (and redundant) name like that, it had to work, right? No. Despite all of its numerous fans, this line was hard to apply, went on gray and smudgy even with multiple coats, and slowly fell apart as I wore it through the day. It's still in my makeup kit and I'll eventually have to use it up. I think it would cause the least trouble in a dark, smoky eye for a night out because of how imprecise it is and how well it smudges.

Now, to my review. I LOVE Maybelline's Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black. And none of the words in that sentence are redundant.

Lasting: It lasts me through the whole day without smudging or creasing. My days range from venturing out for a few hours to 9am-5pm and either way, my eyeliner stays perfect.

Drama: I've realized I'm not one for a thick line and this applies as thin or thick as you want (with a little help from my homemade makeup remover to get a perfectly smooth line). It goes on dark yet still subtle, and going over it once or twice you can amp up the drama for, well, blackest black.

Gel Eyeliner: I did not think I would like a gel eyeliner. Obviously, I was wrong. I've tried other pencil and liquid liners over the years applying my makeup for plays, weddings, etc. They've always just been so difficult to use, get perfect, and then remove at the end of the night once they've given me all that trouble. Maybelline's gel eyeliner goes on smooth like a liquid with the control of a pencil. LOVE. There's a very thin brush that is packaged with your eyeliner and although I know there are many makeup brushes out there specifically for eyeliner, I would save your money and use the one that comes with the pot of gel eyeliner. It's the perfect size and I haven't had any problems with it. I don't know how it'll hold up until I've used up my eyeliner but I wash it with each use and it seems to be keeping its texture and its bristles.

I am very happy with this product. It's going to become a permanent part of my makeup collection.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Write What You Know

There are times, as a writer, when you will suddenly have an epiphany about yourself. This will be odd and startling if you are anything like me and maintain a certain level of distance. Sure, I connect with my characters and invest a lot in writing quality material (off of message boards and aside from emails that is). But I'm not one of those people who will likely ever write an advice book, or a tell-all, or a memoir. First of all, my life is probably not going to be all that interesting unless you find the ramblings of detail-obsessed, verging on neurotic...but then again, you are reading my blog. Let's move on, shall we?

I have issues writing about myself. I took a required class in college where it wasn't about writing a straightforward argument-based essay, or fiction, or really anything with a structure I understood. It asked for you to write in a rambling, structured way about yourself. Me? I don't want you to really know me. Unless I want you to. I'm certainly not going to pour all my confessions out in a random essay to be read by a professor and group-critiqued. That's what diaries and journals are for. Which, by the by, I am terrible at keeping.

Anyway, I was in the bath, as I usually am when my epiphanies and brilliant story ideas happen upon me, and suddenly I realized...I am a control freak. Emphasis on control. Emphasis on freak. Of course, I've realized this through my writing, as every good character has a little part of you in their identity. That's what helps you understand them and connect to their story. But I don't think I ever realized how much of my strengths, problems, and the core of how I function has to do with my need for control.

I am leader. I will take charge in social situations or for group projects. I tend to get along with most people and am good at charming them and leading a conversation. The things I excel at tend to me microcosm situations that I can control. An essay. My own little relentless argument. A painting, a sketch, a design. The chance to fully control the development and creation of an image and imbue it with life. Speaking of such, my stories. My articles. My life.

With these strengths come the weaknesses of being unable to give up control. You freak out when you are confronted with something or someone that feels too unknown, too uncontrollable. If the power seems to be taken out of your hands and you don't immediately excel, it is too easy to reject the class or person or situation because it challenges you in a way that is actually frightening. If I don't try, then perhaps I'll fail, but I'll be in control of my failure and I won't have to confront the truth about whether I would fail if I truly put all my effort into the attempt. Objectively, I know I'm ridiculous. But it's hard to be objective when you're so focused on control, consciously or not, that you become this bundle of nervous energy and potential, so sensitive and shaky that you're utterly paralyzed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

REVIEW of Essie's Sweet Talker with Swatches

So I haven't had much luck applying a nail polish that I love to my fingernails recently (see last 2 reviews) so I've been really hesitant about applying a new color. Thus I've been wandering around with bare nails, which is fine during the winter but a little bit depressing during the summer when everyone is wandering around with such pretty manicures. Now, I've been staring at all the Essie polishes I've bought recently (Geranium, Turquoise & Caicos, and Lapis of Luxury) and none of them seemed quite right. What I'm really looking for at the moment is something light and pretty that will cheer me up if I glance at it but not be too much of a distraction. Just the other day, I wandered into a Duane Reade and I picked up the shade I currently have on my nails, Essie's Sweet Talker.

This is a really blurry picture but I wanted you to get some idea of the shimmer.

Color: Now, this started out as a last resort because I haven't been able to find Essie's Borrowed and Blue and I'm not sure if I want to order O.P.I's What's With the Cattitude, but I LOVE this polish. It's a gorgeous light blue with a hint of shimmer that I think actually suits my nails and skin tone. I don't know if it's the Asianness or just my personal taste but pastels don't really work for me. The hint of shimmer in Sweet Talker lets me get that light color with something to ease the paleness of the color. The shimmer is sort of a blue/blue-green and it is just so pretty. I can't get over it. It reminds me of the way sunlight will reflect off the surface of the ocean and sparkle.

