Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Thursday Post

Kid Beyond: Wandering Star (Portishead cover). Sick, sick beats.

Beautiful photography.

I wish I was that cool.

I wish I had an ice cream maker. Then I could make lactose-free ice cream! :D But realistically speaking, I would probably never use it and it would sit and gather dust.

These houses are so cool.

I'm a sucker for cute animals, what can I say?
Ready for his close-up ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Revlon Gold Dust is Gloss Gold

Revlon Colorburst Lip Gloss in Gold Dust.

This is one of the glosses I purchased recently (the other being Coral Reef); while I wanted to wear Coral Reef alone, I wanted Gold Dust to be a layering gloss. I was also interested in trying a different gloss formula from Revlon (this is the Colorburst gloss formula, and Coral Reef is part of the Super Lustrous line). I'd say the formula for Gold Dust is lighter and less sticky than Coral Reef, and it has a different scent; the Superlustrous glosses are fruity smelling, and these are vanilla-scented, but not in the synthetic MAC lipstick way. These have a subtler smell, like vanilla bean ice cream, and I'm actually quite a fan. The last thing to mention is that even though this one is shimmery, it never gets gritty and you can't feel the shimmer on your lips. Between the two formulas, I'd have to say I prefer this one.
It has a paddle applicator that is really easy to use.

It lasts for about three hours shine-wise, though the shimmer does stick around. That can get a bit interesting, as reapplication will add more shimmer and shine. It's not excessive, though, and the fact that the gold shimmer remains after the shine fades means that you get a little more wear out of it. However, it can sometimes look weird to have a mouth full of shimmer and no gloss, so I'd say you've have to reapply throughout the day, especially after eating/drinking.
Revlon Gold Dust.
This is a shimmery nude shade for me when I wear it alone (which I like), but its fairly neutral tones means that it makes a great layering shade. This is actually a trick my mother taught me back in high school. I was looking for an orange lip for prom - something softer than MAC Neon Orange, though. I was not that bold back then, ha! So we purchased an orange lipstick from Sephora and a gloss like this to go over it, and actually, it came out quite lovely. I'll show you.
Left: MAC Neon Orange; Right: Revlon Gold Dust over MAC Neon Orange.

Not exactly the same as my prom lip, but very close. The lighting is bright so it still looks pretty bright here, but I assure you, it turns into a shimmery peachy lip.  This works with other lipsticks, too - you just make a bold color softer, shimmery, sometimes more "wearable." I've got a few more examples:
Left: MAC Heroine; Right: Revlon Gold Dust over MAC Heroine. The gloss, uh, glosses up the matte finish and adds a soft beige shimmer. The overall effect is slightly pinker - less harshly purple.

Gloss works better over matte lipstick, I think, since you don't risk pushing around your lipstick that way. Here's two more, both NARS Pure Mattes.
Left: NARS Carthage; Right: Revlon Gold Dust over NARS Carthage. Sorry for the exceedingly dry lips - successive lip swatches are no fun!
Last one, I promise. This one is my favorite. MY FAVORITE. That may be because Mascate is one of my favorite lipsticks of all time (my supermodel lipstick!), but damn it just looks so good.
Left: NARS Mascate; Right: Revlon Gold Dust over NARS Mascate.

The way the gloss smoothes out all of the dry bits...it's quite fabulous. All right, hopefully this shows that it's quite a versatile gloss, and you can see why I've been in love with it! I will admit that I prefer the feeling of lipstick to gloss - especially no-fuss lipsticks like the NARS Pure Mattes, which don't budge or turn into sticky fly paper (um, that gave me a gross image, sorry). However, this is a nice way to get more mileage out of lipsticks you already own. If you want to see more layering action, check out Xiao's post - though she does it with an LMdB beauty.

Ingredients: Triisostearyl citrate, Polybutene, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Silica Silylate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cellulose, Paraffin, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, PPG-3 /benzyl Ether Myristate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) oil, Phospholipids, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Chamomila Recutita (Matricaria)Flower Extract, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit, Sodiu, Chondroitin Sulfate, Atelocollagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Soluble Collagen, Galactoarabinan, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Squalane, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Ozokerite, Dimethicones/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20, Crosspolymer, BHT, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexandiol.  


Do you have a favorite layering gloss?

