Tuesday, December 31, 2013

REVIEW of Julie G Nail Color in Shimmer Island With SWATCHES

Hello my archipelago of faithful readers,

OK, I know that one was a stretch. Anyway, this is the last Julie G polish I have to review for you (unless I go out to Rite Aid and get a few more of them). I know I haven't really had many nice things to say about these polishes in the past but Shimmer Island was a nice change from the two creme polishes I tried. I'm not saying that it's inspired me to go out and stock up on Julie G polishes but I might think about picking up some more of the unconventional shades the next time I go to Rite Aid (whenever that is).

Color: Julie G Shimmer Island is a yellow green foil polish. I hemmed and hawed over how to categorize the finish and I've decided to go with a foil. Really, it reminds me a lot of Zoya Seraphina and a little of Revlon Carbonite. I'm not sure if it's a true foil or more of a flakie/foil/glitter hybrid. The first layer appears to be more of a flakie where small flakes of glitter are suspended in a sheer green-tinted base. As you build up the layers it appears more like a foil or a glitter. I definitely want to try this as a top coat. The color reminds me of Tinkerbell or Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. It has the light springy, grassy green quality. Sometimes the polish appears more like a true green and sometimes it seems to be more like a gold polish with a slight green tint. It can look a bit more textured like Revlon Carbonite or Butter London Wallis or it can look more like a glitter or foil with little flecks of sparkle depending on how it catches the light. I find that in brighter lighting conditions it looks more like a foil or glitter polish and in the shade under dimmer lighting it appears to have more of that Revlon Carbonite look.
Formula: The formula is on the thinner side as the polish consists of glitter suspended in a very thin transparent base as opposed to glitter suspended in a creme polish. 
Application: The first coat applied smoothly. This isn't a polish that is really going to drag as it's a very thin base with a glitter suspension so it's almost like applying a thin top coat. It is very sheer though. The second coat also applied smoothly but while it was very shimmery it was far from opaque. At three coats, the polish was still not fully opaque so I added a fourth coat. With the fourth coat, the polish still wasn't fully opaque but it looked fine because of all the shimmer. I think it came across better than Seraphina (you'll remember that I had issues with how sheer that polish was) because it seemed more like a thin, sheer polish than a patchy one. Shimmer Island applied very evenly so the sheerness seemed intentional.
Wear: I only wore this polish for a few days. Maybe three or four. I'm still disconnected from my laptop so I can't be certain. It was relatively easy to remove for a glitter though those little pieces of glitter were impossible to get off. It's two manicures later and I still have one or two pieces of glitter stuck to my nails. It really is the herpes of art supplies. I might use glue as a base coat if I wore this again.

CONCLUSION: It really is a very pretty polish. I got lots of compliments on it on the few days I was wearing it. I would say that if the idea of a Tinkerbell/Tiana polish appeals to you, go ahead and get Julie G Shimmer Island. It's only $4 at Rite Aid and it applies nicely if you don't mind the sheerness. So far it is the only Julie G polish that I've tried that I can say that I genuinely liked.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Alexis Bittar Sale

Hi chickadees!

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates Christmas and Happy Wednesday to everyone else. I thought I'd just do a very quick post highlighting some of my picks from the Alexis Bittar sale currently happening on the website before everything is out of stock. There is no promo code needed. Just go to the sale section. The discount is 30%-50% off the original retail price.

UPDATE: Use the code EXTRA10 for an extra 10% off sale items.

Jardin de Papillon Gold Moss Agate And Labradorite Sanctuary Pendant $173
Jardin de Papillon Ruthenium & Capped Blue Mystic Hydro Quartz Leverback Earring $136.50

Jardin de Papillon Gold Small Butterfly Labradorite Caviar Pendant $173
Neo Bohemian Ombre Gold Pave Dragonfly $157.50

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December Ipsy Glam Bag

Hello bumblebees,

As a lovely little pick me up while I'm still disconnected from my laptop, I received my December ipsy glam bag in the mail a few days ago. And though I haven't tried the products yet, I love love love this month's ipsy bag. I love the bag itself and the fake quilted patent leather look of it, even if it did have a bit of a smell. I love the placement of the zipper. I just think it's so adorable and it's almost cute enough to be a regular clutch.
Again, I haven't tried the products yet but I'm excited to start using them. Two lip products, a nail polish, a small eyeshadow palette, and some fragrance samples? I feel like ipsy is finally "getting" me and I definitely feel like I got my money's worth with this bag. Maybe it's just the absence of hair products.

