Saturday, October 26, 2013

X Factor Live Show 3

Hi chickadees!

OK, you know I'm watching anyway so I might as well say something. I'll just keep it short this week.

1. Tamera Foster
2. Hannah Barrett
2. Sam Bailey
3. Kingsland Road
4. Luke Friend
5. Nicholas McDonald
6. Abi Alton
7. Sam Callahan
8. Rough Copy
9. Miss Dynamix

Rough Copy: Not terrible. Not perfect. Quite boring. You can't just make faces and change the music and convince me that you sound any better than you did 10 seconds ago.
Sam Callahan: Listen, he still doesn't sound great. But he's getting better. It's hard to judge Sam because I really don't even know why he's here.
Hannah Barrett: She looked fantastic this week. I think there could have been a little more to her performance. I know she was standing on a little platform but she could have moved just a little more and emoted more. And I think she needs to tighten up the softer notes when she starts before she hits the chorus. But it was fantastic. Hannah is fantastic. If she doesn't make it to the finals I will be so upset.
Nicholas McDonald: Finally, a suit! This set-up did not work at all. Good vocals. I like Nicholas. I just don't think the show knows what to do with him.
Abi Alton: Still breathy and bordering on flat. However, they do know what to do with Abi. Just... try harder, Abi. I don't mind unusual voices or affectations. But I genuinely question whether you can sing when you perform. That is not a good thing.
Miss Dynamix: Eh. Maybe they should turn the volume up on their mics? It wasn't as fun as it should be if they weren't going to blow us away with power vocals.
Sam Bailey: I can't tell whether I like or hate her dress. I think I like the bodice and hate the skirt. The performance was beautiful. Technically wonderful. But I think she's going to have to be a bit more dynamic in her performances because while it was a very good performance, I could just play Celine's version on Spotify and get the same effect.
Kingsland Road: There were a few issues but for the most part, I think they sounded great. I may be going insane but it seems like they all have decent voices and given how incredibly boring everyone was this week, I think they did fairly well and the performance was good. I think it was a good idea to strand them on the lighting gantry for part of the song and then do a combination of dancing and not dancing. I don't know. I think they still need a find a balance and figure out what kind of boyband they're going to be but they're on the right track.
Luke Friend: I liked it in the way I like performances on reality singing competitions that I will never ever listen to again. Terrible set-up though. I liked that they let him have his guitar but what in God's name were they thinking with the set design?
Tamera Foster: I pretty much feel the same way about Tamera that I did about Sam. No, I definitely liked her dress. But if you're going to sing a Beyonce song that I love you're going to have to be more than competent. All of that gesturing and hair-flipping with the hand that wasn't holding the microphone did nothing for me. I need some emotional connection to the performance or it's just you singing a song well. I'm giving her the top place for technical difficulty even though I didn't enjoy the performance as much as I wanted to.

By the way, I swear I type up my rankings before I know the results of the flash vote. OK, see you next week!

Friday, October 25, 2013

REVIEW of Sinful Colors Polish in Snake It Out With SWATCHES

Hello my little serpents,

I deleted the original post from the first time I tried this polish but I remember that things were not great. However, a few months later, my opinion of Sinful Colors Snake It Out has improved. Let's just jump right into the review, shall we?

Color: Sinful Colors Snake It Out is a shimmery gold magnetic polish. The polish is a cool-toned lighter gold that almost has a touch of green and bronze to it. When I first saw the collection a few months ago at Rite Aid, this is the color that stood out to me as being the most snake-like. Even though this is a magnetic polish, I think you could easily wear this without the magnetic design. However, I do like the depth that the design creates, though it's less of a snakeskin pattern and more of a basic criss cross pattern. The color recedes from the lines so they appear to be almost white and the color gradually fades back in to the center of each square where the color is more concentrated. Depending on the lighting, sometimes this polish looks like a lighter gold, sometimes it looks more bronze-y, and sometimes it has a bit of a green tinge. It's not a duochrome but it looks different under different lighting conditions.
Formula: When I first tried this polish I found it very thick but this time the formula seemed normal. It wasn't noticeably thick or thin. When I first tried this polish it was around about the same time last year so it's not like the heat of the room I was working in should have affected the consistency of the polish. It's a mystery. I should note that this polish smelled rather awful. I know polishes usually don't smell great (unless they're scented) and I don't recommend smelling polishes anyway as even if they're "3 Free" or "5 Free" they're still probably full of chemicals you shouldn't be inhaling. Still, the scent was bad enough for me to notice it but thankfully it was not a strong scent at a distance and the smell faded quickly once the polish was dry.
Application: Application was pretty good. It was definitely an improvement from the last time I tried this polish, which was a complete mess. The polish was smooth and easy to work with. The shimmer made the brushstrokes more noticeable but I didn't have any issues with dragging or being unable to even out the polish. I used three coats to get this polish to full opacity. Now, for the magnet. As with all of the other magnetic polishes, the way this works is that you are supposed to apply your bottom layer(s) of polish and then apply one thick coat of polish and very quickly hold the magnet that comes with the polish over the nail for the recommended amount of time so a pattern appears in the wet polish. I found it a bit tricky to avoid touching the magnet to the nail while still holding it close enough to have an effect on the polish. I messed up the nail on my pointer finger a bit by touching the magnet to the nail. Aside from that, this time I didn't have an issue getting the pattern to appear. It wasn't very dramatic but it was definitely there. Though for whatever reason, it seemed to work better on my left hand (which I photographed) than on my right hand. I think this design might work better on longer nails as the pattern is on the larger side and you will get more of an effect if your nails are longer. I tried this look out on a nail wheel before I used it on my nails and I think the increased surface area helps you get a better impression of the design.
Wear: This is very important. Top coat blurs the design. You will still be able to tell that this isn't an ordinary polish but the criss cross pattern will no longer be distinct. I avoided using top coat on one finger to see how it would hold up. While the polish did look more worn and while I did experience tip wear, I think you could get away with wearing this polish without top coat for a few days. It's worth it if you want to really see the design.