Monday, May 28, 2012

To Brighten Your Day

You know I'm no stranger to bold lips. I like them. They make statements. It took me a while to warm up to them, but now we're friends. However, up until now, my lip collection spanned mostly reds, with a few purple, orange and MLBB shades thrown in for good measure (and by "few," I mean: one of each). What can I say? I just don't do pinks. At least, I thought I didn't.
NARS Pure Matte lipstick in Carthage.
Enter NARS Carthage. I'd seen this one on Temptalia a long time ago and immediately wanted it because of its saturated color and matte finish. I'm a sucker for matte shades. You might think that this wouldn't suit the summer weather, but actually, since matte lipsticks are usually less fussy (i.e. don't budge) than their glossy counterparts, they become a rather effortless choice for the summertime, when you're out and about and have no time to worry about whether your lipstick is traveling, too. Plus, my lips usually aren't as dry in the summer, so mattes aren't as troublesome to apply.
Applied straight from the tube on to bare lips - I find that these Pure Mattes don't get along with lip liner. They don't feather or bleed anyway, so I don't bother. I also, erm, don't own a lip brush.
I held off for a long time, but when the Bandits decided we wanted to do "summer brights" for our next project, my thoughts instantly traveled back to Carthage. I had my doubts - it's so pink, and I rarely even wear pink blush, let alone lipstick. But I swatched it, and it had this immediate brightening effect on my face. I was sold (and it was sold to me by a gleeful Sephora SA - I guess they don't get to sell their bright shades that often). In terms of formula, Carthage is slightly drier than Mascate, and does seem to settle into lip lines a bit more; it's not noticeable from far away, and after a couple of hours I just blend it out a bit with my finger and it's fine.
I'm making friends with shades of pink this summer. This one is not quite as matte as Mascate, I think - it has a slight satiny sheen to it. Doesn't budge, though, and the color lasts for hours!
It looks different than me than it does on Christine (it seems darker and almost berry-esque on her; it's lighter and brighter on me) but this is a pink I can wear, and a bold color I can get behind. It's something new for me - a nice departure from the oranges and reds I usually fall for. I'm quite enamored. What do you think? Would you rock it? Or are you all about coral and orange this summer?


Don't forget to check out all of the bold colors the other bandits are bringing to the table this month. We're getting you ready for summer. Break out your brights, darlings!
For ingredients, please see this post.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wedding...NOTD?

The big day is still five months out, but I'm starting to get into "things I must do soon" (i.e., find a florist, meet with the caterer again, plan formal invitations, etc.) so it's on my mind again. I think I've pretty much figured out what kind of makeup look I'm going for on the big day (hint: red lips are involved), so I decided to take a break from doing FOTDs. Today we're focusing on the nails, instead. I'm not really a neutral nail girl, so I won't be going for the ultra-feminine barely-there pinks, or the whispery beiges, or any of that. No. I've got two contenders for the big day manicure color, and they're both...black.
A England Bridal Veil*, contender #1. This is two coats with an Essie top coat; excuse the messy application. But you can see the brilliant rainbow!

I think black is edgy and modern and I have an extreme soft spot for black polish. Also, our wedding colors are white, black and gold, so this will fit right in. My dress is elegant and simple, for the most part (well, on its own, anyway), and I want something to fit that aesthetic.
The sun turns this into a sparkling gem.

I wasn't sold on A England Bridal Veil at first, to be honest. It was Eugenia's brilliant suggestion when I told her I wanted something different from the usual nuptial pinks and pales, and while I loved the idea of black, I wasn't sure about the holo finish. It's a muted holo - it shows up gorgeously in sunlight, as above, but indoors, it's mostly just a speckled black. The second time I wore it, though, it grew on me. It had dimension, it changed, and in direct sunlight, holy moly it's gorgeous. The formula is easy to work with and its lasting power on the nails is on par with other A England polishes - that is to say, it's a very solid polish. What do you think about Bridal Veil?


The other contender is A England Camelot (haha, no, Adina is not sponsoring me - I just like the way she does black polish!). It's a basic black cream polish, but it's reliable and nearly a one coater and simply exquisite. It's a stark, solid, clean color, in contrast to the multi-faceted Bridal Veil, but I feel its strength is in its simplicity.
A England Camelot. The best black cream polish I've ever tried.

If not black, I've been considering something punchy and bright like Dior Riviera (if I ever get my hands on it) or something sparkly and gold. I'm not sure, though. What do you think? What color would you wear (or what color did you wear at your wedding?)? What do you think I should go with?