My favorite product in the bag is probably still the nail polish. It's not as bright as it appears in this photo but it's winter and it keeps snowing so I can't be too choosy about the photos in my posts at the moment. Anyway, I can always find some use for a red nail polish and I haven't tried Nicka K before. I have seen it in beauty supply stores around the city and I know it's a cheaper brand but it's not one that I would likely purchase for myself so it'll be nice to try out the formula.
Next I suppose I can talk about the Be a Bombshell The One Stick. This is one of those all in one sticks that is meant to be used on eyelids, lips, or cheeks but as mine is red, I think I'll stick to using this on my lips. I may use it on my cheeks just as an experiment. You can't see it in the photo but there's a bit of glitter in this product. You know how I feel about glitter in lip products but I'll give this a fair shot. I do love the packaging though.

This is the Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in Smokin Hot. I've seen pop beauty being sold at Duane Reade but I've never felt particularly moved to buy anything from the brand as they just seem a bit too expensive for the drugstore. I actually tried out this eyeshadow trio out briefly. I just used my elf primer underneath and the sponge tip applicator that comes with the palette but it applied pretty nicely. It seemed pigmented and I didn't have too much of an issue with fallout aside from the glitter. I would say that my main concern is figuring out how to wear glittery gray eyeshadows, but I'm up for the challenge. Oh, and I'm not sure how pigmented the white shade is but I'll work it out. 
Yes, they're perfume samples but these perfume samples from English Laundry are actually on the larger side and I do think I like the way they smell. My only qualm is that I tend to collect a lot of perfume samples and then never try any of them so I don't know how much use I'll get out of these.

And finally we have a NYX lipstick in Sky Pink. I have nothing against NYX as I haven't really tried anything from the brand but I find it very tricky to wear light pink or nude lip products so I'm not that excited to begin testing this.

Zoya Nail Polish Haul

Hello darlings!

I placed another naughty order a while ago. I think instead of sending me into a state of hibernation, the cold weather is inspiring me to shop. I've been pinning (on Pinterest) Zoya polishes from the newest collections for a while and when I saw two, yes two, sale offers I just couldn't help myself. I used one offer to get a free Pixiedust polish and another to get a free green nail polish. I am filled with shame.

But that's a conversation for another day.
You're already met Seraphina. I loved the idea of a light silver polish for the winter but sadly the finish and formula left something to be desired. I'm happy to have it in my collection but I wouldn't mind seeing another brand create a dupe for this polish that was more a traditional shimmer and that wasn't as sheer. Sorry about the bare nails, by the way. They look so naked without polish. 
This is a Dream. She's a stunner, isn't she? I can't wait to try this polish out but at the same time, I'm waiting for the right occasion. I think this will be a polish that is sure to get compliments.
Maria Luisa was my other unconventional pick. It reminds me a little of OPI Goldeneye. I think I'll try this as both a polish and a top coat for the review. I thought I was over gold leaf top coats but I couldn't resist this one after I saw it swatched.
Now for the Pixiedust polishes. This is Chita. I can't imagine her being named for anyone other than Chita Rivera. I don't think will be as vibrant of a green on my nails as it appears in this photo.
This is Carter. She looks a bit pink/magenta in the bottle but all the swatches I've seen have been more purple so hopefully she'll apply as a true purple to the nail.
It really doesn't seem like this polish should be called Sunshine, does it? It's a medium blue polish.
Now for some boring cremes. And if you can't tell, I favor cool colors over warm oranges and reds and pinks and nude shades. This is Hunter. Yes, I know I already have a ton of green creme polishes. But maybe this one will be different. At the very least it means I can do another comparison post. Stop judging me.

