Thursday, August 30, 2012


Do any of you guys use Pinterest? I am new to the website and still trying to get my bearings, but so far I really like it! I am going nuts creating boards, and it is a really good way to organize ideas and thoughts. I like that you can add a verbal description to the images, but it's still a bit more visual than simply creating a list of bookmarks.

If you're curious what I'm up to on there, you can find me here: . "Vanity" is my board that I will be using for cosmetic products and looks I am interested in, although I only have a few pins on there so far.

I'd love to see what you guys are doing on Pinterest, if you have accounts! Link me! And does anyone have any insight into Pinterest "etiquette"? It seems a little strange to be putting images on my boards without asking permission, although I suppose technically you're just linking to the image, not taking it or re-using it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NOTD: Zoya Sally

I have been really excited about nail polish again; sometimes I am more interested in spending time on my makeup, and sometimes I'm more excited about nail polish. The last couple of weeks have definitely been more nail-polish focused, probably because I've acquired a few really stunning new polishes! Despite having some new and exciting things, there are classics I always come back to.

Sally by Zoya is my go-to pale pink nail polish; it's nearly opaque in two coats (two coats leaves just a little hint of visible nail line if I'm looking closely) and has a lot of depth. The little bit of shimmer in it is really lovely, but there's not so much that it appears frosty, and the color has a little bit of peach and grey in it, which makes it a bit more subdued and flattering on my skin tone than a true baby pink or bubblegum pink would be. I was going over to my boyfriend's grandmother's house for her 93rd birthday (Happy Birthday, Irene!) and wanted a shade that I knew would cooperate and work out for a fast manicure, and wasn't too crazy. I turned to Sally, and boy, did she perform! I find the formula really easy to work with. It's on the thicker side but not gloppy, and is very easy to apply.

Sally is available for $8 through Zoya's website, and is described as "nude flesh toned warm pink with very subtle pale salmon undertones and soft silvery shimmer". They give each of their shades opacity ratings, with 1 being sheer and 5 being opaque one-coaters; Sally earns a 2, which is why it takes 3 thick coats to get it completely opaque. I guess technically I'm wearing it wrong; they suggest wearing it as part of a French manicure or on its own for a more natural, subtle nail, but I love the way this color looks built up.

Here are some pictures; sorry about the nick on my ring finger, I was in a really big hurry to get some polish on my fingers and get out the door so of course I was doing things before my nails were completely dry, and then didn't have time to fix it. Regardless, you can still see what a pretty color this is.

Natural light

Look at that shimmer! 

Indirect natural light

I love pale pinks like this; I don't wear them much, but I think everyone needs a flattering pale pink for conservative occasions and fool-proof fast manicures.

Do you guys have a go-to pale pink? Do you reach for a different type of color when you need a fast manicure in a conservative nail color? I tried turning this into a half-moon manicure with a fuchsia glass-fleck color (Zoya Sarah) on top, but the stickers I was using as guides peeled up some of the second color when I tried removing them. Sad face.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review and Swatches: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Bahama

I have had NARS' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Bahama for quite some time now, and I can't believe I haven't talked about it here before now. It looks so unassuming in the tube, but is really beautiful on the lips. According to NARS' website, it is "the perfect blend of pink and brown", and I think that about sums it up. What's more, this color is a chameleon; if I want a neutral but bold lip, it will go with almost any other cheek and eye makeup I might be wearing, and is a great balance of brightness and darkness. It's definitely a degree too noticeable to fall into the "My Lips But Better" category, but it's just as versatile and definitely in the same color family.