*Items marked with a star were sent by the company for evaluation purposes; reviews are definitely my own (hey, it's my wedding we're talking about, here!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Think Pink: More EOTDS

I've done green and orange, and got a request to do pink next, so here it is! I don't have a lot of pink eye shadows because it's hard to find shades that don't emphasize my panda eyes; I only have a couple, but again, you can do a lot with just one or two shades. I realize that with these color themed EOTD posts I'm tending toward the wearable end, but I think there are a lot of brightly colored looks out there already, and people more often want to know how they can wear bright colors in a softer way. With that said, not all of these are going to be office-appropriate or "almost neutral," but I am trying to put together looks that people won't be afraid to try. So, here we go! The products, first:
Clearly I don't own a lot of pink eye shadow. Clockwise, from top: Stila Pearl Palette, Urban Decay Woodstock eye shadow, Urban Decay Woodstock pencil, Shiro Cosmetics Kawaii, Silk Naturals Retro*.

Look #1: Lacy Pink (it reminds me of something ultra feminine and girly, okay?)
NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base
Stila Pearl Palette Pale White Gold, Light Pink shades, Urban Decay Woodstock
Sephora Long-lasting Liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencil in Woodstock
The pencil version of Urban Decay Woodstock is quite fuchsia, but blended into my liquid liner, it takes on an almost violet sheen. I like it. It adds variety to life. Anyway, hopefully this first look shows you that pink does not have to be "bam pow in your face!"

Look #2: Bedroom Eyes?

NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base
Silk Naturals
Retro* (glittery, silver pink), Chanel Mirifique
Sephora Long-lasting Liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencil in Gunmetal
Clearly my thoughts are with the sexy today. But uh, pink. Smoky. Yes. I like Retro* more than I thought I would; with its light quality, it lends itself perfectly to a smoky eye. This is a softer version, not too smoky (uh, that sounds dumb, but bear with me here) and for once I tried non-winged liner. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but whatever. I applied Mirifique very sheerly with my ring finger to achieve a soft gray.



Look #3: Rocking Retro

NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base
Silk Naturals
Retro*, Chanel Mirifique, Urban Decay Woodstock
Sephora Long-lasting Liquid Liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on liner in Gunmetal, Woodstock
This is the same look in #2, but amped up a bit. I start with Silk Naturals Retro* + Mirifique (above); after patting on a fiercer pink like Urban Decay Woodstock and darkening the outer edges, you get a very brightly colored eye. Or well, you get two, but you know what I mean. You don't have to start with a base of Retro, but it does add sparkle and sheers out Woodstock a bit. If you want it brighter, skip Retro.



Look #4: Pastel Pink

UDPP Eden (this is an older look)
Shiro Cosmetics
Kawaii (pastel pink), Urban Decay Woodstock
Sephora Long-lasting Liquid Liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencil in Crash
Pastels are another tricksy bunch, but this actually doesn't look bad. I think it's balanced out by the more intense liner. The soft pink on the lid and the brighter pink in the corner seem to work, and I like using a purple eyeliner.

Okay, there are our pinks! I don't have a lot of them, but it's easy to mix it up with other shades for a pop of color. I don't do pink that often because it's really quite obviously colorful, but it is nice every now and again. What's your favorite pink eye shadow?

*Items marked with a star were sent for evaluation by the company.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Thursday Post

Maroon Five: Come Away to the Water (feat. Rozzi Crane). Not their typical sound, but I really like this song. It's from The Hunger Games soundtrack.

Nail trend terms!

This green gradient eye...I love.

I'm still really intrigued by these wine fragrances!

I approve. It looks awesome. Except Tobey Maguire kind of creeps me out. Not sure why.

*giggle* I swear this is not true. And for the record, S. is a cover stealer. So there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bain de Terre Purité Healthy Moisture Repair Review

I'm not sure if I've admitted to this on the blog before, but I'm not much of a hair care girl. Because I have short hair, I visit the salon regularly (about every two months) to keep it trim, so I don't really feel the need to splurge on tons of hair care products. I don't own a blow dryer or a curling/straightening iron - basically, I'm a wash-and-go girl. I usually just grab whatever shampoo is currently on sale at the drugstore (after scanning the ingredients for the p-word, ha!), and call it a day. However, you might remember that I've recently been making an effort to eliminate SLS and some of those other hot topic chemicals out of my bath and beauty products. So, when I was contacted by Bain de Terre to give their newest natural line a try, I was pretty excited.*

