Friday, May 31, 2013

REVIEW of N.Y.C. Big Bold Curl Mascara

Hi chickadees,

Full disclosure, I only used NYC's Big Bold Curl Mascara three times. But those three times were enough. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result then I think I lived up to the title of this blog while testing this product. I might have given this product a few more chances but I started testing it in early March and because of allergies and general busyness I didn't try it again until late May so I wanted to toss the product to be safe.

Formula/Consistency: NYC's Big Bold Curl Mascara has a thicker consistency. It's one of those whipped mousse formulas as opposed to the very wet, thinner formula mascaras. Hey, I'm trying. If you're looking for a mascara expert, check out Clumps of Mascara.
Wand: This mascara comes with a very big natural bristle wand. I found it a little difficult to maneuver this around my eyes and brush the wands through my lashes. I'm not sure who would have such long lashes (even with falsies) that they would need a brush this big. But you do get used to using the brush eventually, it's just not as convenient or well-designed as it could be.
Curl: Sigh. Yet again, I found another mascara that uncurls my lashes in under a minute. Hooray! I spend a crazy amount of time making sure my lashes are perfectly curled with my Shiseido eyelash curler, then I apply this mascara and poof! My lashes end up stick straight. The first day I tried this mascara, I applied three coats and ended up with lashes perpendicular to my eyes (sticking straight out) which basically means you can't see them at all and when I put on my glasses, they obstruct my vision. (Note: I always let the mascara dry before I put on my glasses and this mascara uncurled my lashes before I put my glasses on.) On my third day trying this mascara, I only used one coat and my lashes still uncurled in under a minute.
Volume: Even though this product was useless to me because it uncurled my lashes, I did find that it added some volume. The effect is more pronounced with multiple coats but I could see a bit more volume with even one coat. I noticed a few clumps during my last trial but I think you could comb those out. I just didn't want to go over my lashes again as I really wanted to see if my lashes could stay curled with just one coat of mascara. They couldn't.
Length: I didn't really notice any improvement in length.
Smudging: On the days when I wore this mascara out, it smudged under my eyes within 20 minutes. These were not very hot or humid days and it wasn't raining. And I tested this mascara on the days when my allergies were in check and my eyes weren't watering. Yeah. I know, it's kind of pathetic for a mascara to smudge that quickly. I then tried to clean up the smudging as best as I could. When I checked again in about 4 hours after my initial application, the smudging was back.
Feel: I didn't feel like my lashes were especially crunchy but they were a little hard and definitely not light and fluttery.

CONCLUSION: Would I recommend this mascara? Hahahahahahaha. No. While it provided a little bit of volume and it's relatively inexpensive, I experienced terrible smudging and the mascara uncurled my lashes. I suppose this might be fine for people who don't have a problem keeping their lashes curled but I personally can't comment on that.


REVIEW of Zoya Pippa With SWATCHES

Greetings and salutations, distinguished readers!
Sorry, I couldn't come up with anything else to begin my post on Zoya Pippa. I'm just going to assume the polish was named for Pippa Middleton because seriously, when was the last time you heard the name Pippa? The polish was released in 2009 as part of Zoya's La-Di-Da collection. Annie Hall, anyone?

Color: Zoya Pippa is a sunny yellow creme polish. In the bottle, it appears to be a primary yellow (one of the primary, blue, and yellow) like the kind of yellow you'd pull out of a box of crayons, and it can appear that way on the nails. However, I found that most of the time I was wearing this color it was a little bit warmer, leaning towards a corn kernel yellow or a slightly golden yellow. It was still the closest to a basic, primary yellow but I wanted to note the warmth of the color as these things can affect how a polish is going to look on different skintones. And for someone with yellow undertones like me, yellow polishes are definitely a scary proposition. While yellow will never be the most flattering color on me, of all the possible yellows, I think Zoya Pippa is the kind of yellow that will be the most suited to my skintone and to skintones like mine. I think Zoya Pippa provides a nice pop of color without being as demure as a pastel or as loud as a neon/bright. I think it's very on trend for girls who are looking for something different. I've been seeing yellow nail polish on a lot of celebrities and in a lot of TV shows lately. But it is somewhat of a daring and unconventional option and it's not going to be for everyone.
Formula: I would say the formula is smooth but a little bit thick.
Application: The first coat was a little patchy and streaky but impressively opaque where I did get coverage. On the second coat, I found that if you used a sufficient amount of polish, the brush wouldn't drag so while application wasn't super smooth, I managed to get good results. So while the formula wasn't awful, it wasn't spectacular either.