This is Sailor. Yes, a hunter green and a sailor blue. How clever. I'm hoping this won't be a dupe for anything I own either. 
And finally I thought I'd throw in a little surprise. The packaging on this polish was a little excessive. This is the outer box. 
This is the inner box. 
Yes, I finally got my hands on Veruschuka, that oh, so elusive matte velvet green polish. This was a limited edition re-release and I had to pre-order it. I hope it'll be worth the anticipation. I'll be using the color for my Christmas manicure.

I hope you enjoyed this quick little haul post. Let me know in the comments if you like this kind of thing or if you'd just like to see more review posts in the future. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Hello chickadees,

Once again my laptop has decided to stop working. I'm currently in a hellish Startup Repair loop with no end in sight. Again, what this means is that I'm still testing products but any swatches that are stuck on my laptop are holding up some future reviews. It might take me a little longer to put out new posts if I can't get my laptop fixed but I hope you'll bear with me as I try and get everything sorted out.


Monday, December 16, 2013

X Factor 2013 Winner... Sam Bailey

Hi peanuts,

So Sam was crowned the winner of The X Factor UK for 2013.

While I'm still hoping that Hannah Barrett and Tamera Foster will have interesting careers post X Factor, I have to say that I've come around to the idea of Sam winning. She has always been one of the better vocalists in this year's crop of contestants and when she embraces her weirdness like in this performance of Edge of Glory, I can see myself listening to Sam Bailey albums. Now, I don't mean weirdness as an insult. I'm a big fan of weirdness in vocals. It's what keeps thing interesting and makes an artist unique. I don't think Sam has that gift for interpreting a song in a way that feels emotional or genuine but she is a very good singer and she reminds me a lot of Celine Dion. I want her to keep embracing her way of pronouncing things, especially those hard "r's", and her controlled power. When Sam picks the right songs, I quite like her. I've let go of wanting her to be something that she's not. But I also want her to recognize her own strengths. Her winner's single, Skyscraper, is completely wrong for her.
Anyway, that's it for this year. Your X Factor winner is Sam Bailey. I'll probably be back next year but no promises. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Natori Sample Sale Report December 2013

Hello chickadees!
I stopped into the Natori sale at 102 Madison Avenue today around 1:00 pm. The sale will reopen tomorrow at 10:00 am and close at 4:00 pm. The sale is on the third floor of the building and they accept both cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). There are no try-ons, returns, large bags, or shopping carts and all sales are final. The building is so professional that it's a bit intimidating when you first see the chaos that is this sale. Now, there is no aggressive behavior or anything like that but there are bras. Lots and lots of bras. Bras hanging on the wall. Bras in boxes on the table. Bras in boxes on the floor. It's a lot to take in at one time.

Personally, I feel like shopping for bras and lingerie is something that should be special. The Natori sample sale is not special. It is grabbing $10 sample bras, $12 regular bras and digging through cardboard boxes in a roomful of women while some random guys stand around. I don't think they were security. I'm not going to get into it but it was weird.

In the center of the room there are boxes of bras arranged by their exact sizes (e.g. 34 DD). For the most part the right bras were in the right boxes though I did find a few bras without labels. Unfortunately there is no way of telling what size those bras are without measuring them. I think the bras that aren't in the bags are supposed to be the samples but there's no way of telling as some of the bags seem to have been removed during the course of the sale. The women working out the checkout counter seem to be familiar with the styles or the labels so there shouldn't be an issue with this.

Then there are the bras hanging up on the wall which are arranged mostly by band size (number) with the a few sections for the highest cup sizes (G, H, DDD). Among the bras on the wall I found a lot more A's and B's with some of the larger sizes mixed in as well.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tarte Friends and Family Sale

Hi chickadees,

Tarte is currently having a 3-day Friends and Family sale from December 9 through December 12 at 11:59pm EST. Just type in the code DECFF at checkout to receive 30% off. I would also try and spend at least $40 to qualify for free shipping so you get the most out of your order. Now, I just placed an order at Tarte so I don't think I'll be taking advantage of this offer but if you've had your eye on the much-praised Amazonian clay blushes or one of their popular value sets, this would be a great time to place an order.