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you'll know that I am a big fan of the Velvet Matte lip pencils; they are creamy and soft on the lip, but perfectly matte. They aren't drying, and they are very comfortable to wear. They won't make your lips look dryer or emphasize lip lines, but as with all matte products, they are not forgiving, so making sure your lips are balmed-up and exfoliated before application helps. They're easy to apply over a balm for a sheer-er, satin finish, and they're so pigmented it only takes a touch to give lips a nice sheer stain, and one pass will get them perfectly opaque. The pencil format means it's also a cinch to get a nice, crisp outline on lips-- a necessity, in my opinion, for a bold matte lip. My only complaints are that you have to sharpen these pencils, which can be annoying on the go (besides the fact that you lose product when you sharpen them), and the fact that if you don't double-check that the caps are secure, they can pop back off. I've never had this happen when I double checked and was positive the cap was on correctly, though. Any of the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils can be yours for $24.

For reference, I applied this to my lips with the tip this blunt; I really don't find it necessary to sharpen these too often, since they apply easily even with a blunt tip.

Bahama, indoor light

Bahama, natural light 

Sorry I can't give you guys more  photographs with natural light; my house only has windows on two of the four sides, and none in the bathrooms. This means I can never get my face fully in the light without some shadow falling across it, and I have to just point the camera at my face and hope that I've got the intended quadrant in the viewfinder, since I can't look in a mirror to make sure I have the shot lined up correctly.

Summary: If you are like me and do not mind having to sharpen your lip pencil every once in awhile, these are a great lip product! I absolutely adore this formula; it might be my favorite matte lip formula. This color i great; the shade name makes me think of wearing it with bronzer and a gilded eye, but in truth it's incredibly versatile, and a great go-to shade when a bold lip is called for, but I don't have the time (or inclination) to get too fussy with matching.

Monday, August 27, 2012

NOTD: Half-Moon Manicure redo!

Yesterday I posted my first attempt at a half-moon manicure, with the promise of pictures of my second attempt to come soon... And here it is!

To be quite honest, this wasn't my second try; this was my FOURTH that you are seeing pictures of. Nails have to be 100% dry before you put the stickers on them, FYI. Even if they seem dry enough, wait longer. I waited an hour after painting my nails and that wasn't long enough; I ended up having to put Seche Vite on my nail's base color and then waiting two hours after that to apply the stickers and second color before this work without peeling my nail polish off.

I really like the way this turned out; it's still not perfect, but I love the color combination, and it is neater than the first try. However, I still need to practice putting down the guides more evenly. I used a base color that was opaque in one coat, and the second color took two to get opaque, so I didn't have more layers of nail polish on my nails than I absolutely needed. I'd recommend using one-or-two coaters for both colors if you are trying this for the first time. You really don't want 10 layers of polish going on, or else it will never dry.

My base color is Skin Food's Pedicure Sparkle #1, and the contrasting red is Orly's Grave Mistake.

I really, REALLY like this manicure. I left it on until I absolutely had to take it off, even though I had lots of new goodies to try out. I think this shape makes your nails look longer; I just wish I had them filed in a more retro oval shape, which I think would complement the half-moon curve better. I'm crazy about this color combination, too; the hint of intense sparkle with the deep wine-red jelly-creme was stunning in real life. Seriously guys; if you are into glammed up nails, try this!

Hopefully I'll continue getting better at this... I see many half-moon manicures in my future! What about you guys? Is this your style? Have you tried a half-moon shape?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Revisiting Tarte's True Blood Palette

I recently pulled out Tarte's True Blood Palette that I picked up on clearance from Sephora last holiday season. I was originally on the fence about it, but after the price dropped I knew I wanted it; I like Tarte's eyeshadow formula, and the colors looked really versatile. Tarte also has a really nice matte formula, and I was looking forward to adding a couple of neutral mattes to my collection in the form of this palette. In addition to the eyeshadows it has a primer, an eyeliner, and a mascara, but I only used the eyeshadows for this look.

At first glance, this palette looks like it would be better suited to "edgy" looks; the black and red corset look is your first indication, but lots of the colors in it are really vampy and bold. However, I wanted to see if I could do a very natural-looking eye to go with a bold red lip for daytime using this palette.

