Saturday, August 25, 2012

REVIEW of Sinful Colors Nail Enamel in Firefly

Hello chickadees!

I'm so excited. The new charger for my camera battery came in mail today. As far as I can tell it works, so hopefully I can start writing posts a little more frequently again. This review, however, is one with swatches I've been saving for a while.

Like the other Sinful Colors polishes I've purchased, I bought Firefly because I wanted to see if I liked the color before springing for a similar shade from a more expensive brand. Also, sometimes you're just in the mood to buy some nail polish.

Color: Firefly is a warm yellow polish with a hint of shimmer. The shimmer is more or less apparent depending on the lighting, but in the right lighting it has that lovely effect of glowing from the inside. It provides a nice pop of color on the nails but it isn't super bright. On short nails, it almost gives your nails the look of little corn kernels (more on that later). Indoors, it can become a cooler yellow but it's always a pretty basic color, primary yellow instead of anything really fancy. I thought it would look terrible on me because of the yellow undertones in my skin. It looked better than I expected it to but I still think yellow isn't my color.

Application: It took 3 coats of polish to get it opaque, and 4 coats on the ring finger. I found the paint job smoother than some of the other Sinful Colors polishes I've tried in the past. It was certainly better than Sinful Colors Cinderella. But I still experienced some balding, patchiness, and uneveness. I found that it did help to use thicker coats of polish. When I did my right hand (painting with my useless left hand) late at night, I made kind of a mess of it with a LOT of balding and bubbles. So, my warning is that with this polish you really need to concentrate on doing a good job and having a steady hand. Also, it may help to work in bright light. This is probably not a good polish for newbies or anyone who struggles doing their own nails with good brands like Essie or OPI.

CONCLUSION: I can't recommend the polish based on the formula. Personally, I'm not a fan of yellow polish, but if you like the swatches, I'd say go ahead and give it a try. I actually would consider repurchasing this if/when I run out because it looks fine and I can't see myself paying more for a yellow polish when I don't love the color on me. But for people who really want a good polish, I don't think you'll be happy with this.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Failed Products

For those of you familiar with this blog, you'll know these are the posts I reserve for products that were such a failure they don't even deserve full reviews.

Dior Diorshow Iconic Extreme Waterproof Mascara in Extreme Black
Time for another short review. This product is not worth $28.50 and I found it completely useless. It sort of produced a nice effect, of a little length and volume in a subtle, fluttery lash kind of way but it immediately dropped the curl I had spent the last 30 seconds coaxing into my lashes with my Shiseido eyelash curler. Seriously, I watched the curl droop within ten seconds of application like a sad wilting flower. I would not recommend this for straight Asian eyelashes like my own. Who cares if it's waterproof if it doesn't hold the curl in the first place?

EOS Everyday Hand Lotion and Berry Blossom Hand Lotion
These were on sale at Duane Reade one day so I picked up 2 of them in hopes that I'd prefer them to my kind of pricey L'Occitane hand creams. No luck. These certainly aren't as nicely scented but I could deal with that if they were moisturizing and softened my skin. Now, I didn't have an allergic reaction to these but I did experience odd results. These hand creams are nice and light like L'Occitane hand creams (obviously not as nice) and less like the thicker, more emollient creams made by Burt's Bees for example. They glide across the skin nicely but don't massage in very well. I feel like my hands are a little greasy for a while. The worst part is that a few minutes after the cream has dried, the skin on my hands (both the back of my hands and my palms) starts feeling very tight and kind of itchy and uncomfortable. Again, it's not an allergic reaction. It's more like that feeling you get when you apply a face mask and it tightens up as it dries. So to review, the fragrance is average, it doesn't feel particularly nice on the skin, it produces a tight, uncomfortable feeling, and it does not moisturize or soften skin at all.