Stephen Dweck Sample Sale Report December 2013

Hello bumblebees,

Because I love you very, very much I went out in the freezing snow today to bring you a report on the Stephen Dweck sample sale being held at 73 Spring Street in suite 501. There was a rather optimistic sign on the closed door when I went by around 9am asking people to form a line. However, when I knocked there were maybe 5 people shopping at the most. The sale is being held from today, December 10 through Wednesday, December 11, daily from 8:30am to 7pm. There is a coat check and they will take your umbrella for you. I did not have a bag with me so I don't know if they also require you to check your bags.

My personal opinion is that the Alexis Bittar sale was superior and you probably shouldn't brave the freezing snow to attend this sale. However, if you are a fan of the brand, I took plenty of pictures so you'll be able to get some idea of the merchandise. All items are individually priced with a few wide wood bangles costing the least at $20. The next price bracket jumped all the way to $80-$125 with some rings, earrings, and necklaces occupying this tier. But I saw a surprising number of items in the $200-$500 range for a costume jewelry sample sale.

Drugstore Product Stalking: 459 Broadway Duane Reade Holiday Clearance Edition

Hello peanuts,

I just popped into Duane Reade on a whim and noticed a lot of items on sale and clearance and since I had my camera with me, I decided the share them with you. This adorable snowman isn't on clearance but I thought he'd be a nice way to start off the post. My guess is that the orange stickers signify items that are about to be discounted but I can't be certain. If you do love those products you might as well stock up while they're so cheap even if they aren't going to be discontinued.

I'm surprised to see these (possibly) on clearance as I remember some bloggers liking them. I, of course, hate most mascaras.

REVIEW of Zoya Seraphina With SWATCHES

Hello angels,

Today I have a nice wintery polish from Zoya's Holiday 2013 Zenith Collection. Other than Dream (which I also picked up and which I will be reviewing at a later date) and Seraphina nothing else in the collection really appealed to me but that's alright as Seraphina and Dream seemed like knockouts. I decided to try out Seraphina after filing my nails short in a fit of pique and then belatedly remembering that I had a holiday party to attend. I think it would equally as good on longer nails but this is one of those colors I don't mind so much on short nails. Anyway, let's get into the review before I continue rambling.

Color: Zoya Seraphina is a pale silver polish. I have no idea if I should call this one a shimmer or a foil. It doesn't have the depth of foils I've tried in the past but it was more difficult to remove than your typical shimmer polish and the formula did seem different from a typical shimmer. It went on a bit sheer and almost like little flakes of glitter. But I wouldn't call it a flakie either. I suppose it's a hybrid between a shimmer and a foil. I actually love the color. I'm not sure how unique it is, but it seems unique to me. I think you usually see basic white or cream shimmer polishes and darker silver shimmer and foil polishes but this is the first time I've seen a pretty light silver like this. It's very shimmery without attracting too much attention so it's a bit more sparkly than would probably be appropriate for a very conservative work environment but it's understated for a holiday party. It's very shimmery in a kind of greasy looking way. I was expecting something icy and cool and clean so this threw me at first but I gradually grew to like the polish more as I wore it.
Formula: The formula is on the thicker side in terms of consistency though it is also quite sheer.
Application: Application of the first coat was relatively smooth though I did have to even out the polish with the brush. The second coat was a little harder to even out though I still wouldn't call the polish gloopy. It was absolutely not opaque by the second coat so I added a third coat. The third coat went on about as smoothly as the second coat though it was still not 100% opaque and failed a light test. But I was over it at that point and refused to add a fourth coat.
Wear: I only wore this polish for three days. It was a bit tough to remove. I would say it was more difficult to remove than your typical creme or shimmer and somewhere between the difficulty of a dark polish and a foil. I should also note that it is very hard to get all of the glitter off your nails. There always seem to be a few patches left behind.

CONCLUSION: I do really love the color of this polish but I wish the formula and the final appearance of the polish were nicer. It's just a touch too sheer and I wish they had gone with a different finish. If you love the color as much as I do, it might be worth it to get this polish but be warned that the formula isn't great and it's not as nice as some of the swatches you might have seen online.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

REVIEW of Sally Hansen Colorfast Tint + Moisture Balm in 50 Blackberry Honey

Hello honeybees,

I have to be honest. Sally Hansen Colorfast Tint + Moisture Balm in 50 Blackberry Honey is not just a mouthful. It was also a massive disappointment.