One really annoying thing about this palette is that the color names aren't printed anywhere on it, and I lost the insert that has the shade names. So, I'm going to be referring to the colors based on their position in the palette in rows, with five rows total. So if I'm referring to the black matte shade on the bottom, I'd say the black matte shade (second from left in the fifth row). Likewise, the silver shade just above and to the right of it would be that silver shade (third from left in the fourth row). Hopefully that makes some sort of sense.


I used a mixture of the shimmery beige (far left in the first row) and the shimmery pink (second from left in the first row) all over the eye, with more of the pink under the brow and on the inner corner. I then used the warm mauvey-brown (far right in the first row) in the crease. I used the dark matte brown (second from left in the second row) in the bottom part of the crease, focusing the color on the outside edge. I pushed some of the very sparkly tan/gold (third from the left in the second row) against my upper lash line, and used the matte grey (far right in the third row) on my lower lash line.

Just for kicks, I used a one of my my pink-brown blushes (I can't remember which one right now... Probably NARS Douceur) with Exhibit A by NARS over it, and I am wearing NARS lipstick in Jungle Red on my lips.

The tan/gold sparkly shade that I used on the upper lashline had SO MUCH fallout. All of the fallout. It's up there with Urban Decay's Midnight Cowboy for fallout. Other than that, I think this is a really versatile palette, and I'm going to try doing a vampier look from it to compare to this one, so keep your eyes open for that! It has everything you need for a really natural eye look, though; highlight, contour, and nice in between shades to add lots of depth to a natural eye, with a variety of finishes. I really just wanted to enhance the shape of my eye and make it look more polished than a bare eye would be.

Do any of you have this palette? I don't think it's available anymore, but I am glad I snagged it when I had the chance!

Do you guys do "bare" natural eye looks very often? I tend to at least use eyeliner if I am going to do an eye that is this neutral, but because I had my heart set on wearing a bold red lip without looking too fussy, I left it out this time around.

NOTD: First attempt at a half-moon manicure!

I have been meaning to try a half moon manicure for ages, but just now got around to it! I bought some binder paper hole reinforcers (the little donut stickers) to use as guides. The process itself was really simple; I painted my nails one color like I normally do (with a base coat and top coat), and then after it was completely dry (in this case, a day later once I started seeing some chips on the tips that I wanted to cover up!), I put the stickers on the bottom of my nails and made sure they were pressed tightly against the nail; I used my nails to press them down against the cuticle. Then I painted the tips a contrasting color, and finished the whole thing off with a top coat again.

The colors I used were L'Oreal's Precious Coral for the half moon, and OPI I'm Suzi & I'm A Chocoholic for the tips. It didn't come out perfect; for one, I would make the half moons smaller than I did here, and it was trickier to get a graceful, symmetrical curve than I though it would be. I will post my second attempt soon; it turned out better, but still not perfect.

Have you guys tried this? Did you do it freehand, or did you do use a guide? I don't think I could do this freehand, but I have a really unsteady hand!

I'm really excited to keep playing around with this; I think it's a really simple way to do a more interesting manicure, and it's much more my style than a French manicure. Hopefully after a few more tries I'll perfect my technique!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: CoverGirl Natureluxe Liquid Silk Foundation

Full disclosure: I signed up for BzzAgent awhile back and never managed to do much with it, but they *did* send me this foundation to try out. A year later, I'm finally getting around to reviewing it... To be absolutely clear, I did not purchase this product myself, but I can assure you this has not swayed my opinion of the product; what follows are my honest opinions after months of using this on and off.

