Tuesday, August 30, 2011

O.P.I. Mimosas For Mr. and Mrs. REVIEW and swatches

Yay! My camera is working again! To celebrate and because I am a crazy person who cannot help stopping by the nearest drugstores (I know where they all are now...it is becoming a problem) I have decided to celebrate with a new review. After the horrendous experience of picking glitter off my nails when the cotton ball/aluminum foil trick wasn't enough to remove Deborah Lippmann's "Across the Universe" (next time I will try using Essie midnight cami as a base and then just doing a coat or two of glitter) I decided to put off trying some of my darker fall shades and instead go for a nice nude.

Now, I don't like pink. At all. And I don't like nude/beige/muted shades in general as they tend to wash me out. My skin isn't really cool or warm but takes its cue from my makeup/nail polish/clothing shades.

Because I don't have much experience with nudes I don't know how much help I'll be but here are my thoughts regardless... I really like this polish. My opinion changes depending on the lighting but in sunlight and white fluorescent light it looks very refined and sophisticated. It's a pale peach but it has a certain degree of warmth to it and it brings out the dusky, cool tones in my skin. It makes my hands look darker/more tan in dim or yellow lighting so you kind of get two different looks from this polish.

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Time for swatches!

How gorgeous is this? And while this looks very spring-appropriate and girly, nudes work all year round because they are so close to your skintone. It's like doing natural eye makeup.

Eh...not loving as much.

Application. I do not have a lot of luck picking O.P.I. shades except for I'm Not Really a Waitress. Otherwise, all the others have been sheer and watery. This one was similar but definitely much better. At 3 coats, everything was pretty even and slightly sheer. I had to do some cleanup in the corners but it didn't just bleed into my cuticles. I recommend doing light coats and just building color as frustrating as that might be. I ended up doing 4 coats because I wanted to see if I could get it opaque and because the 3 coats on my thumb weren't even (my fault). I wouldn't run out to get this but it's a nice nude light pink nevertheless. If many of your drugstores are like mine and mostly carry pinks and reds and you like my swatches, go ahead and pick this up. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wendy Mink Sample Sale

In case you don't comb sample sale blogs on a regular basis like I do, you may have missed word of the Wendy Mink Sample Sale that is happening right now. The sale was originally supposed to run Fri-Sun but because of Hurricane Irene, the store is going to be closed Sat-Sun and the sale will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.



I happen to be pretty close so I stopped by to check it out before all hell breaks loose. Really, news networks, I get it. Reporting on the scary, scary water won't protect anyone from it. Anyway, I got my first Wendy Mink piece just a month ago, cute little turquoise balls that go with just about any outfit. There's a picture in one of my earlier blog posts.


Anyway, I cleaned up at this sale. For a little over $200 I got 9 items. 3 pairs of earrings ($20 each) and 1 necklace ($30) for me, and 5 gifts I helped my mom pick out as early Christmas shopping. One of the things I love most about Wendy Mink is that you can find something light and pretty without settling for miniscule little stud earrings. I happen to have very long holes in my ears from a low piercing and a past of wearing heavy earrings so I have to be very careful about not wearing something too heavy because my earlobes can actually be sliced in half by the weight of an earring.

Update...and Repairing Dry Lips

I feel like I should check in with an update since I haven't written anything in a while. It's difficult to post anything without being able to take pictures of swatches (as terrible as mine have been). I should stop spending money on makeup so I can afford a camera. Anyway...I've been fine other than the ridiculous insanity that has become the scheduling for my upcoming fall semester of classes. I may just drop a class and take 3 classes if the issues don't resolve themselves. We shall see.