Color: Blackberry Honey is sheer brown lip balm. From the packaging I got fooled into thinking it would be more of a blackberry deep red/purple similar to Revlon Crush but unfortunately it just looked brown on my lips. Now I'm for unconventional colors like dark plums or colors that look intimidating in the tube like Revlon Fig Jam but Sally Hansen Colorfast just made my lips look dirty and I don't know what it was about the exact color but it made me look a bit like a zombie. Somehow it seemed to leech the color out of my face and make my skin look duller. It's possible that this product will look better on someone with a darker complexion or more pigmented lips.
Formula/Finish: It definitely feels like a traditional lip balm and doesn't have the thinner somewhat slick and greasy feel of other lip crayons. It has a bit of a sheen when you first apply it.
Application: The product glides on relatively smoothly but it applies like a traditional lip balm so it doesn't apply as smoothly as say a Clinique Chubby Stick or a lip gloss would. For a sheer balm, it's relatively pigmented (possibly because of the shade I chose) in one layer and you can build it up though it will never be an opaque lip color. It doesn't apply evenly. When I wear it, more pigment collects at the edges of my lips where I have more lines so they appear to be more brown while the center of my lips appear more pink. It is very noticeable and unflattering. Also, it does catch in any dry flakes so you will want to apply this product to smooth, exfoliated lips.
Wear/Moisture: I'm not sure if this product is horribly drying but it isn't moisturizing. Only wearing it for a hour I could feel it getting drier and afterwards my lips didn't feel any softer or smoother.
Scent: I can't place the scent exactly but it's something like chocolate or caramel. I can smell it as I'm applying it and in the tube but it's not so overpowering that you smell it constantly once you've applied it. I'm generally not a fan of cloying sweet scents like this so it was a negative for me.
Taste: It doesn't really have a taste. It tastes like plastic or a generic lip balm base.
Price: You can find these for about $5 depending on the retailer making it one of the cheaper lip crayons on the market right now but you're sacrificing quality for price. I would pay a few dollars more, wait for a sale, or use a coupon and get a Revlon product instead. Or, if you want to splurge a little, go for a Clinique Chubby Stick.
Packaging: The packaging is nice and simple. The twist up crayon mechanism works fine for me. I haven't had any problems with it getting stuck. While I like that you can see the color of the actual balm, the clear cap looks kind of cheap and isn't the most secure.

CONCLUSION: I really can't find anything worth recommending about this product other than that it's cheap. I don't like the color or the scent. It doesn't apply evenly and it can't even be used as a generic lip balm because it isn't moisturizing.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

X Factor UK Live Show 9

Hello there,

Well, I hate everyone. Now that Hannah and Tamera are gone I guess I'm rooting for Sam Bailey? Sure. Fine. Sam Bailey. I'm still more interested in the potential albums Hannah and Tamera will put out than anything from the other contestants but sure, Sam Bailey for the win. Sigh...

Beyonce Round
Luke Friend: Best Thing I Never Had. It was a typical performance from Luke. This is not one of my favorite Beyonce songs so I didn't mind the arrangement as it made the song seem like it had more of a clear melody. There were the same issues with him going a bit flat around the lower notes but it was fine.
Nicholas McDonald: Halo. A bit dull. A bit flat. It had it's moments but it was generally a pretty weak performance and he was struggling to hit the notes. His voice kept breaking. He should really be better at this point in the competition. I hate this year of the X Factor.
Sam Bailey: If I Were A Boy. I don't know if they changed the key but it still doesn't sound like it fits squarely in Sam's range. This is a pretty dull song until the belting. I know it's one of the ones that people like to sing but it shouldn't be. There are better Beyonce songs to perform during a singing competition. Anyway, it sounded fine once she got to the fun belting part. Sam Bailey doesn't have that spark about her. She's the contestant I usually like on singing competitions who is a good singer but doesn't connect with the audience and gets eliminated after a few weeks or ends up placing anywhere from fourth to second. I think she could win this year but I'm not excited about it.
Rough Copy: Survivor. First of all, this is a Destiny's Child song. Surely they could have found something in Beyonce's catalog without having to go to a Destiny's Child song. There are only four contestants. Whatever. Secondly, I keep forgetting Rough Copy are in the competition. You know how people joke that the rest of Destiny's Child are just Beyonce's backup singers and Kelly Rowland is not-Beyonce and no one even remembers Michelle Williams' name? Yeah, Rough Copy are worse than that. They were fine in a mediocre, sure, this is acceptable way. They don't seem like semi-finalists.