CONCLUSION: While the formula isn't perfect, I really love the color and I think it's going to be very useful for nail art. I would recommend this polish and I actually already added a bottle to my most recent Zoya haul.

Zoya Mini Nail Lacquer Pippa ZP479R


Monday, May 27, 2013

REVIEW of OPI Do You Lilac It? With SWATCHES

Hello my little wildflowers,

Today I'll be reviewing OPI Do You Lilac It?. I don't have a lot to say about this polish. It's been in my collection for quite a while, long before this blog started and so long ago that the shop where I bought it is now closed. I'm not really a lilac/lavender kind of person though I know this is a polish that a lot of people recommend when they're suggesting nail polish colors. But I did like this color. Just not enough to review it until more than a month after I had swatched it. So yeah...

Color: OPI Do You Lilac It? is a light purple creme polish. I hesitate to call it lilac as it isn't what I personally think of when I think of lilac. It's a light/medium purple, not quite as light as the very light pastels and not quite as dark as the true purples. Do You Lilac It? is definitely more of a blue-toned purple. The color is rather quiet and demure. It's flattering for my skintone and I think it would be flattering for lighter skintones but I wasn't wildly in love with it for some reason. It was just alright to me.
Formula: The formula is a little bit thick.
Application: So, the first coat was pretty smooth but with successive coats I noticed how thick the polish was. It was liquid-y and runny but the brush dragged through the polish creating ridges and the polish seemed to thicken with the second and third coats. This is not a polish where you should go over the brushstrokes to even out the polish. You will just make more of a mess. That said, after I applied my Seche Vite top coat, the unevenness seemed like minor imperfections. I wore this polish for 5 days and during that time the small issues didn't bother me.

CONCLUSION: It's quite possible that the issues with the formula are from having such a old bottle of this polish but if you were to locate this polish I would assume that the bottle would be just as old unless this color is part of the permanent collection so I don't really see that as an issue for this review. Based on how flattering the color is and how the polish ended up looking alright, I would probably recommend this color in spite of the application issues. However, I can't give a enthusiastic endorsement.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Sale Roundup

Hi chickadees,

I've been digging through the online Memorial Day sale offers and I thought I'd quickly share what I've found.,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html?dwvar_11139963_color=256&start=19&cgid=sale-handbagsaccessories-sale-handbags,default,pd.html?dwvar_11139912_color=801&start=25&cgid=sale-handbagsaccessories-sale-handbags

Monday, May 20, 2013

NYU Graduation Nails

Hi chickadees,

I'm keeping this post short as there's not much to say. I can't really give you a tutorial on how to accomplish this look as you basically just have to paint it. There's no easy technique. My only tips are don't be afraid to mess up and try doing a test run. If you make a mistake you can always just clean up the design with whatever color you used for the background. This is the test run I did to make sure I could execute the design before trying it on my nails.

For my background purple color, I swatched all the purples in my collection and my closest match to NYU violet was Zoya Pinta. However, I don't recommend this polish as my bottle is full of bubbles and it's much darker than NYU violet.

For the letters, I used a striper I bought at my local beauty supply store. It's from Nicka K but the brand seems to be A! Absolute Nail Art Paint. There's no name but it's the white striper. You don't need to look for this specific striper. Anything at your local drugstore should work. Just unscrew the cap before you buy it to check that you're getting a good brush. If the bristles are not cut evenly, it will make nail art much harder.

For the torch, I actually used a brush I picked up at Pearl Paint. The lettering on the side of the brush reads "00 Rekab 314 Kolinsky Israel". I've been using this brush for a while and I like that it is very precise. I also appreciate the fact that I can take off the nail polish with nail polish remover without damaging the brush or the bristles. As long as you remove all the polish, the bristles shouldn't harden. I will keep you updated on whether this changes as I continue to use the brush.

For my pinky nails, I used 3 coats of Zoya Trixie for some sparkle.