CONCLUSION: I would recommend this polish but I'm not recommending it enthusiastically. I think it's fine as a regular polish, though at five or six dollars, it's a bit more expensive than a regular Sinful Colors polish and I'm not sure the color is worth it. As a magnetic polish, it's OK. If you really want to see the design you should probably wear it without top coat and if you have more issues with chipping than I do, you might want to skip this polish. I'm not unhappy to have it in my collection but I don't think you need this polish.



Hi darlings!

I'm in an awful mood right now. Yesterday I started having an allergic reaction to one of the lip products I've been trying out. The last two products I tried were a tester of a Laura Mercier lip glace at the recent sample sale I covered and Nicka K lipstick in Amethyst so I'm guessing that one of them is the culprit. This certainly throws a wrench in my plan to do lip swatches so I can start reviewing lip products again. It also means I'm taking a break from product testing as my lips are quite raw and inflamed. Hopefully they'll heal soon.

I'm also planning to film my first nail art tutorial soon which is exciting and terrifying. I'm just going to warn you that it could be horrible as I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to editing and filming videos. We'll see what happens. I still have to try and find a standing table mirror so I can actually see what I'm filming. I might have to take a trip to IKEA.

In the meantime, I have two nail polish reviews that I need to write and a Zoya haul and a Laura Mercier sample sale haul that I need to work on. I'm not sure if I'll be able to cover The X Factor UK this week as I have something important to complete. It might depend on whether the performances are worth writing about. We'll see.

Thanks for reading. I am so grateful for all of your support.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Laura Mercier Sample Sale

Hi chickadees!

I made myself leave the apartment today. It's not every day that there's a makeup sample sale so I told myself I had to cover it. After spending last night doing some research I went in with a game plan (translation: a list of the products I wanted) as I'm not familiar with Laura Mercier products. But who is going to pass up 50% off?

The Laura Mercier sample sale is being held at Clothingline from today, Tuesday October 22 through Thursday October 24. Hours are 11am to 7pm. Since the sale is at 261 W 36th St between 7th and 8th Ave the easiest way to get there is to take the A, C, or E to 34th St Penn Station and then walk to 36th St.

The sale was pretty calm when I went by around 4pm. The guy at the coat check said it had been busy earlier in the day but the saleswomen said that they had the same stock all day. I'm not sure what their stock is like but I get the feeling that this is the kind of sale where you don't have to be as worried about them running out of products.

I don't think I've ever been to a sale at Clothingline. There are plenty of signs directing you up to the sale on the second floor. The space is quite large and the Laura Mercier sale is sharing space with a clothing sale. After the coat check, walk all the way back past the checkout line and the clothing sale to the tables at the back. There are a few stations where the products are laid out so you can swatch them. The tables have the exact same set of products so you don't need to bother going to each station. Once you know what you want, just tell one of the saleswomen and she will go get you the products from the boxes behind the table. The saleswomen were all friendly but I don't know how much they know about the products. This isn't Sephora. I would try and get some idea of what the products are like before going to the sale if you aren't already familiar with Laura Mercier.

I expect that a lot of you will have already read the Racked NY post covering the sale so I decided to focus more on the actual products being offered.

For me, the color selection was a little disappointing. In this picture you can see the Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour Lipsticks. The available colors included Iced Melon, Tulip, Cameo, Mod Pink, and Cocoa. I tend to stay away from light pinks because they just aren't flattering on me and while I like dark lipsticks, browns really only look good on women with darker complexions so this was a bit of a letdown. I was hoping to pick up Sienna or Plum Orchid. The lipsticks were $12 though which is a great discount if you do like pinks and browns. 

They were also selling most of the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colors for $10 which is a fantastic discount. That's almost the equivalent of a drugstore product. I had more luck here as they have most of the colors in the line. They were selling Pink Opal, Seashell, Plum, Sapphire, Jungle, Mint Snow, Orchid, Smoke, Grey Pearl, and Sugar Frost. I picked up Plum, Sapphire, and Jungle because I'm apparently convinced that I need blue, green, and purple eyeliners from every brand. I know these aren't eyeliners but cream eyeshadows/eyeshadow bases but I'm probably going to use them as eyeliners. I was really hoping to find Amethyst but unfortunately they are not selling it at this sale. Oh, well. 

You can also see the kohl eye pencils and the brow pencils in this picture which were also being sold for $10. I decided to not be a complete creeper so I didn't take the time to write down the shade selection. There are 7 kohl eye pencils in the line and 5 in the photo so obviously two are missing. My guess is that the missing colors are Black Turquoise and Brown Copper but I can't be sure.
The sale also featured a small selection of regular eyeshadows and the very popular Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liners. The baked shadows and tightline eyeliners were $10 and the illuminating eye color shadows were $12. The illuminating eye color shadows were pretty but I just have too many shades like this already. The three colors on sale were Earth Glow, Fire Glow, and Sun Glow.

As for the Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liners, I was again a bit disappointed by the shade selection. Yes, I do love unconventional colors. But I was hoping to find Black Ebony or Bleu Marine. Black Ebony would have been a practical shade and Bleu Marine would have been a fun one to brighten the eyes a little. Purple and green are a little harder to wear. The colors they had were Plum Riche, Forest Green, and Charcoal Gray. I decided to just get Plum Riche so I could test the formula. 

I did not pay much attention to the Baked shadows as I had read too many bad reviews about the amount of glitter and fallout the night before.

I seem to have forgotten to get a good picture of the three Laura Mercier Lip Glace's that were being sold but they were selling Plum Noir, Pout, and Desert Rose for $12. 