I've been using their Purité Healthy Moisture Repair Shampoo, Conditioner, and Healthy Leave-In Elixir for about a month, and I have to say that I am pretty impressed. The line is free of sulfates, parabens (woo-hoo!), formaldehyde, colorants, gluten, mineral oil, phtalates, MEA, DEA and PPG. That's pretty fabulous. It leaves my hair feeling healthy, too - it's not dry, it's shiny, and it all falls nicely into place. I shower at night and then use the Elixir in the morning (you're supposed to use it on wet hair, which I have done a few times, but usually I spray it onto dry hair); my hair is then tangle-free, easy to comb, and doesn't stick out in weird ways the way it used to. (I will mention that even without using the Elixir, it's pretty tangle-free. I do have short hair, so it can't get into too much trouble, really, but I can get the occasional snag here and there with other shampoos).

I wash my hair daily because I do some form of exercise daily, so it's important to me that my shampoo isn't stripping or harsh. This shampoo doesn't lather up excessively (which is expected, given the ingredient list), but it does work its way through my hair, no worries. I rinse completely, condition once, and then towel and air dry. In the morning, I spray the Elixer (shake well! Shake very, very well!), let it sink in for a few minutes while I wash my face and put in my contacts, and then comb out. The shampoo and conditioner are lightly scented with a smell that reminds me of the white tea and ginger products from Origins and Bath & Body Works - it's not strong and it doesn't last after the shower, which may or may not please you. I don't need my hair to smell, so it's all good here.

The one thing I will mention is that I wish the shampoo and conditioner bottles were in some way different - different color, or different shape. It's a small thing, but you know, I usually take out my contacts by the time I shower, and I have to pick each bottle up and peer at it to see which is which. That's just a minor packaging wish, though.

These are available in the US at Cosmoprof and they also seem to be available in Ulta stores (but not online); the shampoo is $14.00 for 13.5 oz, the conditioner is $15.00 for 13.5 oz, and the Leave-In Elixir is $16.00 for 4.2 oz. You can also find more information at baindeterre.com. I will say that for someone who is used to buying drugstore hair products, it is quite a price hike, but I'm really loving the way my hair looks and feels lately! I'd say it's worth it, especially for a line that's free of many potentially harmful ingredients. My favorite has to be the Leave-In Elixir, though; even if you pass on the shampoo and conditioner, the elixir - you must try it! I don't style or do anything fancy with my hair, but I do have a styled cut, and it makes my hair fall into place so nicely.

If you want another review, check out Eugenia's.

*All of the products in this review were provided by PR for evaluation and review. This is NOT a sponsored review.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Julep Jennifer: I Feel Like a Lady

I usually have bright, obnoxious colors on my nails - or dark vampy ones - but I rarely have something delicate and feminine and soft or neutral. I think those shades are kind of hard to find, though, since they depend so much on finding the perfect complement to my skintone. However, I have found a lovely soft pink that doesn't bore me or feel blah; it makes me feel ladylike. That's hard to do.
Julep Jennifer on nails; Zoya Get Even base coat, 3 coats of Julep Jennifer, one coat Zoya Armor. I needed a black base to show the color off better, so I used the fuzzy one walking around my apartment :)
Introducing, Julep Jennifer. I tried out the Maven box during the $0.01 promotion they were running during the holidays (clearly, these photos are from a long time ago, when it was cold!); my style was "American Beauty," so I got a box with Jennifer and Demi. They are both classic, timeless colors; Jennifer is this soft, milky pink, and Demi is red. I only got the one box and canceled my subscription, though. The box was nice but didn't wow me, and that $20 can go toward other, better things.
I love fingerless gloves. :D Here you can see that even with three coats, Jennifer is not completely opaque. I don't think it's meant to be, though. From afar, it looks opaque enough; up close, you can see the nail line, but it doesn't really bother me. It almost gives my nails a French tip look, and I rather like it.

Even with three coats, Jennifer is not completely opaque, but that doesn't really bother me here - I think that's the style of this polish. The formula is easy to work with and dries beautifully. I did notice some weird things going on after four or five days - it didn't exactly chip, but it was sort of cracking? - but I'm not sure if that is a result of the Zoya top coat or not. Both brands are 3-free, so I'm not sure what the issue is. I may have to try it with a different base/top coat to see, or see if I have the same problems with Demi. Since Jennifer is a really pale color, you can't really tell that it starts to crack, so it's not a huge issue, and a few days wear is decent.