I've had this tube of CoverGirl Natureluxe Liquid Silk Foundation sitting in my drawer for close to a year now, and I really need to get through it, so I've been wearing it as often as I think of it. Why haven't I used it up in that time? Well, for one, the color I was sent is a few shades too dark for my skin tone. I think there was a week this summer after I got back from Disneyland that I could wear this without blending like crazy and using really light powder, but now I'm back to bending over backwards and jumping through hoops to not look like a Jersey Shore reject every time I have this on. The shade I have is 320, which is the 4th from lightest shade out of 14 shades to choose from; on me, it looks too dark and too pink/red-toned. The coverage is light-to-medium, depending on how much you apply; I tend to apply very little product since it's dark and it spreads out evenly. It is supposed to be cucumber scented, but the scent reminds me of hairspray for some reason. It's not an unpleasant scent, but if you're sensitive to fragranced products, it is something to consider. The foundation itself feels fairly light on, and it is on the dry side of liquid foundations I've tried, if that makes any sense. It's not drying, but I don't think it adds any moisture; this would probably be a great benefit for those of you with normal-to-combo skin. This has more of a light, kind-of-sticky lotion consistency. If you'd like to read what CoverGirl has to say about the product, or to see the available shades,you can do so here. I find it to have a very natural satin finish; no shimmer, it doesn't look sticky on, but it isn't really unnaturally matte or dry, either. Depending on where you purchase this, it should run you about $10, but many drugstores often run CoverGirl on sale, so it's possible to get this for a few dollars less than that.

I tend to go for "long wearing" foundations when I am buying drugstore foundation, because I think they have a tendency to rub off and look patchy sooner than some higher end formulas. Even though this doesn't have a long wearing claim, it stays on fairly well when I've worn it with a primer (I've used an Almay primer with this) and set it with powder. I haven't noticed any patchiness when it does eventually wear off towards the end of the day. I like that it has SPF 10 in it; I use a moisturizer with SPF every day, but having a little extra coverage never hurts. I am not thrilled with the bottle, however; I don't like twist-cap tubes for foundation, since it's hard to control how much you get, the tubes can get messy, and sometimes it's awkward to try to put the cap back on after you've squirted a dollop of foundation out of it. I am also dubious of the name "Natureluxe" for the line. There's really not a lot that's natural about this foundation formula as compared to any other line. I think the name is kind of misleading, especially for people who are looking for more natural formulas.

CoverGirl Natureluxe Foundation

The claims

The ingredients

The nozzle; see how the foundation just kind of oozes out even if you're not squeezing it? Not a fan. of this type of makeup tube. 

On to swatches! Now, remember, this shade is too dark for me. But this will give you an idea of the consistency and the coverage. I swatched over the veins on my wrist so you can see how well it covers them; click on the picture to make it bigger if you'd like to examine that more closely. Notice the liquid-y-ness of the dollop.

Blended out and swatched heavily in indoor light

Blended out and swatched heavily in natural light 
 Sorry I forgot to take a bare skin picture for comparison; there are a couple in this post, and that's pretty standard for me; some undereye darkness, some redness around the nose and jaw, not a lot else to cover. I mostly want a foundation to even out skintone and look natural.

In the following picture, I am wearing Almay's primer, CoverGirl Natureluxe foundation, and powder (I believe it was L'Oreal Infallible pressed powder), but no concealer.

I've included some awkward close-ups. Around the nose and on the cheeks is where foundation often looks the least natural on me; if it's going to get cakey, patchy, or emphasize pores, this is where it's happening. So... weird pictures to show you the finish of this foundation:

Summary: Would I repurchase this foundation? Maybe. I think that, in the right shade, this is actually one of the more natural finishes I've seen from a drugstore foundation. However, it doesn't wear all day long (to be fair, few drugstore foundation do in my experience) and feels weirdly tight on my skin until I stop thinking about it. The scent also kind of weirds me out, but it fades after five or ten minutes. Those are honestly the two things that usually make me hesitate before using this (other than the shade), but they are both things that I don't think about after the foundation has been on for a little while. That being said, there are a few foundation formulas I have been wanting to try that I will probably purchase before I come back around to this. I think for $10, this is a really solid foundation, especially if you don't need something that will last for more than 6-8 hours. However, I haven't found a new favorite in this product.