Sun Glow was photographing weirdly so here is a close up.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Compact $20
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Compact $20
Laura Mercier Moisture Supreme Foundation $20
Nail Lacquer $8 
Now anyone who is a frequent reader of this blog knows that I'm a nail polish girl. But the shade selection was just too boring for me. 

If you aren't a fan of Laura Mercier, I don't think this is a sale you need to rush to attend. For me, the nail lacquer selection and the lip products were a bit of a disappointment and I'm not all that interested in foundation or tinted moisturizer. However, I do think they have a respectable selection of eyeliners and the caviar stick eye colors. If you are a fan of Laura Mercier or you want to try the eyeliners or caviar stick eye colors in unconventional colors, then I would pop by the sale if you have the time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October Ipsy Bag

Hello my dears,

My October Ipsy bag came in the mail two days ago. I was getting a little worried that it wasn't coming this month but it is here. I'm not thrilled with this month's ipsy bag but I can't say I'm all that disappointed either. It's still beating my two month subscription to Birchbox. I like that there's an eyeshadow brush and I'm really happy there's a Zoya nail polish and a Zoya promo code but other than that I could kind of take or leave the other products. There's nothing I would really want to switch them out for in this month's ipsy bag but I'll have to use them before I'll know if I'm happy to have received them. Also, I kind of hate eyeshadow pigments. Let me stop rambling and show you the products.

I don't mind the actual bag this month. The material is a little stiff but it feels sturdy. The quote is the kind of meaningless gibberish you find on posters at school book sales and plaques you hang up in your kitchen. I don't love the way it looks but it's always nice to have another makeup bag.
Let's start with my favorite product, the Zoya nail polish. Instantly, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth. I did also place two impulsive orders at Zoya because of the promo code but we'll get to that when my orders comes in the mail. The polish is called Mason. It seems to be a deep magenta shimmer with little flecks of glitter. It's not a polish I probably would have chosen for myself but I don't hate it. By the way, if you want to take advantage of the offer, as far as I know the promo code is non specific so it should work even if you aren't an ipsy subscriber. The promo code is "IPSYZ3." If you buy two polishes, you will be able to purchase a third polish free. Unfortunately if you want free shipping, you will have to spend $55 to qualify as you cannot stack promo codes. This offer will work on the Pixiedust polishes, so if you buy three Pixiedust polishes as I did, you will be able to get the third one free. I'm mentioning this because some of the other promo codes excluded the Pixiedust polishes.

The next product I'm happy to see is a Coastal Scents medium shadow brush. It looks a lot like the Sigma eyeshadow brush I already own. I haven't washed it yet, but it feels reasonably soft. I can always use more eyeshadow brushes (even though I already have a bunch of them from elf) because I'm lazy and I don't always like to wash out my brushes immediately after I've used them (especially if I've used a cream shadow).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

X Factor UK Live Show 2

Hi chickadees!

I'm back for week 2 of the live shows. I missed the live blog this week (I'll be reading it after I write this post). Instead, I watched a John Barrymore/Carole Lombard movie from the 1930's before remembering that it's Saturday and it was time for another episode of the X Factor. But then luckily all the videos had already been uploaded to the youtube page. This week's theme is "love and heartache". So... at least 80% of all songs ever written. Whatever, I'm in a good mood so let's see what the contestants do with this nice vague theme.

Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Hannah Barrett
2. Tamera Foster
3. Luke Friend
4. Sam Bailey
5. Rough Copy
6. Nicholas McDonald
7. Shelley Smith
8. Sam Callahan
9. Abi Alton
10. Kingsland Road