Until I get a new camera my posts shall be photo-less. Since there are plenty of swatches out there, I will tell you that I finally shelled out the money for Deborah Lippmann's "Across the Universe" and I love it. Sort of. The formula on the polish is thin but good. The glitter actually applies pretty decently. The problem is how they apply when combined. You need a good 3-5 coats to get the polish color dark and even. But this means applying more and more glitter which starts to stick together and stack in awkward layers. I recently picked up a bottle of dark blue Essie polish so when the weather gets much colder (I don't like my nails to be too dark during late summer/early fall...I just wanted to test out this new polish) I will try to use that as a base and then only apply one or two coats of Across the Universe and get back to you on how that looks.

So you're probably thinking, "why is she nattering on and on about her life...I came here for a post on repairing dry lips?" Right. Sorry about that. Here it is.

1) You will need Vaseline 2) You will need your favorite moisturizing lip gloss

I have pretty healthy lips but as with the rest of my skin...they are very dry. Summer is bad because all the enclosed spaces, air-conditioning, and sun exposure mean dryness and peeling. Winter is bad because all the enclosed spaces, indoor-heating, and freezing cold winds mean dryness and peeling. I also have the bad habit of licking my lips or worrying them a little with my teeth when I'm nervous. I would like to stress that my lips don't really crack or chap very badly so I'm not sure if my methods work for very damaged lips but if you have dry lips where the top layer of skin peels a bit, keep reading.

Get a small container of Vaseline. I get the 1.75 oz (49g) container. Dip your finger or a q-tip or a lip brush in the Vaseline and apply to lips. Be careful not to get it inside your mouth. Really focus on the where your lips are driest but don't just throw on globs of Vaseline in the hopes that your lips will heal more quickly. You ideally want to smooth on thin layers until you have a nice protective shield (it should be a little thicker than the application of a thick lip gloss). Spread the Vaseline out a little past the outer boundary of your lips (less than a quarter of a centimeter...just enough to make sure your lips are entirely covered). Leave it on as long as desired but remove before eating or drinking. I may leave the layer of Vaseline on my lips for anywhere from an hour to all night while I'm sleeping. Wipe off with a tissue in the morning and marvel at how soft your lips are. This alone will not fix your lips.

Next, apply your favorite moisturizing lip gloss. Note that I did not say lipstick or lip stain or lip balm. Anything waxy, light, or drying is not going to help. You want something thick and moisturizing like petroleum jelly (Vaseline) which will continue to moisturize and protect your lips throughout the day. I like Dior Addict.

Alternate between Vaseline (when you aren't going anywhere or are about to go to bed) and lip gloss during the rest of the day and in a few days your lips should be completely healed.

Note: Vaseline can be used as a lip gloss but I avoid it even though it looks nice because of the danger of ingesting it. It does not taste good and ingesting a lot of it can't be good for you.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I'm just telling you what works for me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things I Am Currently Obsessed With

I haven't done one of these in a while for a couple of reasons, I just finished classes (only to start again soon...ugh), I have not been scouring the internet for new obsessions as much lately, and I have been finding a multitude of things to occupy my time. Including struggling to get my Essie polishes under control enough to paint my nails. Sweet Talker, Lapis of Luxury, and Turquoise & Caicos all fell apart on me a few days ago, watery and terrible. And yet I'm still excited for their fall handbag-inspired collection. I'm ridiculous, I know.

These are not real "obsessions" but more categories of obsessions since again, I haven't had much time to focus on specific things.

Handbags. I have no real fondness for handbags, or shoes for that matter. Yes, I'm betraying my gender and fashionistas everywhere. They're just something I like but don't need. Anyway, apparently I'm not good with mine (or likely I fill them with too much junk) because the two I've been switching between this year have kind of fallen apart. I have this adorable leather cross-body bag with a lace print that almost looks like a sun print (there's probably a term for this but I think in terms of art and not leatherworking). I got it in Argentina for a ridiculous $20 but the piece on the side anchoring the strap kept breaking and thus releasing the strap and when I got it repaired they broke the zipper. Grrr. My other bag, my dark brown studded Michael Kors is also fall apart at the strap. The leather is peeling and I don't think it will survive much longer. (Note: I think Kors is a hack who mostly designs rectangles and tube dresses. I got the bag as a gift for a birthday a long while back.)