I can't get very good close-ups with my camera, so I'm just going to show you some shots of my hand (the color is actually pretty true-to-life) and then some pictures of me holding the bottle so you can see how close the color on your nails matches the color in the bottle...pretty close...except the shimmer looks even prettier on your nails and it's maybe a touch lighter, though if you were to open up the bottle it would be the exact same color as the paint.
I found the application pretty easy. The formula is pretty watery. I was definitely missing my darker O.P.I shades like "I'm Not Really a Waitress" but after the first coat it applied smooth and opaque. I did have some issues but only because I was a bit of a spaz today and either stabbed my recently painted nail with the Q-tip I was using to clean up the edges or let one fingernail touch my skin while I was painting another. XD I think it only needs 2-3 coats. 2 coats to go on opaque. 3 coats to clean up any problem spots.

I am so happy to finally have found a color and polish I can recommend to you. If you can't find one of the popular light blues at your local drugstore and you don't want to order them, if you're OK with a pretty hint of shimmer, then run out and get Essie's Sweet Talker.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jewelry Collection

Hello, blog. I know I've been neglecting you lately...being elsewhere on the internets... :)

Since I'm not feeling particularly inspired today, I thought I'd just share part of my jewelry collection with you. This is the majority of my earrings and rings without any of the lone pairs (chemistry joke?) or broken pieces.

First up...brooches. The leftmost one is a tiny rose but I couldn't get it to stand up at the right angle. It was only $1 at AuH20 (i.e. one of the best vintage stores ever) though I haven't figured out how to wear it on anything but a blazer without the back scratching my skin. In the top left hand corner is a tiny gold cross (came in the mail with something) and in the black box is a gold torch (NYU symbol...cost...ridiculously high tuition and the stress of Organic Chemistry). Beside them in the blue box is my pin for my high school Concert Choir. Below that is a fake pearl/diamond pin I bought in the Thailand at a Naraya (where I also picked up a ton of handbags that I don't use because where am I going to bring silk handbags?). And finally there's the pin I just picked up at AuH20 for $3. It's hard to make out because my camera is terrible...and temperamental but it's a window with a cat sitting on the ledge staring up at a mouse in the top righthand corner. There are also roses in the top left and bottom right. Here's another close up.
I think it got worse.

OK...moving on to the rings.

I have them lined up from most to least expensive though I have no idea what they each cost. The one on the left is real. It's a dark dark blue sapphire flanked by two tiny diamonds that I got in Thailand as a graduation gift. Beside that is a gold ring I picked up in Hong Kong. It's hard to see but the stone is very reflective and is a mix of blues and greens. Next is a silver flower ring I was given as a gift and a gold/pearl ring I was also given as a gift.

Lastly, (before we get to close-ups) there is a interwoven puzzle ring I got for around $60 in Turkey, a gold/pearl ring I picked up in a market in the Philippines for maybe $10-$20 and a pink rock ring I got as a gift.

OK...time for earrings.
I had the long diamond strand made for around $100. I think it might be cubic...all I remember is it's semi-expensive. I have another made of real diamonds stored at the bank. Then there are some diamond studs I got as a gift but they are 100% fake. :) The gold brand with the black teardrop pair were bought on Broadway from a street vendor for $10.

In the top lefthand corner, the square diamond earrings were given to me as a gift. I don't wear them too often because they're kind of heavy. I think they came from Macy's. The hearts with the tiny diamonds were also a gift. I'd guess they cost around $5. The pink cameos are from a store on the Lower East Side that may or may not have closed. I got them for either $18 or $20, a little bit less than the price on the sticker. As long as you're not in a department store, never be afraid to bargain. The purple pearls topped with a gold bow came from the same market in the Philippines where I got the ring. They were also very cheap. The white pearl and gold flower earrings were bought at The Market NYC (you know, the thing in the gym of the church in Nolita?) for $20. They are one of my favorite pairs. They go with pretty much everything.

The red beads are a new addition from AuH20 again for $3. Have I mentioned how much I love that place? I've been looking for a good pair of tassels but these come close to replicating what I like about that style and the price was definitely right. Beside them, the turquoise orbs are from Wendy Mink, bought with a Groupon for $35. At the very beginning I wasn't sure whether I liked them and spent a long time agonizing over the decision in the store but now I adore them. They're another one of my go-to pairs for a pop of color and something fun and a bit quirky. That's definitely my advice with jewelry, particularly earrings. Try to get a lot of variety, things that can go with many different outfits, and things that are really special and unique, especially when you're shelling out more than usual.
We're not done yet? I know...I have a lot of earrings. The pearls at the top lefthand corner were bought at one of those tacky, sparkly stores in Chinatown for $8. I talked him down from $10.The Tree of Life earrings below that were bought at the Union Square holiday market for $25 from Cherry Rose designs. Again, I agonized, and now I adore. These 100% go with every outfit and they're so lightweight, I forget I'm even wearing them. Below that, I have my sun earrings with their little faces, which I just picked up in Spain for around 10 euros. To the right, are my chain my earrings from Forever 21. I can't wear them too often anymore because they weight a ton but I still love them. They have this really pretty filigree and make me think of Gothic architecture.

This curved pair to the left came from Turkey. I think I bought it for something ridiculous like $1-$3.