Epicuren Extra Fine Citrus Facial Scrub (Note: I have dry skin. Not oily or acne prone.)
I was recommended this product a long time ago when I went to visit my facialist. It was a time when I knew nothing about skincare, not that I'm an expert now, and I didn't see the harm in splurging on a $25 product if it would really clean my pores. Well, it never cleaned my pores and after repeated use I've come to the conclusion that it 100% tears up my skin. It doesn't matter if I barely rub it in or use more pressure, any way I tried to effectively use this scrub it tore up my skin. I was left with peeling patches of skin on my nose, cheeks, and forehead. They weren't painful but certainly not what I would expect from an "extra fine" facial scrub. The product has a light scent that I suppose I would describe as citrusy but you don't really notice it all that much.

Friday, August 17, 2012

REVIEW of Prevail Botanical Gardens

Hi chickadees!

It turns out I do have a little bit of battery life left and no self control. Honestly, it's been so hard to have nicely filed nails and not use any polish for the last month or so. Anyway, since I'm going to be taking my MCAT soon, I wanted to go with a nice neutral color that would be easy to take off so I can switch to O.P.I. You Callin' Me a Liar which has become by go-to test taking nude nail polish. Therefore, I decided on Prevail Botanical Gardens.

You can read my review of Prevail's Gramercy Park here:

Now, I didn't hate Gramercy Park, but I thought it was just a basic sheer nude and applied rather patchy. I am super impressed with Prevail Botanical Gardens. First of all, I'm predisposed to like it for the name alone. The Bronx Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite places and I try to never miss the orchid shows. But I was kind of stunned by how well this polish performed.
Color: I call this a my-nails-but-better color. I did 3 coats to medium opacity so you can still see my nails underneath. Botanical Gardens is a very light beige color. It reminds me of a very light skintone color with slight yellow and pink undertones but with more yellow than pink. I'd say it's more cool-toned or neutral than warm-toned but the pink does give it a bit of warmth.
(Note: If you'd like, the next time I use this color, I can try and get it fully opaque. Let me know if you'd be interested in that in the comments.)

Application: A large proportion of what I found so impressive was the application. It was a very smooth paint job. I used medium thick coats (about the same as I'd use with an Essie polish) and had no problems. The polish glided over the nail beautifully without making even a hint of a mess. There really wasn't any patchiness while painting. I did notice afterwards that there is a slight stripe on my pinky nail where the polish is uneven but that's such a minor thing, it was probably a personal error.

Formula: Very smooth. It is a sheer polish so it's obviously going to be a little more watery than a creme polish but I had no problems with it running into the cuticles or making a mess.

CONCLUSION: Overall, I'm really happy with this polish. I would recommend it. When I run out, I'm probably going to repurchase it and I think to conserve my bottle of OPI You Callin' Me a Lyre?, I might use this as my regular nude polish when I don't have a test or special occasion.



I have missed you my darlings! Being without my charger and therefore my camera is really killing my buzz. Not to mention the stress of MCAT prep. But that stress is made worse when I can't even paint my nails because I want to wait until I can take swatches. Argh. I'm dying to try Essie's Penny Talk, OPI Piroutte My Whistle over OPI My Pointe Exactly, Essie Chinchilly, Essie Mochacino, and the two gorgeous top coats I ordered from Darling Diva Polish, Rose and Pendragon.

In the meantime, I'm still testing products, buying products I'd write haul posts about if I could take pictures, and working on other writing projects. Most of my posts (until the charger I bought comes sometime between late August and mid September arrives) will be sale posts, reviews with old saved photos, and maybe some "Things I Am Currently Obsessed with posts".

One of those things I am currently obsessed with? Pinterest. If you'd like to follow me, the link is down below. I'm still my crazy self and now you can see just how much time I spend scouring random websites. Don't judge me! :)

Much love,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner REVIEW

Hi chickadees!

Clean Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy: $4.99-$5.99 for 12.7oz and 12.9oz bottles
What the card says... Did you know 99% of hair's natural strength comes from the scalp? Introducing CLEAR SCALP & HAIR BEAUTY THERAPY, a new line of shampoos and conditioners that nourish the scalp, and create the right foundation for strong, beautiful hair from root to tip. Wash your way to stronger hair in just 7 days.