Sam Bailey: Why do they keep putting my favorites in the spot of doom? Sam is singing "To Make You Feel My Love". I know it's a Bob Dylan song but for me, Adele owns this song and unless you do it differently, it's hard to measure up to her standard. Yes, I cried when Lea Michele sang this on Glee. But I still don't think it was one of her best performances. There are four ways of singing a big song like this. Better, worse, equally as well, or differently. Sam ended up somewhere between "not as well" and "different". I think she should have changed the song even more to avoid the comparison. For me, her version was a little too breathy when she wasn't belting. I do think it improved as she went along. It was a very good performance, but it just wasn't my favorite performance from Sam. I just think she could have pushed herself a little more.
Kingsland Road: They chose to sing "Marry You" by Bruno Mars. There are days when I love Bruno Mars and days when his songs are just too saccharine or melodramatic or calculated to me. There was nothing wrong with the performance. At least nothing I can pinpoint. But it was just... there. There was nothing exciting about it. They didn't do anything interesting vocally. It wasn't out of tune (though the part with the lead singer was a little rough). It just wasn't great. The performance wasn't even all that fun. I don't know what it was missing.
Nicholas McDonald: Nicholas sang "She's the One". I am not British. Therefore, I do not know this song. The only Robbie Williams song I know is "Somethin' Stupid" with Nicole Kidman and that's only because it was a Sinatra song first. I mean, I may have heard this song in my years of watching The X Factor but I do not recognize it at all. Why is Nicholas always wearing casual clothes? Seriously, he looks like he just walked in off the street. Did he not have time to change after school? Is there not enough money in the budget to get him a proper wardrobe? Are they spending all the money on plinths so there's none left for Nicholas? So many questions. None of them related to his performance. Right. Getting back on track. His first "if there's somebody" was not good. The silent dancers in black were creepy. Guys, it's not Halloween week yet. Calm down. Other than that, it was a very pretty performance. There were a few notes here and there that weren't perfect but all in all, a very nice job. He's very cute but right now I don't know if he's a star. He doesn't have that Rebecca Ferguson thing where he seems very shy or nervous. But for whatever reason he just doesn't seem to perform as well as he sings.
Abi Alton: Oh, here we go. Abi is singing "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie. Oh, pink umbrellas. That's cute. I do like her dress. Uh oh. The dancers seem to think they're backing up Rylan, and not Abi. Why does she need dancers anyway? Well, Abi's voice is still very breathy and weak. It's not exactly that her voice is nasal. It's just not being projected out the right way. You can hear it when she sings the word "arms". That long, exposed vowel shows the way she's not singing properly. When she sang "won't you stay" I wasn't sure if she was straining to hit the note or intentionally trying to imbue her voice with a wispy quality. Either way, failure. I think what annoys me about Abi is that will never be a brilliant singer. But she is a decent singer... who refuses to try very hard.
Shelley Smith: Oy. Shelley is singing "Single Ladies". I don't even... why? I just... Nevermind. Let's get it over with. The big disco ball is distracting. The eye makeup ages her horribly. It was fine. The performance was an improvement from last week though I think her voice isn't big enough for a song like this and she kind of got lost once the uptempo part really kicked in. I think the biggest problem with the performance is that Shelley feels like an "Over". Unlike Sam, she doesn't seem to own who she is. Or who she is is someone's recently divorced aunt doing karaoke at a wedding.
Sam Callahan: Sam is singing "I Won't Give Up." That's the spirit! It's still very shaky. That's not vibrato. That's bad breath control. That slightly whiny affectation is a little less annoying in slow ballad form. OK, he's probably never going to be my favorite singer because of all the little idiosyncrasies that I just find so irritating about his voice. And he's probably never going to be the best singer in the competition. But it was better this week. Much better. I still wouldn't call it good, but I respect that he's probably been working hard to improve his singing. So, A for effort.
Tamera Foster: Tamera is singing "Beneath Your Beautiful". I'm not familiar with this song because sue me, I don't have the time to listen to every new artist that someone tells me is popular. I get to things in my own time. Which is usually 3 years late. I just got Spotify a few days ago. I think Tamera sounded gorgeous. A too little breathy and wispy at first for my taste but otherwise, a very good performance. What do you want me to say? It's harder to critique songs I don't know. I think there were one or two spots where I couldn't tell if she landed the note she was trying to hit but they were very minor things.
Luke Friend: Luke is singing "Let Her Go." I can't decide if I like or hate this song. Let's see if Luke's performance will sway my opinion. Well, it's a nice easy song to sing, which is great for Luke. He sounds pretty good. He's still a little rough at the ends of phrases but it's actually kind of pleasant. Did I actually like a Luke Friend performance? Yes. Let's just stop speaking about this.
Rough Copy: They chose to sing "I Want It That Way." They are apparently really determined to sell the 90's boy band thing. One of them is wearing a pleated wrap skirt. It wasn't perfect but when you sing a Backstreet Boys song you set off my nostalgia sensors and it's hard for me to judge things objectively. The boy band sound should be very smooth. There were maybe 4 rough spots. But they're people, not robots or a manufactured group lip-synching to an autotuned track. So, another performance in the good not great category. Moving on...
Hannah Barrett: Hannah is singing "Beautiful." I wasn't in love with the start of the song. I think her breath control was a little shaky. Just because you're singing more quietly, it doesn't mean you don't still have to support those notes. Hannah sounded so much like Lauryn Hill to me during this performance. You know it was fantastic once the song really kicked into gear. Why are you waiting for me to tell you that? She brought back that grit and those gorgeous low notes.

All in all, this wasn't a fantastic week in terms of song choices or performances. I did enjoy some of the performances but I don't think they're really going to stay with me. I'm hoping for better next week when the theme is... Songs from films. Oh, great. Well, see you next week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Hello chickadees!

No cute preamble or greeting today. Honestly, I have no idea what the name of this polish is referencing. Anti-freeze? I don't know. The polish in question is Anti-Bleak which was released as part of the Mariah Carey for OPI collection that also brought us A Butterfly Moment and Stay the Night. I loved both of those polishes so hopefully Anti-Bleak will continue the trend. Keep reading to find out.

Color: OPI Anti-Bleak is a reddish purple creme polish. In bright direct sunlight it can almost appear to be a muted fuchsia. In normal direct sunlight it's a basic red-toned purple. In the shade, it looks like a lighter version of Essie Carry On. And indoors at night it can look like a very dark, brownish red.
Formula: The formula is a little thicker than normal for an OPI polish. In my experience, OPI polishes tend to be very liquid-y and not very viscous.
Application: The first coat applied smoothly though I did notice one bubble. The second coat applied very smoothly as well and I noticed that the polish appeared very shiny even without top coat. I needed to apply three coats to get this polish to full opacity. I generally found application to be smooth but with this polish it's important to make sure you have enough polish on the brush so it doesn't drag over the last layer of polish. It's a good formula, but it's not perfect.
Wear: I wore this polish for six days. It's one of those polishes that seems to attract smudges. I had no real trouble removing it. It was a little messy but I didn't experience any staining.

CONCLUSION: I would recommend this polish. It's not something you need to own but if you're looking for a color like this in your collection, Anti-Bleak is a good choice based on the formula.


Monday, October 14, 2013

I love makeup "Hannah Hart vs. Winged Eyeliner" Giveaway Prize

Hello darlings!

Oh my God, can you believe it? I won a giveaway! I won a giveaway! I never win giveaways!

OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's move on to showing you the prizes. If you don't my share my excitement over winning you can just pretend this is a haul.

I'm so happy that I get to try out these products as Bobbi Brown is a bit pricey. But if it's worth the indulgence, I'll make the splurge once in a while so I'm thrilled to get the chance to try out these products and see if they're worth purchasing. Not only will it mean more reviews for you (when I get around to writing them) but even if I don't love the specific colors it will give me an idea of what the formula is like. This is all to say that I've been eyeing their colorful gel liners for a while and I want to see how the formula measures up against the gel liners I've tried in the past.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

X Factor UK: Live Show 1

Hi chickadees,

Well, I don't know how good I'll be to you today. I sat through Stuart Heritage's liveblog of the show for The Guardian for 2 hours and then I followed that up by watching Glee's tribute to Cory Monteith. But I promised to at least try to cover the live shows so here it goes.

Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Sam Bailey
2. Tamera Foster
3. Rough Copy
4. Lorna Simpson
5. Hannah Barrett
6. Kingsland Road
7. Nicholas McDonald
8. Miss Dynamix
9. Abi Alton
10. Shelley Smith
11. Luke Friend
12. Sam Callahan

Hannah Barrett: Why did they give my beloved Hannah the spot of death? Apparently voters have a hard time remembering the first acts of the night or tuning in on time so the act that starts the show is automatically at a disadvantage. It was a capable performance but it wasn't a powerhouse performance. She didn't push harder than she had to and I did hear her kind of dropping off during the ends of phrases. This felt like the kind of performance an older diva like Tina Turner would give on a tour later in her career. It would be a perfect middle of the show number to pander to the fans who came to hear her biggest hits where she didn't have to try very hard. That said, I still really liked Hannah and I enjoyed the performance even if I wasn't wowed by it. If nothing else, it showed that she's comfortable on stage. I'm not sure how I feel about the staging and the outfit and makeup. It felt 80s in the way Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory video felt kind of 80s but I don't think they fully achieved what they were trying to do.
Nicholas McDonald: Seriously, all that footage of him in the suit and he's just in a casual outfit?Fine. It was a pretty song which suits him but I thought he sounded rather nasal and his vowels were not nice and open. I did hear him going a bit flat on a few notes as well. The falsetto on "all night long" was weak. The whole prom thing was awful. Don't make your performer look like the random performer that gets hired for the dance in the teen movie. Sure I like Letters to Cleo and Save Ferris, but how many people remember the names of the bands who played the prom in 10 Things I Hate About You? I do think Nicholas is pretty adorable and when he's singing out... in his range... it works.
Miss Dynamix: Their blend is still very rough. It was a very fun, colorful performance and I do love The Pointer Sisters (even though I'm a bigger fan of Fire and Slow Hand). As I said in my recap of my performers after judges' houses, I think their success is going to depend on whether they get the votes to stay in the competition long enough to begin to work together as a group. They need to learn how to sing together and hopefully start harmonizing. They are decent solo singers and I love girl groups so I'm on their side. They just need work. There were parts of the performance I really enjoyed but the rough patches were undeniable.
Sam Bailey: Sam looks fantastic. Bad move with the flowers though. It made it seem like those videos that play with the karaoke tracks. She took a while to get into the song. I would have liked to see her start belting sooner. But once she was there I felt so comfortable watching her. A strong performer doesn't make you hold your breath for the high notes but they might make you gasp afterwards. When you watch a strong performer, you know they're going to hit the notes and you know you're going to enjoy the performance. You don't have to be nervous for them. I don't know if she was mimicking Celine or if that is just the way she pronounces certain words but I liked that it gave the song character. Sam's performance just made me smile.
Sam Callahan: I hate that vocal affectation he has. It just sounds whiny to me. And I know I grew up in the 90s and I should be used to it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. The affectation makes his vocals so shaky and pitchy that it makes it very difficult to tell if he's singing badly or singing like that intentionally. It sounds like he's straining to hit the notes, cracking a few times, and kind of weak on landing the notes. But the song and his vocal affectation hid it most of the time, so kudos to him for that? I was waiting for him to throw that red baseball cap into the audience. That tells you how exciting I found his performance.
Kingsland Road: They started out OK. I thought the lead singer's voice sounded pretty good. Then he got to "I make you happy with the" and the sound almost completely dropped out because his voice just isn't that strong. They sounded a lot clearer and sharper tonight. I almost wonder if they were pre-recorded or if they turned the microphones up. The one with the weird hair (don't make the joke... it's too easy) did crack a few times.
Shelley Smith: She started by kind of swallowing the notes. They were all in the back of her throat instead of being projected out towards the audience. Do not pick a powerhouse song if you're not a powerhouse singer. This has been one of my biggest problems with Shelley from the start. She picks songs that are frankly more than she can handle. It got better once the chorus kicked in but it still wasn't special. I can see why Shelley ended up in the bottom of the flash voting thing. Also, this show freaking loves plinths.
Abi Alton: Oh, yeah. This is what I needed in my life. A really boring version of Livin' On A Prayer with an altered melody to hide how weak the singer is. Bad breath control. Irritatingly closed vowels. Always on the verge of cracking or going flat. If I want to hear a kinder, gentler version of a rock or pop song I can just head to youtube and find people with talent, thank you very much.
Lorna Simpson: She started out a little weak and was kind of shaky on a few notes. I loved the little growl but I wish the vowel on the word "like" hadn't been so rough. But from that point on things got better. I do think it was still a little rough. She needs to open up those vowels or it just sounds like she's screaming at you. I loved the little high notes. She definitely has a voice. She just needs to work on refining it. I know she's barely an Over at 26 but I really hope she doesn't get lost in the shuffle because I do like her and I want her to get the time she needs to come into her own. A few weeks of working with all the coaches behind the scenes and Lorna could be a great pop star.
Tamera Foster: Tamera started off really strong. She kind of lost the ends of phrases a bit as the song went on and something odd happened when she suddenly turned her back to the judges. She didn't really go flat or anything that was easy to pinpoint but it was just indefinably not right for a few moments. But other than those little things, I really liked the performance. It seems like Tamera has really been putting in some hard work rehearsing and gaining confidence.
Luke Friend: Well, his vocals are still very shaky. It's like he's afraid the world will be destroyed if he actually sings a note properly. It was also a little flat. It's times like this that I miss Aiden Grimshaw's weird intensity. He would have known how to sing a song like "Every Breath You Take". As much of a mess as this was, I really like this song so I probably won't put him at the very bottom of my rankings.
Rough Copy: Yay, their third member is back! So, here's the thing. I like their voices. But I don't think they are strong individual singers. They don't have a lot of power. Thankfully they do seem to enjoy singing together (unlike Miss Dynamix). There were a few weak spots here and there but it was barely noticeable. It was very 90s boy band but I enjoyed it. The storms and the light show were too much, though.