Friday, August 24, 2012

NOTD: OPI Number One Nemesis

Another nail polish post! I apologize, for throwing so many of these at you in a row, but to be honest, I haven't been doing very many exciting things with makeup lately. I keep meaning to pull out some old favorites and swatch and review them, but I haven't found the time yet.

Luckily for us both, I have a deep and abiding love of nail polish, and that combined with my weak nails means that I am constantly playing with pretty nail polish, and I am more than happy to share the results with you here.

Number One Nemesis quickly became a favorite; released with The Amazing Spider Man collection, it doesn't exactly scream "summer", but I love these dark metallic shades. This was rumored to be a dupe of Chanel's Graphite (which I attempted to re-create in a previous post), a nail polish that had me head over heels when I first saw it nearly a year ago. I don't own it, so I can't tell you how close it really is to Number One Nemesis, but from what I recall I would say Number One Nemesis leans a bit more olive green in certain lights than Graphite does, although I would hardly call this an olive green shade; it is firmly located in the gunmetal family of dark grey metallics. The finish is what really sets this shade apart from similar colors, and what earns it its comparison to Graphite. It has a kind of foiled metallic effect, with specks of different colors adding interest and depth to what would otherwise be a fairly standard color.

In the following pictures, you can see the multi-colored tiny shimmer on my out-of-focus little finger, and you can see the mixture of dark charcoal and brighter pewter flecks that make up the bulk of this polish.

OPI Number One Nemesis, natural light

OPI Number One Nemesis, reflecting direct natural light 

Summary: This is a really pretty color, and definitely cured me of wanting to shell out $25 for Chanel Graphite; for ~$8, this is fine for me. In certain lights, it leans a bit olive green, but it is predominately a dark charcoal/gunmetal shade. I know OPI's formula wears very well on some people; I get no better than average wear from the brand, which on me means two or three chip-free days. No worse than usual, so I can't complain!

How do you guys feel about finding dupes for more expensive products? I sometimes feel bad about supporting ripping off of designers, but when it comes to cosmetics, I think most things are just reiterations of what's already out there, and when I buy dupes, I never would have spent the money on the original anyway. I feel like a lot of what you end up paying for is the branding in many cases, and that's not very important to me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NOTD: NARS Rouge Andalou

I have been wanting this nail polish for such a long time, and when Sephora gave me a 10% coupon when they renewed my VIB status, I decided now was the time.

I should preface this by saying I have one other NARS nail polish, Jungle Red. I found it at TJMaxx a few years back as part of a gift set that at one time included a lipstick (someone had pilfered it; luckily I already had Jungle Red!) and an eyeliner (which was intact). It's a great nail polish; a beautiful red cream that lasts and lasts without chipping. That being said, I hadn't quite been able to bring myself to pay the full $18 for a second NARS nail polish, even though I'd been very impressed with the formula.

Rouge Andalou caught my eye for its uniqueness. I love red nail polishes, and Rouge Andalou isn't just any red; it's a coral red with a shimmery metallic finish. It's described as "Candy Apple Red" on Sephora's website, but I'd say it definitely has a lot more orange in it than a true candy apple red would. It lasted on my nails for a full five days before chipping (three is about average for me) with base and top coat, and was nearly opaque after one coat, although I used two for good measure. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures right away, so there are a couple of chips in the following photographs. I'm so sorry! But I couldn't *not* show you guys this lovely polish, and I have so many untrieds I knew I wouldn't get around to this again anytime soon (it was my second manicure in a row with Rouge Andalou; I never do that!).

Summary: I love this color, and the formula is top notch; easy to work with, completely opaque in two coast, and long-wearing. If I could have a lipstick in this color and finish, I think my life would be complete. I have to say, sometimes after I have wanted something for so long, it pales in comparison to what I'd imagined it would be like. Not so in this case; I am so glad I finally picked it up, and I have no regrets! I'd buy it again (and recommend it to others) in a heartbeat. It's eye-catching and beautiful, and I can see wearing this year-round. New favorite nail polish? Yes! At least for now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Essie: Rock Star Skinny

Hi All!