Today I've got another review of a product from my Summer 2012 Influenster Voxbox? Do I always scramble the order of those words around? I feel like I do... Anyway, this time I'm reviewing the Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Nourishing Shampoo and Nourishing Daily Conditioner. Now, I have two things to disclose. Obviously, as this came in my Voxbox, I was sent this product to review. It will not change what I have to say. Secondly, it says that you can see results in 7 days but I don't wash my hair every day and I also didn't use this product consistently for 7 days so that might have skewed the results. Though personally, I think a good shampoo is always a good shampoo.

So, while I was using the product, these are were my thoughts...
I liked the scent of the products, though I think the shampoo smells better than the conditioner. The scent doesn't linger in your hair after you've washed it out but it's nice to sort of smell it in the shower. It's floral and slightly sweet like there's a fruit scent. The shampoo works into a light lather, not as much as I'd like, but it's fine. I have noticed that after I wash it out, my hair has a slightly squeaky feeling sometimes. It's not as bad as when I use Lush's Ultimate Shine Shampoo Bar, but my hair does feel a little bit odd. As for the conditioner, it's not a very good detangler. I have straight Asian hair so I only get tangles if I don't wash my hair for a few days. I would say that if you have serious tangles, you will probably need an additional detangling product.

Basically, I don't think this product did anything except wash my hair and relieve some of my scalp itchiness. Which is fine. I just wanted to make a note of that. I kept looking to see if I'd get any more volume or shine but I didn't. In fact, my hair looked healthier and shinier with my old routine. It looks a bit dry and unhealthy after using Clear's Nourishing Shampoo and Nourishing Daily Conditioner which is odd for a product with "nourishing" in the name. The product did not reduce frizz. My hair was actually frizzier than when I started using it.

CONCLUSION: I probably won't be repurchasing this product nor can I really recommend it for anything other than the scent and maybe relieving some scalp itchiness.
If you're curious, this was how my testing process went...
(Note: I'm listing the days I tested the product not each day sequentially.)
DAY 1: Tried product, scalp as itchy as before using product, waited two days to wash hair
DAY 2: Tried product, scalp itched on third day, washed hair
BREAK: Went back to old routine, hair felt better and was noticeably shinier but scalp itched
DAY 3: Tried product, scalp did not itch until third day after washing hair
DAY 4: Tried product
BREAK: Got a haircut, lost a lot of length, hair felt a lot better after using salon products
BREAK: Went back to old routine, hair looked a lot better and noticeably shinier
DAY 5: Tried product, scalp itches a bit, waited two days to wash hair
DAY 6: Tried product, scalp itches a bit but not as much as last time, washed hair 1 day later
DAY 7: Tried product, scalp itch relief benefits seem to have faded.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Art from Paris

A completely random post mostly in service of my newfound obsession with Pinterest.

Jean d'Arc from the Musee D'Orsay

Le Reve by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Jeunes filles au bord de la mer by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

Les muses by Maurice Denis

Mont Sainte-Victoire by Cezanne


La jeune fille et la Mort by Marianne Stokes

Marguerite Moreno by Josph Granie


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Outfit of the Day

Hi chickadees,

I liked the simplicity of the look I put together today so I thought I'd quickly share it with you. Unfortunately it was late when I got home so I wasn't able to take pictures in natural sunlight. Also, I have lost the charger for my camera. I have some pictures saved for reviews and such but unless I find it soon, the loss will effect the frequency of updates and new posts.

Muse dress purchased at TJMaxx

Yes, I got a haircut. No, I don't know why this lighting makes my face look orange.
Eyes: Shiseido concealer, Urban Decay Primer Potion, MAC Naked Lunch all over the lid, L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara
Cheeks: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface
Lips: Clinique Chubby Stick in Oversized Orange
REVIEW with SWATCHES of Oversized Orange at this link below:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Things I Am Currently Obsessed With

Hi chickadees,

This is the "torment yourself with how expensive these gorgeous things are" post in this series. For some reason the things that are really sticking with me right now are the ones that are not the most budget-friendly. Whether or not you can technically afford them, it's hard to justify purchasing big ticket items like these.