One thing to mention: the bottle. Yes, it's cute, but it's square, and the cap doesn't always realign with the bottle afterward (actually, it seems that it never does). Annoying.

Julep polishes are $14, and are available online and at Sephora, though if you live in Seattle (where they are based), you can go to a Julep salon, as well. I like this color and I got it for a steal, but I don't think I'd bother. $14 could get you practically two Essie/China Glaze/Zoya polishes, and they are just as good, if not better.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Beauty No-Buy: Update #5

It's been four months, and this month was better than the last, but perhaps not by much. I repurchased a Clinique moisturizing gel because I ran out, and I bought a new eye cream (Origins A Perfect World for Eyes). I also picked up a couple of Revlon lip products. I'm going to call those okay under ban rules, and I'll explain why.

I've been doing some thinking (oh no, again? I hear you. I'll try to keep this short) about my motivation for beauty shopping. Yes, I like pretty packaging and new items and luxurious high end products, but I also like having a wide variety of colors and finishes, so that I can create anything I want on my personal canvas. For summer, I wanted some different lip shades - something to complement the eye looks I came up with. I wasn't satisfied with any of the ones I had (red is a power color, and I wear it often enough, but it just didn't go), and I could picture in my head the shades that I wanted. I also wanted a couple of glosses, so that I could layer them over my lipsticks and create new shades and finishes. I wrestled with the ban, but you know, in the end, I decided that if I had a focused list and I wasn't going to go overboard with it, why not buy what I wanted to satisfy myself? I was planning on wearing them often, I didn't want them just to have them, and I was willing to look for affordable versions. So I went forward.

On the list: a coral gloss, a gold gloss, and a bright summer lipstick. I got two out of three. I picked up the Revlon Colorburst Gold Dust lip gloss at my drugstore during a sale, with a coupon: the total came out to $3.79, with tax. Less than a coffee! Score.

The second Revlon gloss, Coral Reef, was purchased during a BOGO 50% off sale at the CVS in PA (the other item I bought was the Colorburst lipstick in Soft Nude, which I was hoping would be my nude lipstick - another item on the "basics" wishlist). Total for both? $9.29. So my transgressions total to $13.08, including tax. Not bad for some basic shades, right? And I've used both glosses almost daily since I purchased them, which makes me happy. They're the perfect shades for the bronzed, summery looks that I've been favoring lately.
Top: Revlon Coral Reef. Bottom: Revlon Gold Dust.
So, what say you? Should I have stuck it out, or can these count as basics? Don't worry - I'm tightening up the wallet strings and hoping to stick out the last month!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coral Corral (Tee Hee!)

I wasn't really feeling the coral trend until I bought Revlon Coral Reef - then it just kind of exploded in my face - and on it. I realized how well the Dior Aurora + Guerlain Sunny Pink* combo complemented the Revlon gloss, and coral became part of my new favorite look; it pairs so well with brightly colored outfits and it just feels so cheerful.
Clockwise from top left: Dior Aurora, Revlon Coral Reef, Guerlain Sunny Pink*, Fyrinnae Romantique, Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions, Bare Escentuals Citrus Twist.
There actually aren't a lot of corals in my train case. The bigger sad? No coral nail polish! My eye is totally on Dior Riviera, but that'll have to wait. For the moment, I'm still enjoying these things. Not all at once, mind you. But it's nice to have variations on a theme.
Dior Aurora on its own is not coral, but when I layer Guerlain Sunny Pink* over it, I get a beautiful coral cheek color that lasts and lasts.

My favorite combo at the moment consists of earthy eyes (think the Tarina Tarantino Wonderful palette), a coral cheek (Guerlain Sunny Pink* layered over Dior Aurora, à la Wandz), and a juicy coral lip (Revlon Coral Reef).
Wearing the face combo described above; yes, I reused an FOTD photo, but hey, I'm being efficient.
Sometimes, I'll play around with Fyrinnae Romantique on lips; Romantique is peachy gold, but can be almost a shimmery MLBB shade when paired with the right face products. Because of the shimmer though, I try to wear it with more matte shades on eyes.  If I'm going with nude lips, I'll bring coral to my eyes: BE Citrus Twist is a pinker coral, while Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions has more gold and a faint green shift. Here's a look:
NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base
Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy
Fyrinnae
Polar Bear (cool gold), Rapunzel Had Extensions (gold coral), BE Citrus Twist
Sephora Long-lasting Liquid liner in 01 Black
Urban Decay El Dorado liner
Tarina Tarantino Fleur de Lash in Black Opal

What colors have you been loving lately? Are you on a coral kick, too? Or have you moved on to something else?