I am currently toting around a flower-patterned Le Sportsac that I got as a gift for the same birthday (Seriously, giftcards, people) but I need something more fall-appropriate. I cannot afford these but I am lusting after them nevertheless.


So simple and restrained yet I can't stop staring at them. Since I don't really care much if something is designer or not, I will probably just pick up some kind of similar imitation bag in Chinatown (from a store, not off the sidewalk). Not trying to get arrested. :)

Pleated skirt. I don't even know if this style will look good on me but that doesn't stop me from being obsessed with it. I should really just figure out how to make one of my own but...ah...laziness.



These are two standouts to me. The Satine because I've been loving asymmetry lately and the BCBGMAXAZRIA because I just love that brand. Some of the cutest and most figure-flattering dresses in my closet come from them.

Juliet Dress. This needs a bit of background. In middle school, as many other middle schoolers do, we read Romeo and Juliet. A sad translation which didn't really do anything for me. Definitely check out the Arden Shakespeare version instead. Anyway, I had to do a scene as Juliet and for this I headed off to H&M where I miraculously found the perfect dress. It was $40 which wouldn't bother me now but back then I was on my parents' budget and didn't have much say in the matter. After my scene, which was brilliant by the way, I reluctantly returned it to the store and it's always going to be one of those returns that I regret. I know by now the dress likely would not fit me and I know that I can barely remember what it looked like and I've probably built it up in my head to be more than it was. But logic and reason don't apply when it comes to a girl and her fashion memories. So ever since then I've been on the lookout for my "Juliet dress".

The most I remember is that it was sheer, black, seemed vaguely historical and looked spectacular on me.

Here are pieces I've come across that remind me of my Juliet dress.


Too long and too masculine. I think my dress may have been cinched at the waist.


This is not really very close at all but when I saw this coverup it just brought me right back to obsessing over my dress. Also, it makes me think I could replicate it if I could only remember exactly what it looked like.

Amsale. I don't know where the heck I think I'm going but I recently picked up a gorgeous dress at a ridiculously discounted price $60 and after rummaging around their website I am just fixated on the gorgeous fit, cut, and simplicity of their bridesmaids dresses. It's too much work to edit and post all the gowns I want but their site is pretty easy to navigate.


Eyeshadow. Now that I've perfected my cat eye, just in time for the revamp of the 1960s trend (thanks, fashion) I need to be a little bit brave and risk doing something a little more daring in terms of eye makeup. I've done it in the past and then smudged on a nude cream color to go for a safer, more subtle pop of color. One day I'll try a smoky eye. In the meantime I'm hunting down various eyeshadow colors to play around with.

I think that's all for today. Talk to you soon. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dannijo Sample Sale August 2011

Hi all,

Just back from my first time attending a Dannijo Sample Sale. It wasn't quite what I expected. Sadly, my camera is not working so no pictures, and I didn't exactly have the luxury of taking notes so I'll try and fill you in on everything I remember. When I get a working camera I'll take pictures of the two pieces I picked up.

There is an unassuming silver metal door flanked by numerous designer stores. I have passed by here many times but I never thought there was anything of note besides the flashy window displays for Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, etc. The building is your typical unrenovated space. Lots of concrete and metal, no air conditioning. I showed up about half an hour early and chatted with the other girls there. I think we were all pretty surprised there wasn't more of a line. By the time the doors opened at six there was a line down the hallway but still, I had been expecting a mad rush.

That came when we entered the lovely showroom I had been catching glimpses of each time the door opened to let lucky previewers in and out. Plastic bins on the table from the container store meet 15 pairs of grabbing hands. I got a chance to get my hands on some interesting pieces pretty quickly but spent the first 20 minutes or so mostly hovering and exchanging items in my plastic container for others either because of the price, weight, or style. Sometimes things can be absolutely gorgeous but not work on you. Case in point, I saw this girl grab my beloved Capella necklace (see first blog post) but when I asked her if I could try it on, it didn't work the same magic on me. Yet seeing her later with all her purchases layered on, she looked like she had just stepped out of a fashion editorial page for this season's Western/Native American trend.