I am slowly slowly going through my folders of unpublished pictures; I have a few fun things to show you coming up. I was really excited to post pictures of this polish, not because it's the most awesome thing I've ever seen, but because of how it came to me. Rock Star Skinny is a color from Essie's Fall 2008 collection. Yup, Fall 2008; it's four years old, and I only just purchased it. I found it at TJMaxx for $4, and what can I say? It spoke to me. It's described on Essie's website as a creamy crimson red, but it's more of a deep burgundy/berry shade, and it has the faintest hint of silver shimmer in it. Not nearly enough to make it a frost, but just enough to make it look a little bit velvety on the nail. It doesn't even really show up indoors, but it catches the light beautifully and provides an unexpected bit of shimmer in outdoors light. I always love finding beauty relics from the past like this, even if they're from the (relatively) near-past.

Do any of you have Rock Star Skinny? Did you purchase it when it first came out, or did you stumble upon it later, like I did?

 Sorry about the nick on my ring finger... I must have dinged it before I took pictures, I did not even notice until I was going through them later and had already changed my nail polish!

I highly recommend enlarging this last photo to get a better idea of the neat effect the hint of silver shimmer gives this shade. It's really beautiful!

So, what do you guys think? Would you go for a four year old nail polish? The formula on this was really easy to work with, and the color is lovely. I'm not sure about the name of the shade... Rock Star Skinny? It rubs me the wrong way, but I like the color enough that I don't really care.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Adore U

Hi guys! Sorry for not posting in a little while, I have been working on schoolwork, on my sewing (check out what I've been up to on that front at if you're curious), and I went to visit my dad out of state. It's been a busy summer, but I've been having fun, too.

Anyway, I'm trying to focus on makeup products I already own, rather than longing for more and more and more. Do you ever start to feel like you have more makeup than you'll ever get through, and most of the things you see in the store are just dupes of things you already own?

Yeah, me neither.

No, just kidding! I usually feel like there's always something new to explore, but lately I've been realizing that I do own a lot of great stuff that I should be enjoying. So, in that spirit, I am going to show you a lipstick that I've had for about a year now.

This is Clinique's Butter Shine Lipstick formula in Adore U. The Butter Shine formula is sheer and very shiny, and comes in possibly my favorite lipstick case ever; it's bamboo-shaped silver metal. They are $15. Adore U is described as being a "sheer golden coppered brown", which is fairly accurate; it's a nude that isn't too pale, and it has a lot of shimmer in it. My one major complaint is that the shimmer feels a bit gritty, not my favorite texture. It stays on for 1.5-2 hours before drying down and leaving a bunch of shimmer on my mouth. Also, not my favorite thing, but glossy lipsticks often disappear much sooner than other finishes. It's the leaving behind shimmer I really dislike; it is not a good look for me! It gets kind of frosty.

That being said, this is a pretty color to layer with; I often pull it out when I want to add a bit of golden shimmer to a matte or satin red or berry lipstick, and if I can remember to reapply it every so often, it works out fine.

Swatched lightly on left, heavily on right; natural light

Indoor light

Wearing Adore U on my lips

Adore U

Summary: This is a gorgeous color, and I love getting this kind of shimmer and shine from a lipstick; I tend to prefer products in twist up tubes to lip gloss formulas. If you don't mind the grit of the shimmer and needing to reapply often, this is a beautiful lip color, but if those are dealbreakers, this might not be the product for you. I would repurchase a Butter Shine Lipstick without shimmer, but this will probably be my last one that includes shimmer; the dry-down to frost finish and the grit keep me from reaching for this as often as I'd like to. I do love using a daub of this on top of lipstick, though, as a way to add depth to other shades and avoid those problems!