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into the Live Shows... Boys

Hello my dears,

Now, I'm not calling the Boys the weakest category this year just because they have Louis Walsh as their mentor. I'm not. Really. Part of the reason I think they're the weakest group is my personal bias as far as my taste in music goes. I mainly listen to female vocalists and when I do listen to male singers they're usually Broadway performers, Nat King Cole, 50's-60's crooners, country singers, or the frontmen of bands... and none of those labels describe the guys in this category. For me, so far none of them have really shown the skills for me to take them seriously as singers I would listen to outside of this competition.

Nicholas McDonald: Of the guys, Nicholas is my favorite. He has a very pleasant voice and a lovely warm tone. Aside from his judges' houses performances, I have enjoyed all of his performances, largely because he sounds like someone who has had some training. Basically, he sounds like a choir boy. I don't know if he has star quality but with training and the right look and the right genre, he could melt a sufficient number of teenage hearts to make it far in the competition. His Bootcamp performance made me question how big of a range he really has and whether his vocals are powerful enoughful to tackle big songs. It could be a problem later on in the competition when he is given uptempo numbers or has to stand out next to the power singers in the Girls and Over-25's categories. I can see him getting lost in the mix or struggling to define himself.
Luke Friend: I find his vocals to be breathy, shaky, and strained. I think he has poor breath control and you can hear the way the notes quaver because they aren't well supported.
Sam Callahan: I think he has a very weak voice and right now his main selling point is that his looks might make him popular with a younger female demographic.

Monday, October 7, 2013

REVIEW of Julie G Nail Color in Holla-Peno With SWATCHES

Hello my little chili peppers,

Guess what I have for you today... That's right! Another green polish review! If you're already tired of all the green polishes I've reviewed in the past because you don't wear green nail polish, I'm sorry, but it's a very flattering color for my skintone and I've bought a ton of green polishes so I have to get around to reviewing them. Perhaps I can tempt you to stick around by telling you that this is not just a green nail polish but the first Julie G polish I am reviewing. I've just never been attracted to any of the colors in the collection until I saw this polish reviewed on The Polishaholic. Also, they only sell this polish at Rite Aid and I have to go way out of the way to

Color: Julie G Holla-Peno is a medium green creme polish. I don't own Essie Mojito Madness but I wonder if it would be a dupe. The exact shade of green is somewhere between a bright spring green and a kelly green. It doesn't have enough yellow to be a spring green and it isn't as dark as a kelly green. It's a somewhat leafy, grassy green. I find it very flattering with the yellow undertones of my skin and demure enough to wear if you're a bit wary of louder green polishes.
Formula: I found this polish to be a little thick.
Application: Get ready for another long explanation. OK, so starting with my left hand (painting with my dominant hand), the first coat was smooth but a little sheer. I found that the polish applied a little streaky and the brush dragged a little on the thumb. When I applied the second coat I experienced more dragging. The polish wasn't very thick at this point but it would not apply evenly. By the third coat the polish was thick and threading slightly (forming threads of polish when the brush was pulled out of the bottle). The polish looked opaque at this point though under close inspection (I used a flashlight for the light test) I could see that the application was still patchy as the polish hadn't applied evenly. After I applied a layer of Seche Vite the polish looked better though it still had that slightly lumpy appearance of unevenly applied polish. Working on my right hand, the polish was thick, streaky, and difficult to even out. The polish wasn't super thick and gloopy like some of the worst polishes I've tried but it would not apply evenly and had a slightly lumpy appearance. The polish applied smoothly, without dragging but it just didn't apply evenly and it was impossible to smooth out with the brush without making matters worse.
Wear: I wore this polish for six days, experiencing the tiniest bit of tip wear but nothing that significant. If you're wondering why the nail on my middle finger looks like that, it's because I tried out a new top coat on that finger and it didn't dry properly.

CONCLUSION: This polish is very cheap. I bought my bottle at Rite Aid for $4. But even so, I can't recommend it based on the poor application. However, I do like the color so if you don't mind the poor application, I might give this polish a try if you are just looking to try out a green polish. However, if you already have a few greens in your collection, you don't need this one.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into the Live Shows... Groups

Hello chickadees,

It's time to break down the Group Category. Someone who is better at predicting the outcome of reality singing competitions might see a clear winner in this category but I am awful at predicting the outcome of reality singing competitions so I've just been going off of who seems the most talented. Foolish of me, I know. Gary Barlow is mentoring the groups this year. Based on the last two seasons he's been a judge, I'm taking that to mean that they have a shot of getting to the finals if they're talented but they'll probably be mismanaged along the way. I don't know if he has the most talented groups but he's definitely playing it safe.

Miss Dynamix: Miss Dynamix? Really? At least try and hide the fact that you're trying to create another Little Mix. Right now their problem is that they're a newly formed group. In spite of the judges constantly talking them up, I don't see them working well as a group yet. I do think they are capable solo singers and they had their moments in the judges' houses performance. Miss Dynamix's success in the competition will largely be based on song choice and how quickly they can begin to work together as a group. If they can bring personality to their backstage segments and fan interactions, they might be able to buy themselves a few weeks to figure things out but right now they aren't sparking as quickly as One Direction or Little Mix did.
Kingsland Road: Kingsland Road is our traditional boy band entry this year. I'm surprised that they're the only ones who made it to judges' houses but I do think it's smart to only have one boy band like this in the live shows so they don't split the vote. So far they have not impressed me. Their early performances were kind of rough and not having all that extra material (aside from the performances) all I conclude at this point is that they don't seem to be as charming as One Direction or as talented as Union J. Though I did like their judges' houses performance. I don't know if it was the more intimate setting, but I didn't feel like they were straining as much to project their voices or hit the notes. They also go awfully high pitched for those harmonies. But they could always win me over once the competition starts. I certainly don't hate them as much as District3.
Rough Copy: I think Rough Copy were really charming when they first auditioned. They definitely have stage presence and good voices but I'm feeling the loss of their third member. It sounds strange because there are all of these solo performers who can command the stage on their own but I think Rough Copy needs another member. Maybe it's the songs they're choosing or the arrangements but there just seems to be a little bit of strain, especially compared to the other two groups who can fall back on their other members.