The prices were actually pretty good. There were a fair number of cheapie necklaces and bracelets running around $5-$10. I actually picked up a silver chain bracelet. Nothing too special but it'll make me smile to know it's from Dannijo.

I spotted a Camden, either a Glenn or a Sparo, Zuma's in various colors ($30), and a Leopard Zuma/Loma. None of them really popped for me except the Glenn/Sparo but the price wasn't right for me. I think it was a decent discount though so someone else probably walked off with it very happily.

In terms of necklaces, the cheapie pieces were much worse. You really had to skip up to about $40+ to find something nice. I agonized over the Naomi (down from $195 to $45!!!) but it just looked too strange on me (my style is much more classic and feminine and girly) and it sat strangely on my collar bone. I think I grabbed the last gold before I put it back but there were plenty of these in silver.

I saw a few Karolines, down to around $100. The one Capella was also down to around $80-$100 but I didn't really bother checking since it was already going home with someone else. I couldn't identify a lot of the other pieces but there was a fair mix of metal and crystal, showy crystal necklaces and pendant necklaces dominated. I ended up picking a pretty nice gold (almost rose-gold) round locket with flowers on it. I like that it has a lot of space inside so I can put pictures or even dried flowers.

As I was waiting for change I tried on this sort of teal/turquoise-colored crystal necklace that seemed simple and that I thought would look like something I just picked up in Chinatown but I fell in love with it. This was the kind of piece I had been looking for. Sadly, it was only discounted 20% so it was still about $300 something. Ugh. Well, there's always next year, right?

Dannijo Aurelie silver-plated Swarovski crystal necklace
Dannijo Aurelie necklace

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recent Drawing Fails

I'm not going to lie and feign false modesty and pretend I think I can't draw at all. I know I can draw...things. They're just not exactly the things I'm copying from. Here are two recent examples.

Aladdin and Jasmine (balcony scene in Aladdin)
Close...but not quite right.

Next...an actual person. I stay away from doing portraits of famous people because since you recognize the face it puts more pressure on you while you're drawing and then when you're done you can really tell whether or not you've got it right.

Leighton Meester based on the cover of Allure

Similar...but no. Sigh... Still, it's better to challenge yourself than to stay safe and just keep drawing flowers, right?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Failed Products

Just a few words on products I've tried recently and had to return.

Garnier Fructis Style Brilliantine Shine Glossy Spray- Completely ineffective. It didn't kill all the volume in my hair like the John Freida cream I tried but it didn't tame flyaways, hold my style, or make my hair any shinier. It did deflate the volume of my hair a bit.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Gloss in 162 Blushing Berry I actually loved the color of this. It applied smoothly and evenly. I was ready to write a post about it being my new favorite drugstore berry shade but...I had some kind of allergic reaction to it. No one else seems to have had issues with it but it made my lips tingle/burn and dried them out so they now feel like a sort of rough crepe paper. I've been letting them heal by alternating between Vaseline and my favorite Dior Addict lipgloss (review to come soon).

L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Gloss in 158 Peach Fuzz  I had the same negative reaction to this gloss but I did not like the color. It's looks like you've applied a sheer, peachy gloss but there's something off about it. I think orange lip color works best in a more opaque form.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Peach Fuzz No problems with application or allergic reactions with this one, I just hated the color. It came out very frosty and very shimmery. Not the work appropriate neutral I was hoping for. Also, even though it applied smoothly and didn't dry out my lips, they looked dry when I had it on.

Physicians Formula Magic Mosaic Bronzer I have light-colored Asian skin. For reference, I use L'Oreal TruMatch in shade n2. I found this bronzer rather useless. The brush it comes with barely picks up any pigment. Just using my fingers to swipe on color, even concentrating only on the darker circles in the pan I couldn't really get anything to show up on my face.