Elton John Round
Nicholas McDonald: Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me. It's still not the strongest vocal performance and I wish someone would hold the notes for the full length of the phrase but this is definitely Nicholas' comfort zone and when his voice sounds the best.
Luke Friend: Something About the Way You Look Tonight. Simpler songs like this suit Luke. I think. I'm genuinely still not sure what kind of artist he's trying to be. Luke has improved during the competition but he still has some of the same issues that he did all the way back at judges' houses. But for the most part, I liked this performance.
Rough Copy: Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. It still wasn't spectacular but it was better than their round one performance. There are just way too many mistakes and issues at this point in the competition. Either they aren't working hard during rehearsals, trying hard during performances, or they just aren't capable of doing better.
Sam Bailey: Candle In the Wind. Sam has a weird way of emoting during a song. I think the problem is that she's not connecting with the song but trying to "act." I would say she'd be at home on the West End but I don't think musical theater is her genre. It could have been a stronger performance, especially given the fact that she had the final act of the night sweet spot.

Overall Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Sam Bailey
2. Luke Friend
3. Nicholas McDonald
4. Rough Copy

Note: I will update with my thoughts on Sam's and Rough Copy's second performances once their videos are live on the youtube page and I am able to watch them.

REVIEW Confetti Long Wearing Nail Color in 39 Just Dancin With SWATCHES

Hello dancing queens,

Today I have yet another Confetti Long Wearing Nail Color review for you. Confetti is by far my favorite cheap drugstore polish brand. It's almost on par with the mid-range brands like OPI, Essie, and Zoya at a fraction of the cost. And because it's so cheap at $2 a bottle at CVS (at least here in NYC), it's a great way to try out colors that you might not instinctively gravitate towards. For me, Confetti Long Wearing Nail Color in 39 Just Dancin is one of those colors.

Color: Confetti Just Dancin is a dark red shimmer polish. I'm having trouble describing it because it has so much of a brown tone. It's darker than a brick red and not quite a wine red or a ruby red. I suppose maybe it's more of a rusty red or a garnet red. Yes, that sounds about right. A deep garnet red with a touch of brown. I feel like I've seen swatches of this kind of color a lot in previous OPI collections so it's very possibly a dupe for an OPI polish. While it hasn't made me a convert to deep brownish red shimmer polishes, I do like the way it looks on my shorter nails and it does have a good amount of depth. It can appear to have a little purple in it under certain lighting conditions which you can see the most in the first bottle pic in this post.
Formula: The formula was maybe on the thicker side but not notably so.
Application: The first coat applied smoothly but no dragging but it was a little streaky and I did have to even out the polish a bit with the brush. The second coat was more of the same. Although the polish appeared fairly opaque at two coats, it failed a light test because of bald patches so I added a third coat. During the application of the third coat I noticed that the brush was dragging a little and though I could even out the polish, it did not even out perfectly. The polish was already very shiny without a layer of top coat but I added a layer of Seche Vite as I always do and noticed that it further smoothed out the polish. I should also mention that if you examine your nails closely, you will be able to see brushstrokes because of the shimmer formula but it is not terribly noticeable.
Wear: I started to get tip wear very quickly (1-2 days) on my dominant hand but it's not as bad on the other hand. I'm not sure if this is because I use my dominant hand for more projects that might have worn the polish away or because I did a better job of wrapping the tips of my nails when painting with my dominant hand. Either way, it's something to be aware of as a good polish should not show so much tip wear this early.

CONCLUSION: If you like the swatches I would recommend this polish. It doesn't have a perfect formula but it's relatively easy to work with and it's a fraction of the post of similar polishes. However, I will freely admit that I might not be recommending this polish if it wasn't only $2 at the drugstore. I'm happy to have it in my collection for variety but it's not my favorite Confetti polish.
SWATCHES (This polish photographed a bit more like a true red but imagine it with a touch more brown.)