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into the Live Shows... Overs

Hello peanuts,

Now that we've discussed the Girls category, let's move onto what I think is the next strongest category: the Overs. I know. I feel like I should be checked into a mental institution for just typing that sentence. But this is the first time since I started watching in season 7 that I feel like the Over-25 category is populated by more than the acts that everyone knows have zero chance of winning unless someone organizes a group of anti-X Factor fanatics who have never read Audre Lorde. Sharon Osbourne is mentoring the Overs this year and as I've never seen a season where Sharon served as a judge, I have no idea what that means.

Overs Finalists
Sam Bailey: Sam is clearly the one to root for. She fits the profile of the contestant you root for.... unprepossessing and unassuming with a big voice. She's the contestant who wouldn't have been discovered without a show like The X Factor. She has great power and great control. So far, I haven't loved any of her performances as much as I enjoyed her rendition of Who's Loving You but her judges' houses performance was very strong and placed her as a clear frontrunner. If she has the public's support, Sharon could take Sam to the finals.
Lorna Simpson: Speaking of Whitney Houston, we also have Lorna Simpson in the Overs category, who auditioned with I Have Nothing and performed I Wanna Dance With Somebody at Bootcamp. At 26, she just qualifies for the Over-25s which is lucky given how much competition there was in the Girls category this year. They barely let the international viewers see anything of her rendition of I Have Nothing, but from what I have to go on, I will say that it sounded great in spite of a few rough spots. Lorna is another power singer but like Whitney, she can bring both power and those lovely delicate high notes. I think her belting is a little rough around the edges and can be a little shouty but she's definitely one to watch in the competition. I'll be interested to see how she fares once we can actually pay attention to her as a competitor. She hasn't gotten all of that extra backstory material (at least on the youtube channel) so I find myself forgetting her. Based on how she looked in her three performances, I think she might be comfortable changing up her look so I hope she doesn't become one of those contestants who gets that B.S. critique of "you're talented but I don't know who you are as an artist."
Shelley Smith: I want to like Shelley. I really do. Actually, scratch that. I do like Shelley. I just haven't been impressed with her performances. Shelley is fun. She can dance around and command the stage. But she just doesn't fare well compared to the powerful voices of Sam and Lorna. She can shimmy all she wants but if you're going to sing the kinds of songs she wants to sing, you have to bring it, and I just don't think she can. I've been waiting for her to change my mind and convince me that she has more to offer than vocal acrobatics and if she does, I'll start championing her during the live shows but right now I still think she's choosing the wrong songs.

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into The Live Shows... Girls

Hi chickadees,

I know no one is reading this but I just need to get my thoughts out. Of the finalists, Hannah Barrett is far and away my favorite contestant but so far I haven't felt any "wow" moments this season. That might be due to the short performance clips and lack of extra footage that they're posting on the youtube channel for the international viewers but I think it also says something about the performers. Sure, there were some interesting voices in the group that went to judges' houses but I haven't been knocked back by anyone's talent or invested in their journey to win. But that could always come in the following weeks. As of now, I'm tentatively planning to cover the live shows, but you know me. I could always get distracted or occupied by other things. I'd like to spend this post going through the Girls category and briefly touching on the contestants who are leaving us after the judges' houses phase of the competition.

Nicole Scherzinger is mentoring the category this year and if her acts prove popular, I think she has a great chance of winning for the second year in a row. But that is a big if. From my perspective as an international fan who is only watching the youtube clips, it seems like the girls in her category have gotten a lot of screentime this season which is always a good indication of who they want you to pay attention to and sympathize with.

Hannah Barrett: As I've said, Hannah is my favorite. I think she has a great sound. I may be channeling Louis and being completely off base with my references but I hear a little Lauryn Hill in her voice. I don't think she has the best control or the most power but she has great stage presence and I love that raw, dirty, gritty quality she can bring out in her vocals. She has already given so many great performances. I hope Nicole let's her have a say in her song choices. I'm totally fine with her doing older songs like A Change is Gonna Come and I'd Rather Go Blind and really looking for the songs that suit her voice. I don't know if she'll be popular enough to make it until the end, but if we're just going on talent, I think she could make it. (Oh, but please stop doing whatever it is you're doing to make her cry before almost every performance.)
Tamera Foster: Tamera had a bit of a rough start. She lacks polish and training and confidence. Her judges performance was her best one so far. She had much more control. She didn't forget the words. And she chose a great song. I don't think she really has the vocal power required for the songs she tries to tackle but I do like her.
Abi Alton: Oh, Abi. Maybe if she didn't look so much like singer songwriters that I do like (namely Lisa Loeb and Ingrid Michaelson) I wouldn't be as hard on her but I just don't see anything there. I know they're moving in this phase where they want people like James Arthur and Lucy Spraggan and Ella Henderson who can write songs and maybe play an instrument instead of just power singers who can impress you with their vocal tricks. But I just don't think Abi is that special. Her vocals are always very breathy and honestly, I can just think of people who do a version of what Abi does better. They have the voice to back up the quirkiness.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Drugstore Product Stalking: Harmon Face Values 2131 Central Park Avenue

Hello darlings!