*Items marked with a star were won in a company-sponsored sweepstakes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Thursday Post

Ladyhawke: Sunday Drive.


Sometimes we need reminders like this.

Animated version of The Tell-Tale Heart.

So insanely cool; the likenesses are amazing.

Haunting and beautiful.

Love this. Such grace and strength.

Ahaha, such a clever gull! I love birds but don't actually like sea gulls; I find them offensive. This one is smart - and ballsy, haha - so he gets a pass, I suppose.

And, I rather bashfully made a Facebook page, for those of you who like to use Facebook. Also, since I just got all trendy, you can follow me on Instagram! I'm Pestozesto ;) I take photos of, uh, food and Dennison. And random cute things.
It was a beautiful day, so we went out to the lake to enjoy it. We gave Dennison a rawhide to keep him occupied so we could sit quietly for an hour or so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Satisfaction In a Wallet-Friendly Splash of Color

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I was completely smitten with Chanel's summer coral glossimer, Calypso. Unfortunately for me, it's not paraben-free. So I went on the hunt for another coral gloss. I wanted a gloss, not a lipstick, because I was shooting for that juicy, shiny finish. Tracy suggested the Revlon Super Lustrous gloss in Coral Reef; I was hesitant at first, because I remembered the formula being a bit goopy and sickly sweet smelling (I owned one or two in high school), and I'm not a big fan of the Super Lustrous lipstick formula. But I figured, what the hell, they're not that pricey and are usually even on sale. So I picked one up while we were traveling (because damnit, I definitely deserved it, after that airplane fiasco).
Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Coral Reef.
There was a Revlon BOGO 50% off sale at the local CVS there, so I picked this up and the Revlon Colorburst lipstick in Soft Nude. Now, before you start wagging your fingers at me about the ban, I know, but I'm counting these as basics - things I wanted to have in my kit. A good coral lip color and a nude lip color sound like necessities to me. It was driving me nuts not to have the perfect summer lip colors.
As you can see, it's quite pigmented and definitely very juicy. The color leans more pink than orange, but this is really just "coral" to me.
Coral Reef is an opaque gloss without sparkles or shimmer, which I actually prefer for lip glosses (I have a couple of shimmers, but for a stand-alone gloss with punchy color, I like it to be glitter- and shimmer-free). It is slightly fruit scented, but it's not as bad as I remember - it's tolerable. It's slightly sticky and gets stickier throughout wear time, but it never becomes really tacky or goopy. Shine and color last for about two hours without eating or drinking, and the color does stain a bit after the shine has dulled down. In short: it's a fabulous gloss, in terms of color, price, and packaging (comes with your standard doe foot applicator). I will say that I slightly prefer the formula in Revlon's Colorburst lipgloss (I'll compare them later), but this one is still perfectly adequate. Bottom line? Thumbs up from me. My coral craving is totally satisfied, and I've been wearing this one daily.
Bonus FOTD! That's the eye look from the winged colored liner tutorial, in case you're curious. There are smudges under my eyes! I blame mascara. Evil, evil product.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Winged Colored Liner: A Tutorial

A really short tutorial, mind you. I know everyone has a few colored liners tucked away in their stash, but a few people have mentioned that they never quite know what to do with them. This is something I do almost daily, just changing out the color of the pencil. I like black liner to define my eyes (and I also find that the pencil sticks around a lot longer when it is blended into the liquid liner) so I use both. Hopefully you find this helpful!
Here's what I'll use: (L-R) Tarina Tarantino Wonderful palette, Sephora Outrageous Volume mini mascara, Sephora Long-lasting liner in 01 Black, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Liner in Covet, NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base, Shu Uemura lash curler.
I start with primer, and then apply my shadows however I want. Here, I used the golden shade from the palette all over the lid, the pale green in the center, and the dark brown on the outer crease.
You can see that it looks quite undefined, which is why I never leave the house without liner. Except the time I forgot, and spent the rest of the day in a depressed stupor. Hahaha.
Now, we start with the liquid liner. I have to emphasize how unimportant it is for you to have a perfectly straight, even, razor sharp line. It's hard to accomplish that, and the beauty of this technique is: it doesn't matter in the end. So, stop berating yourself and whip out your liquid liner!
I start in the center; you don't have to, but that's where I like to start, as it ensures that I don't end up with a gob at either end of the lid, where the line should actually thin out.