Revlon Photoready Compact makeup I know this gets great reviews but I hated it when I tried it. It is way waaaay too shimmery. The texture is also terrible on my dry skin which I've heard from some people so if you have oily or combination skin it may work better on you. It just looked thick and unnnatural and greasy and well...disgusting. It comes with a pad like a flat makeup sponge but I didn't like it because it seemed to absorb too much of the product.

EOS Honeydew Lip Balm Again, a lot of online reviewers love this but I was not impressed. Yes, it smells lovely. Yes, it tastes lovely. But I don't need my lip product to be appetizing and edible. I just need it to do its job. Also, more enticingly edible and fragment lip products tempt you to keep licking your lips which will make dry lips worse. But that wasn't the problem. The problem is that this applies in a very waxy, drying way. When I'm applying it, it drags my lips and while I have it on, it's a thick, heavy, waxy shield. When I remove it, my lips are drier than when I applied it and skin will peel or crack a bit. I have a friend who bought another variety, the red one, which I think is some kind of berry/fruit flavor who has the same issues.

La Roche-Posay Moisturizer and Sunscreen REVIEW

Let me preface my opinions (Really? Yes, really. I promise I'm not stalling...) by saying that I haven't used a lot of moisturizers or sunscreens on my face before I started doing so on a regular basis about a year or two ago now. You're young, and if you're like me, you're inside most of the time reading/studying anyway so sun exposure, especially couched in language focused on anti-aging and health benefits is not going to grab your attention. But I am spending more time walking out in the sun and I am getting more concerned about taking care of my skin so I did start using moisturizer and sunscreen. I just wanted to let you know that I may not be an expert on this since I don't have much to compare it to.

I chose La Roche-Posay products because of easy accessibility (Duane Reade, Walgreens, etc.), price (around $25-$30), SPF (stabilized with avobenzone and high SPF), and quality. I am aware that parabens are listed among the ingredients but they are low in the list of ingredients so I don't think the concentration is high enough to be of concern since I don't use a lot of this product. Besides, there are just so many things in this world that might kill you...it's far too stressful to nitpick every little thing. Maybe someday I will be more concerned, it's just not today.

La Roche-Posay SPF 15 Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen Daily Use Moisturizer UVA/UVB protection (3.4oz)

I really love this moisturizer. It's a rich cream but it's not too thick and gloppy. The product comes out of the tube smooth and silky and is easy to apply. I used to use my hands but now I use a makeup sponge to save time washing my hands constantly as I apply my makeup for the day. The moisturizer is an opaque, white cream but if you just massage it into your skin it will just blend into your skin and settle in a nice sheer layer. This keeps my skin soft and hydrated. I would love to have time to apply this every morning but sometimes I'm in a rush to do everything and remember all the rest. In that case, I usually try and apply it at least one day a week or if my skin is looking especially dry, I make sure to swipe some on. I have had no problems with this, no problems applying it, no allergic reactions, it doesn't wear off during the day or melt. My one issues is immediately after application my face is very shiny and hydrated. It just takes a little while for it to dry but sometimes you don't have a little while. You may have to apply makeup to your face before it has dried or if you're skipping makeup, you may have to leave the house still looking a little shiny. That is all. Otherwise, I'll probably keep buying this unless something better comes along.

La Roche-Posay SPF 60 Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Lotion (1.7 fl oz.)