Oliver Peoples Maryse Eyeglasses

I don't actually need a new pair of glasses. My prescription hasn't changed since last year's checkup (thank goodness) and my old Kate Spade frames are perfectly fine. Actually because I scratched one lense, I got them replaced with all the fancy additions, smudge-proofing (which seems to actually attract smudges), etc. etc. But I tried these on in a store one day and kind of fell in love. Self-inflicted torment, I know.

Mulberry Bayswater Bag in Black Printed Leather

I know I've written about Mulberry bags before but now I know which one I want. It's the beautiful Mulberry Bayswater in Black Printed Leather. So simple and sleek yet so gorgeous. Sometimes I just pull up the Mulberry page to stare at it. Before you start swooning or placing your order you should know that this bag costs a whopping $1,350.
Henri Bendel Cafe Girl Scarf

I recently visited Bendel's for the first time. It's always been there. I've just never been interested in going in, but I happened to be in the area with some time to kill. Anyway, I was pretty underwhelmed by most of the merchandise except for this scarf. I love this scarf. I cannot stop thinking about this scarf. It is beautiful. It feels wonderful. I don't even wear scarves the majority of the time. I kind of just want to buy it and frame it and stick it on my wall. But it's $125, and for a girl who doesn't wear scarves all that often, that's an awful lot to spend on a scarf.
Wheat Necklace

Now, this is a two-fold obsession. For a while, I've been obsessed with the Aurelie Bidermann Demeter Necklace which looks like a golden braid with large pieces of wheat attached to it in a lovely organic pattern. I am a Greek mythology fanatic and I can totally picture this as the kind of jewelry a goddess would wear.
Demeter wheat large necklace
This beautiful piece of art will cost you $1,824.

Now, the piece I'm actually coveting is something I just discovered on BCBGMaxAzria's website while scoping out the sale selection. It's not on sale, sadly but it does seem like a more wearable, and certainly more affordable version of the Aurelie Bidermann.

This Metal Fringe Necklace will cost you $108.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

REVIEW of Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme

Hello my darlings,

(Full Disclosure: This is another item that came with my Influenster 2012 Summer Beauty VoxBox. I was sent this product to review.)
Sally Hansen Nails and Cuticles Hand Creme: $5.99 for full size bottle
This is what was written on the card that came with my Voxbox: Made with shea butter, the Sally Hansen Nails and Cuticles Creme softens hands, smooths cuticles and conditions nails. Active Moisture Complex formula with Ceramides helps to lock in nutrients so hands maintian their ideals moisture level. Offers 24 hour moisture and lasts through hand washings!

I have to say that after a few weeks of trying this product... I really like it. I didn't expect to, perhaps because of some personal bias. For some reason, I associate hand creams with older women or think of them as a luxury product that should smell and feel appropriately luxurious. Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme feels light and fun. It smells like oranges and candy, or orange-flavored candy. Actually, what it immediately reminded me of was the scent of my Epicuren Extra Fine Citrus Facial Scrub. Though, I should note that as it settles into the skin, for me, it starts to smell a little like baby wipes. Orange-scented baby wipes. Anyway...

It is definitely a cream. It feels silky and rich but not sticky or heavy or super emollient like more heavy duty dry skin treatments. It's also not as gel-like and watery as something like the L'Occitane hand creams. It glides nicely over your hands and massages into the skin easily, leaving skin feeling plush and soft. It doesn't dry immediately though so you will feel the residue for a minute or two until it dries.