And then we continue with liner toward the inner corner, and then the outer corner. I do both eyes, one after the other, so at this point I usually take a step back and look at them both in the mirror to make sure they're even - that they both come out far enough, seem to be about level, etc. The important thing is that they match each other, not that they are perfect on their own.
It's messy, but that's okay. I usually try to make sure at least the winged part is evened out as best as possible - not patchy.
Now, as I mentioned, I do both eyes one after the other. So when I've finished the second eye, the first one is slightly dry. At this point, I take my colored pencil of choice and run it along the black line I've already made, again starting at the center and working my way out toward both edges, smoothing my black line and getting an even line of color.
We're blending our pencil into our black line, see?
I use less pressure as I get toward the wing; think "feathery" strokes. Get it? Feathers? Wings? Har har.
Finish with mascara if you like (I did it this time, just for you), and voila! Some definition, and some color. Perfect for summer! I also have to drive the point home that even if it looks slightly messy up close, it will look fine from far away. So take it easy and stop fretting!
Okay, I hope that was helpful for somebody out there. You can do this with any colored pencil, or even a gel liner (I personally am not a fan of those, so I stick to pencils). Let me know if you decide to try it! I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Butter London: The Black Knight

I hemmed and hawed over this one, but in the end, I gave in. It was just too damn pretty not to pick up, and I couldn't think of anything else like it. (Edited: I bought this before the ban!!! I just haven't been able to review it until now, haha).

Come on, look at those sparkles. SPARKLES.

This is my first Butter London polish, and I'm not sure that I understand what all of the hype is about. Yes, they make some interesting colors, and obviously I wanted this one enough to buy it, but...there doesn't seem to be anything stellar about the formula itself. I guess the colors are unique enough to draw a crowd.
Two coats of TBK with Zoya base and top coats. It's not completely opaque - you can still see my nail color, especially on the middle finger - but it's black enough. Plus, with all that glitter, you can't really tell that it's a bit sheer, still.

This one is a glitterbomb, but it was intended to be. It ate my top coat and didn't have that gel-like finish that I've seen on other people - I'm chalking that up to top coat. It's gritty as all get-out and dries hard, so that it eventually starts to chip off rather than just wear down. I think one of my nails chipped after a day or two, but the others held out for three or four days before they really started to look beat up. Not horrible, but not particularly good, either. Here's a blurred shot, so you can see the sparkles.
Pretty, right?

There are a mixture of teal, purple, pink, red and silver glitter particles - at least, that's what it seems like to me - in a black base. I'm not sure how I feel about the mixture, actually, once it's on my nails. Do you remember those Crayola market sets that were packaged by color theme? Where they had "jungle" colors that were, perhaps, forest green and teal and fuchsia and warm purple, versus the "classic colors" like red, blue, yellow, orange, green, violet. I sometimes feel like those colors shouldn't mix ("No! Don't put the jungle green in the classic box!"), and I think that little tic is showing up here. There shouldn't be a red with my teal-fuchsia-silver mix!

On the other hand, I like the idea of just red glitter in a black base. That seems, to me, like The Black Knight of Arthurian legend. I understand, though, that perhaps that is not quite the quality that Butter London is going for; I can appreciate a tongue-in-cheek representation of "The Black Knight" as a glitterfest. I just think I would also like my sinister, black as night polish with red glitter in it. Perhaps I'll see if I can't come up with something.

So, do you need this? Well, that depends. It will take you some elbow grease and the better part of ten minutes to take it all off (I do know about the foil thing, but I'm lazy so I just saturate cotton balls and let them sit on each finger for a while) and I'm not impressed with the wear-time. But it is a pretty unique shade, and I am happy to have it in the arsenal. I imagine playing around with different top and base coats might improve the wear, too, so all in all, I don't regret buying it. I've also seen the nail bloggers post about using different coats and such to make it shinier and more gel-like in finish (here's one from The TraceFace Philes, one from Laura's Lacquers,) though I'm not sure how I feel about needing more products to get an acceptable finish.

Butter London lacquers are $14 at Nordstrom or butterlondon.com. I *think* The Black Knight was a limited edition shade, but I've seen it for a while, so I'm not sure what that really means.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Thursday Post

Michael Jackson: Billie Jean. Because you always go back to classics.

So amazing.

Shel Silverstein! I always kind of wondered if these children's books authors read their own work aloud in funny voices, or thought of them that way.

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my favorite books.