For the violet (which may not look like a violet... Google Image Search was supremely unhelpful) I used Sally Hansen Good to Grape for the petals, Zoya Monica for the shading and Zoya Pippa for the center of the violet. I freehanded the petals and shading with the brushes that come with the nail polish bottles and used my own brush for the center of the flower.

For the sake of comparison here are the letters on my left hand (top) vs. my right hand (bottom). While the letters on my right hand (painted with my nondominant left hand) aren't as neat or thin and precise, it is possible to execute letter on your own. I have very little control with my left hand but using the striper, I found that painting the letters was actually pretty easy. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

REVIEW of OPI A Butterfly Moment With SWATCHES

Hello my little butterflies,
OK, it's official. OPI A Butterfly Moment is the most flattering pink polish I have tried so far. Like ever. Given Mariah Carey's well known love of butterflies (and Hello Kitty, but that's beside the point) if I had to guess which would be the best polish from her recent OPI collaboration, I would have picked OPI A Butterfly Moment. And from my experience, I would have been right. I had been hemming and hawing about whether or not to purchase this polish and finally I couldn't help myself any longer and ordered it off of I am so happy I did. I love this polish! I might be gushing but I feel like it's completely warranted. Let's get into it...

Color: Before I launch into this, I'm going to tell you to look at ALL the swatches. OPI A Butterfly moment is very difficult to describe as it can look very different depending on the lighting. It isn't a duochrome, but it can either look like a pink shimmer or a nude shimmer polish depending on the lighting conditions. And this can change if you're indoors and walking from one room to another. I can't definitively say that when you're outdoors the polish is pink and when you're indoors the polish is nude because this polish pretty much does what it wants. Personally, I love almost all of the color variations and find them extremely flattering for my skintone. Sometimes this polish is a subtle, girly lighter pink and the shimmer just provides shine and vibrancy. Sometimes it is a dusty rose pink and the shimmer seems more muted so the polish almost seems a little speckled. It reminds me of looking at a shimmer eyeshadow indoors when it's not really catching the light. There's a slight marbling effect if you look very, very closely. Sometimes the polish appears to be a golden tan/nude shimmer polish with a golden shimmer. Then it feels like a color Jennifer Lopez might wear with a lot of bronze and brown and gold makeup. The one time I don't like the way this polish looks is in dim indoor lighting when it can look like a dirty rose pink, like the dusty rose pink but darker. This just strikes me as a little too mature and old-lady-ish and it's not very flattering for my skintone. Thankfully, this is not how this polish usually appears.
Formula: The formula was one of those great OPI formulas. Very smooth and easy to work with.
Application: Application was very smooth. There was surprisingly good coverage in one coat and I thought the polish looked fine in two coats but it didn't pass the light test (where you hold you nails up to the light and see if light passes through) so I added a third coat. I do think the third coat is necessary.
Wear: After a week of wear I have some visible nail growth at the nail beds but otherwise I could continue wearing the polish on my left hand. On my right hand there is either tip wear or nail growth and a teensy chip on one nail. Given how well the polish has held up on my left hand, I don't think there's a major issue with wear but I just wanted to mention the chipping.

CONCLUSION: Heck, yes, I would recommend this polish. Great color, great application. I wore it all through my final exams and I have to restrain myself from buying a backup right now.

Friday, May 10, 2013

REVIEW of Sinful Colors Polish in Sweet Dreams With SWATCHES

Hi sugarplums,

I did not like this polish. I did not like this polish at all. OK, to be fair that's a bit of an exaggeration. I didn't love the color of this polish but I was fine with it. But in every other respect, I did not like this polish at all. Sigh... Let's just break it down before I start to get irritated again.