That's right, I went all the way to the suburbs for this one. You're welcome.
Let's begin with the most wonderful discovery I made, the Revlon by Marchesa collection of nail appliques is out. They are selling for $7.49 each which, while expensive for something you'll only use once, is still cheaper than the Essie nail stickers. I could not help myself. I grabbed four of these designs. And yes, I will be trying to mimic the designs and report back to you if I can come up with nail art designs.
These new lip crayons from Revlon seem to be modeled off the Kissable Balm Stains. The matte side of the display was pretty empty when I went by but in the interest of research, I grabbed one of the red lacquer balms from the left side of the display. It was $6.99 but since there's currently a sale on Revlon lip products at Harmon's it only cost $5.99.
I'm not quite sure how these are supposed to be different from the Maybelline Colorsensational High Shine Lip Glosses. They come with an applicator that looks less like the Colorsensational High Shine Lip Glosses and more like the YSL glossy stains or the Lancome Fever Glosses. They are $6.79 each.
L'Oreal seems to have had the same idea as Revlon with the matte and lacquer line of lip products. Maybe it's just my love of chunky lip crayons, but I wasn't tempted to purchase anything from this display. These were selling for $5.99

The Covergirl Hunger Games collection display is out. Nothing really caught my eye. 
I've never been a big fan of Revlon eyeshadows. I'm not sure how you build a palette from these individual eyeshadow pans. I think they can connect together but I can also see that being more trouble that it's worth. Anway, each eyeshadow is $2.49. 
I love the bottles for this new line of scented Revlon nail polishes but I can't say I'm really taken with the concept. Each bottle costs $4.79. I just don't think the idea of urging people to smell nail polishes, which usually contain harmful chemicals is really the best idea in the world and I can't imagine the scent really lingering.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REVIEW of Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer in 95 Blue Marks the Spot With SWATCHES

Hello my little buccaneers,

I know I've been quiet for a little while. I'm still here. I was just testing products instead of writing reviews. Even though I only use a polish once before reviewing it, I like to be thorough when it comes to reviewing lip products and makeup and skincare so I'm holding off on the reviews until I feel like I can give you my complete and honest opinion. Anyway, today I'm bringing you a very thorough review of Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots Nail Lacquer in 95 Blue Marks the Spot. Whew! That's quite a mouthful, isn't it? I knew this polish would be a little sheer from the swatches I've seen online so I wanted to see how it would look with different bases so you could get an idea of how you'd like to wear this polish. The results were less than stellar.

Color: Maybelline Blue Marks the Spot is a very sheer medium blue polish with black and white confetti. The polish contains both black and white hex confetti and small black and white speckles. I think the color is pretty enough though I was bothered by how sheer the polish was. I'll go into it further in the application section. I do like the way it looks a bit like a jelly sandwich with the top pieces of confetti standing out while the bottom layers appear submerged in the polish.
Formula: Being very sheer, the polish was rather thin though it did start to thicken as I was almost finished with the application and the glitter occasionally clumped up.
Application: OK, this is about to get complicated. On my left hand I used three different bases. On my pinky and middle fingers I used one coat of my regular Milani Smoothe Base Coat. On my ring finger and my pointer finger I used a thick coat of Elmer's glue. On my thumb I used my Milani base coat topped with one coat of OPI Samoan Sand. I used four coats of polish in my misguided attempt to get to full opacity. The first coat applied a decent amount of confetti but almost no color. It was if I just applied a sheer top coat with a light blue tint. Application of the first coat was smooth. The application of the second coat was also smooth though I could see where the brushstrokes overlapped. I applied a bit more confetti than I wanted to with this coat as I couldn't control the glitter placement at all. my thumb with the added coat of OPI Samoan Sand was a bit more opaque than the other nails but the polish was still very sheer. The third coat also applied smoothly but there was so much confetti! I tried my best to smooth out the confetti into 1 layer instead of letting it clump up. By the fourth coat, application was still smooth but the glitter was getting very thick. At four coats the polish was nowhere near opaque but coverage was pretty even. I wouldn't even call this a jelly. It's just a very sheer polish.

Now, with my right hand I tried different tricks to get to fully opacity. On my pinky and ring fingers I applied one coat of my Milani Smoothe Base Coat followed by two coats of Zoya Purity so I would have a white base. On my pointer and middle fingers I applied one coat of my Milani Smoothe Base Coat followed by two coats of OPI Samoan Sand so I would have a nude base. On my thumb, I applied one coat of my Milani Smoothe Base Coat followed by two coats of Essie Mesmerize so I would have a dark blue base. This was a terrible idea as all of these nails didn't look nearly as good as the hand with the sheer polish. Application was smooth for the first two coats. The polish was still very sheer but now I had the additional issue of trying to cover up the base color. With the third coat, I noticed that the polish seemed to be getting thicker. The polish was threading a little. That is, when I pulled the brush out of the bottle, a thread of polish stuck to the brush. It wasn't threading that badly as the threads were short and broke quickly but it was definitely threading. Since I had applied so much confetti (not having any control over this polish) to my thumb, I only applied two coats of the polish. Application was still smooth on the fourth coat but the polish was thick and threading as with the fourth coat. It doesn't appear so bad in the photos below but with all of the nails, the base color is very obvious. If you have to use this polish, I would recommend just using base coat or Elmer's glue.
Wear: I only wore this polish for two days because it looked so horrible and I had somewhere to be. As for removal, the polish came off easily. It was the confetti that was the issue. I had to pick at it a little but the polish on the nails with the Elmer's glue as a base came off pretty easily. I would recommend using a glue base coat as it looks the same as using a regular base coat and removal is much easier.

CONCLUSION: I would not recommend this polish based on the difficult application and sheerness. However, if you're determined to have it because you like the look and the price, I would use Elmer's glue as a base coat to save yourself the trouble of removing this polish with polish remover.
SWATCHES (So many photos...)