Creepy, and rather sobering.
I figured we've had enough shots of Dennison on the couch lately. Action shot! This was his first hike. His tail was wagging! :) 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Empties + Rejects V4

[I'm traveling right now, as I mentioned yesterday, and won't be able to get to comments until I get back - no laptop! Have a great week!]

Welcome to another volume of Empties + Rejects! I find that in addition to simply running out of items, the stash does need to be culled every once in a while, so I routinely toss things. I'm not trying to be wasteful, but life's too short to stick to something that has outlasted its usefulness, right? Right. So. Let's do this.
Empties

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

OMG you guys, I finished a lip balm! Insane! I tried desperately not to fall in love with this, given that a full tube is $22.50, but it really is that good. A tube lasted me a few months of daily use (hey, it's winter! I slather this stuff on every day) and I have a new one, courtesy of our dear Reductionista. I like everything about this, except for the lemon scent. I don't hate it, but it's a bit strong and is not my favorite. If the balms came unscented, I'd be thrilled.

Jo Malone Vanilla and Anise, sample
I like Jo Malone colognes because they are simple, clear, and easy to wear. They also last pretty much the whole day on me. I have a mini bottle of Vanilla and Anise which I got as part of a set, but I tried to use this one up first. It's nothing startling or unique, but it's easy to throw on when you feel like wearing a scent, but don't have anything specific in mind. I reviewed it here.

Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover
Won't be repurchasing. I don't think it removes makeup as well as others that I have tried, and the bottle annoys me; it has a little drip top - you hold a cotton ball over it and flip the bottle over - but you end up having to squeeze the bottle (it's a squishy plastic, almost) to get anything out. I had S. remove the top but then the cap was no longer flush against the bottle rim, so when I shook it, it made a mess. Fail.
See? Tiny opening.
Aveeno Positively Nourishing Soothing 24-Hour Body Moisturizer, Vanilla Chamomile
It appears that this is no longer available per Aveeno's website, but it's probably still in store. I like it as an all-over body lotion and it's affordable; I tend not to splurge on body lotion so I always shop at the drugstore. I don't like their Skin Relief lotion at all - actually, I hate it - but this one sinks in better and doesn't leave a sticky residue on my skin. It also relieves dryness, which is really all I need. The scent is pleasant enough. They seem to have a lavender chamomile one now, which sounds even more appealing (love lavender, love chamomile) so I'll probably pick up one of those later. Right now, though I'm using a Fresh body lotion that I had - it came from the Sugar Lust set I bought last year.

Random Samples
An Origins anti-aging eye cream (pills under makeup, otherwise unremarkable), a Murad SPF eye cream that gave me a severe rash under my eyes. Still looking for a good eye cream. The foundation samples are Smashbox Studio Skin, which I did purchase a full size of, and NARS Sheer Glow.

Expired

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
I've used UDPP for many years, switching from the original formula to the paraben-free Eden a few years ago with no problem. I like the matte, yellow color of Eden, but lately I've felt like it dries down too staunchly and makes blending hard. Also, it's not as smudge-proof as I'd like particularly with some of the loose pigments I have. I've switched to NARS's eye primer and am finding it to be much easier to work with and much better overall. I've had this UD one for over a year (probably longer!) so I'm ditching it. I've gotten a good amount of use out of it, and I've never been one for slicing up the bottle etc. etc.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes sample and Buxom mascara sample (not pictured)
Two of these have gotten old and dried and started to smell funny, so I tossed both (before I could take a photo, ha!). They were both samples that I received as GWPs, I think. I don't use mascara that often and so it's a bit silly for me to buy expensive ones, though perhaps if I did buy one that I liked, I might use it more often. Who's to say? These were actually pretty good and if I were to go high-end again for mascara, I might return to them.

MAC Bust Out lipstick
This made me really sad, as I really like this color and find it wearable despite its extreme...purple-ness. But you can see that it has very suspicious white dots all over it, which looks an awful lot like something unhealthy growing all over it. I'm scrapping the lipstick and keeping the tube for Back to MAC, I suppose. Though I doubt I'll ever have six finished items to give back.
It was kind of hard to capture, but they're definitely 3D little fuzzy bumps, and not dust or anything.

Annnd...there aren't any rejects this time, because I haven't really been shopping. Hopefully I'll have more empties again soon - I'm steadily working my way through some skincare! I don't think I'll ever finish another makeup product, though, ha! Although I do hope that the rest of them stay fungi-free.