Color: Sweet Dreams is a saturated aqua blue polish. I hesitate to call it a shimmer as it doesn't have the smooth, refined look of most shimmer polishes. This is the tacky, low-end version of shimmer which is just tiny flakes of glitter. It reminds me a lot of the sort of greasy look of Zoya Skylar. You'll see what I mean in the swatches. For whatever reason this polish makes me think of a bad under-the-sea themed prom or a ocean diorama project. There's just something about it that feels cheap and juvenile. The color is strong but it's not really vibrant and more intense on nails than it appears in the bottle. The polish leans pretty green so don't expect a basic blue. I have no idea what they were thinking when they named this polish. It doesn't feel like the nude or pastel polish you might associate with sweet dreams and I'm certain Annie Lennox wouldn't approve either.
Formula: The formula is thick.
Application: This is one of those odd polishes where application is smooth and the brush doesn't drag through the polish but it's very difficult to get thin, even coats. The easiest way to work with it is to paint on thicker coats. I needed 2 coats to get this polish to full opacity.
Wear: I wore this polish for less than 24 hours. I really didn't like it. But as I removed it, it stained by nails a little so that I had to keep going back with nail polish remover to full remove all the blue. And this was using Zoya Remove+ which is stronger than my regular nail polish remover. The polish didn't stain my skin.

CONCLUSION: I would not recommend this polish. The color isn't all that remarkable and the finish makes it unflattering and cheap-looking. The application isn't great either. It's a polish you can work with, but for me it's not one that I want to work with.


Mini Tarte Haul

Hi chickadees,

So... I made a very naughty purchase recently. No, nothing like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean, I splurged on two gel eyeliners from Tarte with the excuse that they were 20% off and I could qualify for free shipping. Being a bargain hunter is a virtue and a vice. You shop for the best deals but you also get sucked into making purchases because there is some kind of sale or discount. I'm not sure if these will replace my Maybelline gel eyeliner but I'm willing to give them a shot. I also picked up a sharpener to qualify for free shipping as I didn't own one (not having many pencil eyeliners or lip liners that would require sharpening).

I like that they took the trouble to put a coral lid on Splash and a mint green lid on Black.
This isn't as color accurate as I would like but I didn't want to open the container until I started testing this so it won't dry out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Drugstore Product Stalking: Duane Reade 4 W 4th St

Hi chickadees!

Quick Drugstore Product Stalking. There aren't a ton of new items but I did locate the new Essie Spring 2013 Madison Ave-Hue Collection and a great deal on the Sally Hansen Gem Crush polishes.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Let Me Be Your Star Marilyn Inspired Outfit Of the Day

Hello starlets,

I just wanted to quickly share the look I put together for my performance of "Let Me Be Your Star" from the NBC show Smash. I wanted to do something inspired by Marilyn Monroe without it looking like a costume, though I did go heavier on the makeup than I usually do, but I always do that for performances. I would have loved to have recorded the performance for you but it was a small venue and pretty informal. I might eventually put up a recording on my youtube page if you'd like. It's probably better that I didn't record it anyway as I'm not sure if it was any good. You practice and practice and when you get in front of an audience, most of what you've rehearsed goes winging out of your head and your fall back on instinct. I had a bit of choreography that I had to throw out when I realized I would be boxed in by the way the microphones and audio devices were positioned. And singing a cappella solo to a small room is very different from being on a stage. It was a little petrifying to be honest.

You can find my review of the polish I was wearing, Maybelline's Gold's Night Out here.
As for my makeup, I kept things pretty simple. I did a basic cat eye (not Marilyn's and not my normal cat eye either). I usually try and do something thinner and a bit more subtle and stop at the center of the eye but I wanted something more theatrical that would pop in almost a cartoonish way so I traced along my entire eyelid and made the line a little thicker than I would for an ordinary day. I'm not really in love with the Dollywink eyeliner pen I used for this look. I like the precision I get on the flick but it's a bit like using a cheap felt tip pen. It's just not that pigmented, and I feel like I'm doing thin watercolor washes to build up the color I want. Also, the precise point makes a thick eyeliner look like this more time consuming.

I used Maybelline's Dream Lumi Concealer in Buff as my undereye concealer. I will be reviewing that concealer soon. Again, I wouldn't specifically recommend it for this look. Just use whatever concealer works for you.

And as an extra theatrical touch I filled in my brows a bit with MAC Carbon Black eyeshadow. You need to use a very light hand as it's easy to go overboard.

You can't really see my blush that well in this picture but I used Stila's cream blush in Lillium. I just used my fingers to apply it very lightly.

On my lips I used Clinique's Chubby Stick in Voluptuous Violet as a base (more for the moisture than the pigment) and put Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstick in Red Revival on top of that.