The texture and appearance of this sunscreen is very similar to the moisturizer. One is a tiny bit easier to blend in than the other but there's not a huge difference. This is intended to really be a full body sunscreen but I am paranoid about sun exposure now and I have been told by magazines to look for a product with SPF 50 or higher and I have listened. Neutrogena has some sunscreens that are more affordable and that have even higher SPF's but after a certain point, raising the level of SPF product has less of an effect proportionally and also I find the Neutrogena sunscreen I tried a little thicker and harder to blend naturally. You really have to work the product into your skin and check that there are no white blotches of unblended sunscreen on your face. Anyway, I apply this every day under my makeup and again, I have had no issues with it. It's harder to sense if a sunscreen is working (you pretty much need to do tests or take special photographs to get quantifiable results) but I feel like it is and for the quality, I think the price is fairly good. I just picked up the liquid form instead of my usual sunscreen because I'm running low so I'll let you know how that goes.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Update on Nail Polish

I painted my nails with Essie's Turquoise and Caicos on July 29th and it is now August 9th so this is 11 days later (I painted them at night). The nail polish has held up well and I've got some pictures for you. Mostly, I just wanted to show pictures of my aggravating nails which in 11 days have grown so quickly that I need to repaint my nails...which is why I went a year without painting my nails. Far too time consuming to do every week.

Everyone seems to marvel at how long my nail polish lasts. If you want, I will write a post on how I paint my nails and hopefully it'll help you get your nail polish to last longer. I've always been able to go a few weeks to more than a month without my nail polish chipping or otherwise getting ruined but my nails have always grown very quickly.

You might have to click on the pictures to see a larger photo to actually see how my nails look.

I also thought I'd throw in a picture of one of my favorite snacks just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Johnson's Baby Shampoo as Eye Makeup Remover

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on this subject. I am just sharing my experiences with you.

So, I am not used to wearing a lot of makeup. I just started using a gel eyeliner though (see review) and I needed something to remove it either in the morning to perfect my lines or at the end of the day when I remove all of my makeup. There are many debates online between highend brands and drugstore brands and homemade remedies. I used to use a high-end brand but that was only because my mom had a leftover bottle and I was wearing A LOT of makeup for high school theater. So for my first foray into eye makeup removers I wanted the simplest, cheapest option. I was in the drugstore, holding a bottle of some basic eye makeup remover around $7-$10 for a small/medium bottle in one hand, and a jumbo size bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo for around $5-6, which was at least 25% bigger and a gel as opposed to a diluted liquid, in the other hand. What was a girl to do?

Obviously, from the title of this post, I took home the baby shampoo. I washed out a clean small size bottle of Poland Spring and added the baby shampoo in about a 1:10 or 1:8 ratio with water. I shook it a few times and I had my new makeup remover.

So how does it work? Well, I haven't had any problems with it so far. I use the pointed Q-tips I use for cleaning up the edges of my nails for perfecting my eyeliner (though it's gotten to the point where it's not always necessary to fix it). The homemade makeup remover will take off a stray smudge pretty easily but will spread around a darker line. That is, if I try to adjust a line I've gone over with the gel eyeliner 2-3 times which has dried, it will spread the color where I swipe the Q-tip kind of like diluting a watercolor instead of just lifting the pigment. This is simple to fix. Just work in small swipes and turn the Q-tip so the area is always being touched with the clean side of the Q-tip. When it comes to removing my makeup at the end of the day, I take a regular Q-tip and swipe it around my eye, careful to avoid the seam. When you wash your face, the rest of the makeup should come right off. Full disclosure, when I have gotten too much of it in my eye, it does sting a little. But then, I think if you're putting any makeup remover IN your eye, it probably won't be too pleasant. Because this is baby shampoo it only stings for a second or two after you rinse your eye with a splash of cold water. My skin is fine. Just as soft but not tender. No redness. No irritation.

Doctor's opinion: I consulted the doctor in the family who recommended against using this as an eye makeup remover if you're not careful. If you find that it's going IN your eye more often than not, you should probably stick to another drugstore, highend, or homemade alternative. This also goes for any soap not specifically labeled as safe for eyes, etc.

I am going to keep using this for a while, since the bulk of my extra cash goes into clothes or makeup. If I do make a change, I'll be sure to let you know. :)

UPDATE: I currently use MAC Cleanse Off to take off my eye makeup.