As I noted above, it takes a little while to dry. After that, I think it does a good job of staying on the skin and keeping it moisturized but if you wash your hands, it will immediately wash off so I'm not sure if it really sinks in. I touched the outside of a water bottle and it started melting off. Once it has dried, you can go on with the rest of your day. It's not one of those heavy creams that completely incapacitates you unless you wear gloves.

My hands were not in the best condition when I started using this product. Usually I have a tiny bit of dryness around my cuticles but nothing too terrible. However, when I first started testing I had just been to the salon and she had mangled my cuticles so the skin was still in the process of healing. I think this may have helped the healing process along and once my hands were back to normal in a few days, I think it did improve the slight dryness around my cuticles and my hands feel slightly softer and smoother. Granted, I am in my early 20s and have fairly soft, smooth skin to begin with. I use a very generous amount of the product and after a few weeks of use, I think I can confidently say it does make a difference. However, it helps to use this cream frequently. It's not a one-time fix. If you want to keep your hands feeling moisturized, you need to keep reapplying this product.

CONCLUSION: I would recommend this product if you're OK with the smell (I don't think it'll be for everyone) and you want an affordable, everyday hand cream to keep hands feeling nice and soft. I don't know if this would do much for people with extremely dry hands and cuticles or for people looking for dramatic results. But I think that once I run out of my sample, I will repurchase this product.

Q&A on the Lush Emotional Brilliance Makeup Collection

Hi chickadees,

Here's a quick post paraphrasing the conversation I had my local Soho Lush store about the new Emotional Brilliance Makeup Collection. FleurdeForce has already written a great post detailing her opinion of the products and based off of that, I focused my attention on the lip products in particular. I mainly just went in to ask questions on this visit (I can't find the thing I use to charge my camera, so sadly no pictures of the products in store, though I do have some lip swatches at the very end of a pretty fuchsia lip product they let me try.
Q: Can the products be used all over the face or are there specific products for specific areas of the face?
A: The products can be used for different things but certain products are recommended for certain parts of the face. It is written on the label.

Q: What is the finish of the products?
A: The products have different finishes. Matte, shimmer, etc.

Q: How do you apply the product?
A: Each product comes with a built in applicator but you can also ask for a bunch of applicators when you make your purchase or use your own lip brush, eyeliner brush, etc.

Q: Are the lip products moisturizing and can/should they be used with another product?
A: The lip product is reasonably moisturizing but if you want more moisture you can use a lip balm over the product. It should not smear the color around.

Q: Are the products very pigmented? Can you build up color or sheer products out? (specifically lip color)
A: The products are mostly very pigmented but you can sheer out lip color by using a lip balm.

Q: What is the base of the makeup?
A: The makeup base is mostly wax.
Q: Are the products scented? Do they have a taste?
A: The products should not have a taste or scent. If there is any scent it is probably a very light scent from the rose oil wax used as one of the ingredients.

I found the lip product I tested to be very pigmented and a tiny bit drying for a wet product but reasonably on par with other wax-based lipsticks. Full disclosure, it wasn't a great day for testing because my lips weren't in perfect condition. I like to give products a fair shot by only swatching and testing when my lips are moisturized and there is no peeling, chapping, etc. But my initial impressions were that the lip products are highly pigmented, longwearing, and a bit drying. How longwearing? Well, admittedly I chose a very bold color, but a full day later even though I had wiped most of it off, some pigment still clung to the center of my lips.



Hi chickadees!

Just wanted to write up a quick post letting you know about the BCBCMAXAZRIA sale going on online right now. There are a lot of heavily discounted dresses on sale right now perfect for those end of summer parties or even if you want to stock up for fall or next year's prom season. In my opinion, the other merchandise (jewelry, handbags, bottoms, etc.) is a little less exciting, but feel free to check it all out for yourself. You can shop by category or discount and all of the lines, including Herve Leger have select items on sale right now. I'm not sure how long this Summer Sale will continue so presumably it's until they're out of stock.

I'll leave you with this dress I've been fixated on because it just looks so Gossip Girl to me and I have an unhealthy obsession with that show.

Happy shopping!