I bought my dress at a local boutique that is now closed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

REVIEW of Nicole by OPI Alex By The Books With SWATCHES

Hello my little bookworms,

Hooray! It's May. And... everything is pretty much the same as it always is. I'm drowning in a sea of assignments and future exams... and about to graduate in less than a month. Hopefully. What better time could there be to discuss Alex By The Books, the polish supposedly inspired by Alex Dunphy, as part of the relatively new Nicole by OPI Modern Family collection. I say "supposedly" as if you take a look at the entire collection it seems like they just randomly assigned characters to colors. And the names aren't incredibly inventive. Anyway, moving on...

Color: Alex By the Books is a light green creme polish. Is it a pastel? Is it a mint green? Is it sea foam green? Is it a For Audrey dupe? I don't know. Why are you so full of questions today? Ask me again when there's a worldwide standardized lexicon for discussing colors. All I can say for certain is that this polish is a mix of blue and green that leans towards the green end of the spectrum and chances are you'll probably be able to find a dupe for it. It's more demure and subdued under certain lighting conditions and a bit brighter under other conditions but it never really approaches the intensity of something like Essie's Mint Candy Apple which I think of as being a bit too harsh.
Formula: The formula was a little thick, especially compared to regular OPI polishes. I think this may be the first Nicole by OPI polish I'm reviewing on this blog and I can't say I was all that impressed with the formula.
Application: The first coat was a bit streaky, but that's usually the case for most polishes. The second coat was relatively smooth but I noticed that the brush was causing streaks to form. I had to be very careful to hold the brush so that it was perfectly flush with the nail. By the third coat the polish was opaque though I could see a few bald stripes near the tips of my nails where the brushstrokes overlapped and I could see where the brush strokes overlapped at the nail bed and on the sides of my nails. Which is all to say that it isn't easy to get even application with this polish.
Wear: I wore this polish for four days and during that time I didn't experience any tip wear or chipping or dulling of the polish (though to be fair, I rarely experience any of those things with my manicures).

CONCLUSION: Alex By the Books is a pretty polish if you're looking for a polish in this color family that leans a bit more green. But though the formula is manageable, I would probably suggest looking for a dupe with a better formula and especially a better brush.


Hi chickadees,

Well, I'm certainly feeling chatty today, aren't I? Guess who is having an allergic reaction to a lip product again? That would be me. I don't really wear lip products on the weekends. On Monday I wore Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstick in Red Revival for a Marilyn-esque look and yesterday I wore Revlon Lip Butter in Lollipop. And today I forgot to put anything on my lips. So my suspects are Red Revival and Lollipop. I'm really hoping Red Revival isn't the culprit because A) I've still got a few Maybelline lipsticks to test B) I really like the Colorsensational formula and C) there is a beautiful variety of shades in the Colorsensational line that I'd hate to miss out because I'm allergic to something in the product. Le sigh... My lips are slathered in Aquaphor Lip Repair so hopefully the issue will clear up soon.


Future Blog Sale?

Hi chickadees,

I'm about to graduate from being a full-time student to well, not being anything in particular for the immediate future as I sort out my life. And as a part of that, I need to begin to clear out the clutter, literally and figuratively. And as I stared at my giant nail polish collection and thought what countless girls think standing in front of their closets in the morning "I have nothing to wear" I came to the conclusion that perhaps it's time to part with some of the polishes that I can't really see myself wearing in the future. It's all well and good to tell yourself that you can keep them for nail art but I'd rather that they go to good homes instead of sitting in the boxes that already take up too much space in my little apartment.

If I were to do this, I would be selling polishes that I've only used once or twice, mainly for reviews on this blog. And since they've all been reviewed here, there's the added bonus of having my insanely long ramblings and tons of swatches. Obviously, the polishes would be discounted to reflect the fact that they've been used and to reflect my opinion of the quality of the polish. And it isn't as though the polishes are ancient. They were all purchased after I started this blog in 2011. So, what do you all think? Would you be interested in something like that?

I love you, readers, and I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to foist my unwanted polishes off on you but I just don't have the space (or revenue) to keep expanding my collection without first getting rid of the polishes I'm not wearing on a regular basis and probably won't wear (or use for art projects) in the future.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments.