Saturday, May 26, 2012

NOTD: OPI Just Spotted the Lizard

Sorry once again for not posting as frequently as I intend to... I always think that when I finish up the semester, I will get a lot more free time, and then I remember that I have to attend to day-to-day chores and responsibilities that I'd been putting on hold to finish up papers. Does this happen to anyone else? At any rate, my house is a LOT cleaner now than it was a week ago! :D

Today, I have another OPI The Amazing Spiderman shade to show you. This shade is Just Spotted the Lizard, which is supposed to be a dupe of Chanel's Peridot, a shade that I coveted (along with Graphite!) all last summer and fall... But I held out and never brought myself to drop the money on it, and I'm glad I did, since now both OPI and Jessica have released dupes from that collection. I don't have Peridot to compare Just Spotted the Lizard with, but from swatches I've seen online and from what I remember of swatching it at the Chanel counter, these shades are incredibly close.

Just Spotted the Lizard is a shimmery frost duochrome finish. Because of the shimmer, brushstrokes are not emphasized (woo-hoo!), although any imperfections on the nail are (booo). For instance, I have really brittle nails that peel, so even after layering on the base coat to try to cover areas where one layer of my nail has peeled away, the dip still affects the finish of the duochrome. Oh well, it's a very subtle effect, I just figured I would mention it if anyone else is self-conscious about the condition of their nails and wondering what the deal is. The duochrome flashes between the spectrum of warm bronze and cobalt, but those are the extremes; the predominant colors you'll see on the nail are gold, olive green, and chartreuse. It really is lovely! I kept staring at my nails when I had this on. I got average (for me) wear out of this, a good 2 or 3 days before any significant tip wear or chips showed up. OPI nail polishes retail for $8.50 and come with .5 ounces of lacquer...

This was such a difficult shade to capture on my camera! I've included several photos so you can try to get a more accurate impression of the different variations of color produced by the duochrome effect.

Indoor light:

Natural light (this shows the shimmer effect very well)

Natural light: This is probably the most color accurate photo:

And a close-up; I tilted up my index finger (far left) so you could see the blue/green side of the duochrome when the light hits it from a different angle. This is a fairly color-accurate photograph (although the warmth captured in the last picture above is more representative of what I see in real life).

Summary: This has definitely made me glad I held out and never purchased Peridot; Just Spotted the Lizard is such a gorgeous duochrome (can we call it multichrome at this point?) and the formula is lovely to work with. If you wanted Peridot and never got it, here's your chance! And if you picked up Peridot and loved it, this might still be worth picking up as a backup! I can't wait to re-do my toes and put this on; it'll look great with sandals during the summer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Casual Flapper

Hi Guys! Back from paper writing hell... I finished a paper for a class I took a year ago that was going to revert to a failing grade if I did not complete it by the end of this semester, which is in approximately 10 days! Yikes! Anyway, it's done... And I am back to doing makeup!

I decided to have some fun with it today, since it had been awhile since I'd put anything on my face. After I had the colors on my eyes, it reminded me of estate jewelry... Not sure why I was thinking of specifically estate jewelry, but I went with the mood and ended up with a 1920's inspired look that was modern enough to wear out to the store.

Here's what I ended up with!

So, what did I do diferently to try to recall a 1920's aesthetic? The most noticeable thing would be the lip. I did a sort of "deconstructed" bee-stung lip shape by concentrating the color in the center of my mouth and using fingers to pull the stain outwards. I started with a lip balm before I did my makeup, letting some of the foundation mix with the balm to create a bit of a canvas to start with, without actually trying to erase my lip line, and then added the color on top of that base. The second thing I did differently was to concentrate eyeliner on the bottom lash line and wrap it around to the top outer corner, creating droopy, rounded ingenue eyes. Finally, sculpted cheeks helped to finish off the look, subtly (hopefully) evoking the dramatic lighting techniques used to highlight starlets in silent films.

I used...

Face: Clinique Redness Solutions base, NARS concealer, Revlon Colorstay Foundation, Benefit High Beam (on cheek bones), Hard Candy Pin Up (on cheeks), MAC Vintage Grape blush (brighter color used on apple of cheek with darker color used to contour), NYX taupe (to contour near temples and under cheekbone), The Body Shop bronzer (on edges of face).

Eyes: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in 13 all over lid as base, Inglot Matte 352 (pale ballerina pink) under brow bones and on inner corner, Inglot Matte 390 (pale warm taupe) in crease, Urban Decay Tease (on lid), Urban Decay Verve (on inner part of lid), Urban Decay Pistol (on outer part of lid), Urban Decay Rock Star (to line bottom lash line and outer 1/3 of upper lash line), Prestige My Biggest Lashes mascara, Prestige brow pencil, Ulta brow gel.

Lips: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Plum, a tiny bit of Revlon Colorstay Foundation, Revlon Wine Not, Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense 13, and Rimmel Stay Glossy lip gloss in Yours Forever on center of lip, blended outwards slightly.

Here are some angles that show color placement more clearly:

New earrings! They're little bows! 

I have to say, I like how this turned out! I did wimp out and blend the lip color out to cover the lip more evenly after I took these pictures, but this is a look I would do again. I'd like to do a more dramatic version at some point in the future-- hopefully after I find my NARS Velvet Matte pencil in Train Bleu-- and then try to stay a little closer to the source inspiration.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Maybelline Oriental Spice Eyeshadow Duo

Hi All! It's been awhile since I have swatched something; I have been on a Nail of the Day and Face of the Day kick. However, I have some fun new things I've been picking up here and there over the last couple of months, and I have decided to make a genuine effort to get better at swatching products for you, even if I can't always show myself wearing the products.

So, Oriental Spice! I picked this up at Bed Bath & Beyond awhile back; it's part of the limited edition summer collection Maybelline has been rolling out. I hadn't tried Maybelline's eyeshadows in a really long time, after having been completely underwhelmed by them years ago. I remembered hearing that the formula had gotten better, and seeing as how I've been wanting an orange-coral eyeshadow, I figured this was a good chance to try them out again. Bed Bath & Beyond was selling this duo for $3.29, and I was able to use a $1 off tear-pad coupon that was on the display, so I got the duo for a grand total of $2.29.

I have to say, this eyeshadow formula was a lot better than I remembered it! This isn't a fantastic, stand-out formula, but for $3? I'm not complaining! It's medium-to-opaque, and you can build the opacity with multiple layers. The formula is smooth and soft, but a bit on the dry side (as opposed to being buttery). But honestly, this is one of the better drugstore powder eyeshadow formulas I've encountered lately; it's certainly better than the new Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow quads. I think this is a good value for the money, and the formula is certainly workable, if not A+.

Oriental Spice contains two pans. I hate when one pan is bigger than the other! I suspect I will use the brown more than the coral, even though the coral is more than twice the size of the brown. The coral is a kind of flamingo pink meets orange satin shade; not quite matte, but it doesn't have noticeable shimmer or frost on the skin, either. It's just a little glowy. The brown is a very warm brown with shimmer that is almost metallic; just gorgeous. Take a look! For reference, these swatches are a couple of swipes of product. I used my finger to deposit the product as opaquely as possible, and the swatches are over bare skin.

Maybelline Oriental Spice

Swatches in indoor light:

Swatch of Oriental Spice

Swatches in indirect natural light:

Take a look at the individual shades up close; you can get a better idea of the finishes and opacity if you enlarge these.

Orange from Oriental Spice

Brown from Oriental Spice

Summary: These are beautiful colors, and you can't beat the price! I think there are better eyeshadow formulas out there (Wet n Wild, Urban Decay, etc...) but these are definitely a step above mediocre, and they exceeded my expectations. I also really appreciate how unique these colors are.

What do you guys think? Have you tried Maybelline's eyeshadows recently? Is it worth dealing with an imperfect formula in a great color if you know there are others out there that perform better for you? I don't mind in-between formulas if I really like the color and if the price is right, but I believe that difficult formulas are a waste of money and time, no matter how inexpensive they are.  I'm pretty happy with this little duo!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mail Time!

I got two things in the mail recently! If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know about my aversion to ordering things online without being able to see it in person first. Well, I broke down and ordered my first Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polish, IKB: 2012. In addition to that, I was able to request a Target Beauty Bag (I guess I made a qualifying purchase, because the request code showed up on my receipt!) and it finally got here! I haven't tried anything yet, so I can't comment on that, but I took pictures to share in the excitement with you guys!

Let's start off with my packages. This is what showed up:

The plain white cardboard box is from RBL! The cute little striped bag was in the flimsy Target cardboard box, but the bag is pretty cushiony and nothing inside was fragile. Can I just say, I was not expecting to get my samples in such a cute little bag? I love using bags like this to carry my cosmetics around in my purse, and this is the perfect size for that. Because it's a little more cushioned than most cosmetic bags, it might become my perfume-bag when I travel!

Let's move on to what was inside this pretty little bag. Target sent me a Neutrogena Visibly Bright Daily Facial Cleanser from Neutrogena. I love Neutrogena products, I've had great luck with them, so I'm excited to try this out! I also got a Nivea Extended Moisture lotion sample, which at 1 oz is the perfect size to carry around in my purse. Can I just say, I love Nivea? It's another favorite drugstore skincare brand. I got 7 pre-moistened cleansing wipes from Simple, the "sensitive skin experts". If you haven't heard of them, it's my understanding that they're a new (to those of us in the US!) drugstore brand from the UK that caters to sensitive skin. Sounds like it might work for my sensitive skin! I love these cloths, they make taking makeup off so easy; with 7 wipes, this is perfect for throwing into an overnight bag! The little card that says L'Oreal Magic Lumi is a peel-up sample with a small amount of "light infusing primer"; not sure there's more than one use in here, but hey, this was free! I'm not complaining. The kit also came with a booklet of coupons that I did not show. They all expire at the end of the month, so I'll have to get a move on if I want to take advantage of them! 

And here is what was inside the box from RBL. I loved how the nail polish was packaged, so I decided to photograph each stage of unwrapping it; first, it was wrapped up in tissue paper:

Then came the shiny red box:

And finally I got to IKB: 2012. This color is so gorgeous, I just had to take a few pictures of the bottle to share with you. IKB stands for International Klein Blue, and is a notoriously hard pigment to capture on film. It is one of the most vibrant blues, capturing the intensity of pure pigment. (thank you, wikipedia!) As you'd expect from a color that was so difficult to develop in the first place due to its intensity, my camera ran away and cried when I tried to take pictures of this bottle. The real deal is a little more purple, and very, very vibrant. It looks a little "dusty" in these photos, and that is not the case at all. It's an eye-popping bright royal blue.

Indoor Light:

Natural light:

Oh man, my camera did NOT do well with that last picture especially.  Anyway, I'm off to put this stuff on my nails. Hope you enjoyed seeing what I got in the mail!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NOTD: OPI Call Me Gwen-Ever

I have been so excited for OPI's The Amazing Spider-Man collection... I went nuts when I saw the little nail sample card (what do you call those plastic things with fake nails on them?) out at Ulta! The sales person swore to me that they were not out on the floor, and that the card went out by accident, and the rest would be out on Sunday, but I found one lone bottle of Call Me Gwen-Ever and bought it immediately. And then went back Sunday and got the rest of the colors I wanted.  No surprises with Call Me Gwen-Ever; the formula was a tad thick, but not the point where it was difficult to work with. The shade is a nice melon sort of color; it is very faintly pastel, kind of straddling the line between orange and coral. $8.50 for .5 ounces...

So, here she is!

Indoor light:
OPI Call Me Gwen-Ever

Natural Light:

OPI Call Me Gwen-Ever

And I thought to give you guys a point of reference, I'd show the bottle alongside another color I swatched recently, L'Oreal's Precious Coral. You can see that Precious Coral is clearly more vibrant and darker, although they are both in the same sort of orange family.

Summary: No surprises with this one! I wouldn't say I'm especially impressed with it, but sometimes no news is good news; it's a neat color, it wears an average length of time on me, and the formula behaves.

Have you guys picked up any of the shades from this collection? I also have Into The Night, Just Spotted The Lizard, and Number One Nemesis. What do you think of all of these movie tie-ins with cosmetic and nail collections? I like it! I'd hate to see all collections be based on movies, but I think the costumer in me appreciates seeing well-done collections that draw inspiration from films.

11 Q + A Tag from Sugar Bumpkin and a bonus Cocktail Recipe!

Hi Guys!

I know, I am falling behind on the awards and tags that you guys have given me... Oops! Please don't think I'm not grateful or that I've forgotten if you are one of these people, I love doing tags like this, but sometimes I forget. So I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone and let you know that I appreciate it, and that I've not forgotten.

As for this tag, it is from Janny over at A Sugar Bumpkin's Makeup Story. She has some really great content, you should go check out her blog if you haven't already! I decided to do this tag right away since she tagged me in an even earlier one I still haven't done, and since I saw the post during a much-needed paper-writing break! Yay procrastination!

So, how does this work? You answer the 11 questions that the person who tagged you thought up for you, and then create 11 of your own that the 11 people you tag will answer? Got that? Good! Because now I'm going to change the rules. I always hate when you don't get to answer the same questions that the person who tagged you answer. I don't know about you, but I always think of answers as I read their answers... So I am going to choose three of the questions that Janny answered and answer them myself, before I move on to the questions she posed for me.

From Janny's Set of Questions (given to her by Iridescent Makeup):

1. What's the best memory you have off the top of your mind? This is a really difficult one, since it is hard to choose just one; I have lots of memories that spring to mind. But I think I'd have to say that the "best of medley" of early dates with my boyfriend is what I think of first; going to museums with him, seeing movies, getting to know him over dinner and coffee... When I fondly recall our early dates, he always rolls his eyes and points out that this implies that the best dates we've been on all occurred during the first few months we dated, and that's not it at all; I just really cherish the fact that we had such a charmed courtship. Those were the experiences that created the momentum that we're still riding on now.

3. What is your favorite face moisturizer? I can't NOT answer this one, because it's NARS Body Glow II (monoi oil), a product I absolutely do not give enough love on here. It deserves several posts of its own, because it is such a multi-tasker, and it has done amazing, wonderful things for my skin and hair. It makes my facial skin look tight, poreless, and glowing. It's amazing. I use it at least once a day underneath traditional face cream or lotion, and sometimes put it in my hair as well. Because it's so expensive, I only use it for my extra sensitive and delicate facial skin, but it only takes a few drops to get amazing benefits, so once bottle lasts me FOREVER. Like... a year.

7. What place have you been to that holds a beautiful memory, and who was it with? Disney World and Disneyland, easy! I've spent many birthdays at Disney World, and I've been to both parks with lots of people who are special to me. But I used to go to Disney World with my mom every summer when we'd go see my Grandma; it was our favorite place to spend time together, and so it holds a lot of very special memories for me because of that. My boyfriend and I started planning our first trip to Disneyland after our fourth date, and arrived after we'd only been dating 3 months! We both thought we were kind of crazy for planning a vacation with a near stranger, but it was a great way to fall in love. We ended up at Disney World for our 1 year anniversary (and my birthday), and will be at Disneyland again with one of my very best friends (who I've been to Disneyland with twice!) for my birthday in June! Yup, I'm a lucky girl, and I have so many wonderful, emotional memories between those two places.

On to the questions Janny posed for those of us that she tagged!

1. What name(s) do you like to go by? Just Sarah! I've been called Sari on and off since childhood as a pet name, and my dad used to call me Susie-Q when I was little... When I was REALLY little I wished my name was Sally (which, as it turns out, is an old nick-name for Sarah)... But I've never had a "real" nickname that everyone knew me by or called me consistently. In high school, one of my very best friends (same one who is coming to Disneyland with me this birthday!) was also named Sarah, and so people would refer to us in the plural as "Sarahs." It was really common that we'd here "Hi Sarahs!" as we walked around; come to find out, that wasn't just restricted to the students! We went back to visit after graduation and one of our teachers said "The Sarahs are back!" Very silly.

2. What is your current profession/ occupation? Uuuuugh... I hate this question! Not because it's a strange one, just because I'm not happy with what I'm doing right now. I am a student. That's it. That's all. I'm trying to get my MA in English Literature and it is kicking my butt. I'm hoping to finish up in a semester or so, and then... who knows what I'll do! I've only ever worked retail before, but I'd like to do something creative. I am seriously considering  starting an Etsy shop for my sewing and jewelry making. Not that it would be a career, but I  miss having a job, even though I know I won't finish my degree if I put too much time towards something else; I am so burnt out on school, I'm afraid I'd just drop out.

3. What is your greatest accomplishment? I don't feel like I've done much of anything with my life so far that hasn't just been by luck. I graduated with my BA in English Literature Summa Cum Laude, which I'm pretty proud of! And this probably sounds weird, but I'm really proud of being able to help take care of my mom when she was terminally ill. It was incredibly difficult, but I'm glad I was able to do that for her, after all she did for me when I was growing up. I see that as an honor and an accomplishment.

4. What is the craziest thing you have done for somebody? See above. Haha, that's so inappropriate, but that's immediately what I think of; I did some pretty crazy things for my mom when she was ill... I guess that's not what was intended by the question, but I honestly can't think of anything else just now. At least, nothing else I should be putting on the internet!

5. Besides playing with makeup, what else do you like to do? Sewing is my other major hobby; specifically, costuming. I am working on a set of Tudor clothing circa 1530 or so over on my other blog; I still have a lot to learn, but I can sew, draft patterns, fit, etc... proficiently, and it's something I really enjoy. I also love to read; I am currently going through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's oeuvre. I enjoy other creative things like jewelry making, drawing, and working on decorating my house, but those aren't things I devote as much time to. Oh, and taking walks! I love walking, especially around San Francisco, though I don't get to do that as often now that I don't live there.

6. What was the inspiration/idea/concept behind your blog name? Ooh, this is a good one! Truth be told, my blog would have been Bower of Bliss if that hadn't already been taken; I added the "e" out of desperation. The Bower of Bliss is a setting from Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene, written to flatter Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. He was hoping to curry favor and get money and an elevated status in return. It's super long, and he only got through half of it! It's wonderful, though; it's highly allegorical, and the poetry is so tightly written, it's jam-packed with meaning. A lot of fun to work with for an English literature dork like myself. The Bower of Bliss isn't necessarily a good place as presented in the poem; it's a place of temptation that the virtuous characters have to stay strong in. But it sounds like so much  fun! Honestly, the main reason I thought it was appropriate is that part of its "evil" is that its beauty is largely due to artifice attempting to look like nature, which is kind of what makeup and cosmetics do. I thought the negative twist the place has in the poem would be a bit tongue-in-cheek over here ;)

7. What kind of music do you like? I like random music... My favorites are David Bowie, Interpol, Arcade Fire, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Killers. I also really enjoy Ladytron, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Detroit Cobras, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Air... I could go on and on. LMFAO is my guilty pleasure. Moonlight Serenade is one of my favorite songs, and Cole Porter is my favorite lyricist/composer for music to sing. I'll come back to this in a month and realize I forgot to mention an all-time favorite artist... Oh well. Lately I've been listening to the songs "Sleep Alone" by Bat for Lashes and "Magic" by Ladyhawke a lot, but I'm pretty sure that's just a phase.

8. What is your idea of an ideal first date? For a first date with a stranger, coffee! Because it's easy to bow out after half an hour if it's going poorly, but you can linger if you're enjoying each other's company, and it's pretty low-key. However, assuming I know and am comfortable with the person, I think something like a museum would be my pick; lots of conversation starters, and I love museums!

9. If the Avengers held a round of Hunger Games amongst themselves, who would win? I am going to go ahead and say Tony Stark (Iron Man), because he is ingenious. He could handle a lot of different situations and would adapt to whatever was thrown at him. Plus, I think he has the kind of moral flexibility and instinct for self-preservation that killing innocents in the Arena calls for.

10. If you had a wedgie in public, what would you do about it? Oh man, whatever I had to do to get rid of it! Find a restroom, fitting room, shady corner behind a large potted plant... But seriously, I'd try to get to a restroom and fix it there.

11. What is your favorite drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)? My favorite non-alcoholic drink is really good iced tea. I love iced tea! And hot tea... Ok, let's just say tea ;) As far as alcoholic beverage....


My favorite boozey drink is the Hemingway, often known as the Hemingway Daiquiri. I had my first one at Beretta in San Francisco, and it was heaven. What's not to love? It's citrusy, rum-y, and literary! I'm a big fan of mixed drinks that feature rum. So, I set out to learn how to recreate it at home. Turns out a big portion of its unique deliciousness is Maraschino liquer, which is pricey. So I came up with a modified recipe of my own to make at home; I've also added club soda to make these last longer and lower the alcohol-per-ounce ratio, because seriously, I'll drink myself silly off these if given the chance. They're yummy!

If you'd like to see a traditional recipe, here's the one I started with:

And here is my version; I use more grapefruit juice than the original calls for so that it retains the bright grapefruit flavor even after adding the club soda.

Sarah's Modified Hemingway:

1 and 1/2 ounces white rum
1 ounce lime juice
2 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce thick simple syrup (melt sugar into water at a 1:1 ratio on a stovetop over medium heat)
Club soda to taste (I just add enough to fill the rest of the glass)

Add all your ingredients other than the club soda into a cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake! Strain over ice into a tall glass, add your club soda, and enjoy!

Ok, back to this tag.

Here are my 11 questions: 

1. Where is the place you would most like to travel to? What would be on your itinerary?
2. If money were no object, what would your chosen career be?
3. What are your top 3 favorite books? (I can't make anyone pick just one, it would be cruel!)
4. Did you have a pet growing up? If not, did you want one?
5. Where was the last place you traveled to?
6. How long have you been friends with your oldest friend?
7. What has been the biggest benefit of blogging?
8. When did you move into your current home? Do you think you'll stay put for long? If not, where do you see yourself ending up?
9. What have you accomplished in the last 5 years?
10. What do you hope to have accomplished in 5 years?
11. What are you the most grateful for?

And I tag:

Cult of Taupe 
In Her Makeup Bag 
Drama & Makeup 
Just Peachy 
Green Beauty Blog 
Going to the Showing 
Femputer Makeup 
Get Set To Shine
Makeup Through My Eyes


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FOTD: Golden Mangrove

I have a quick face of the day to show you. Quick, as in I am going to type this up rather quickly... I am on my way out the door! Not quick as in "this look took mere moments to throw together", although it wasn't necessarily time consuming. I've been wanting to use NARS Mangrove in a look lately, and today was the day!

I used a couple of new Revlon goodies as well. 40% off at Rite Aid this week, and I had $1 off any Revlon lip product coupons! Woo-hoo!

Face: Clinique Redness Solutions Face Base, NARS concealer, Revlon Colorstay Makeup for dry/normal skin, Benefit High Beam, NYC loose powder, Body Shop Bronzer, NYX Taupe blush, NARS Angelica blush.

Eyes: MUFE Aqua Cream in 13 as base, NARS Mangrove in crease, Revlon Vintage Lace to highlight inner corner and under brow, MUFE Aqua Cream in 2 to line top and bottom lashes, Inglot AMC Shine 11 (shimmery light gold) to blend Mangrove near the top and inner edge, Prestige brow pencil, Ulta brow gel, Prestige My Biggest Lashes mascara, Stila Major Lash mascara.

Lips: Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait.

Finally found earrings to match my gold triangle necklace! Remember it? I featured it about a month ago.


Love Mangrove with the gold above it... 

Revlon Lip Butter: Peach Parfait
So that's what I'm wearing right now! Apologies for the gratuitous shots of Mangrove... I just love that color so much, it's a gorgeous, wearable chartreuse. It's not the most flattering color on me, but I don't care; as long as I make sure to tone down the rest of my look and blend its edges with shades that are more flattering to me, it works out just fine and doesn't make me look too jaundiced.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ulta Mint Condition + Sally Hansen Aisle Be There

After last night's downer Ulta Bare Minimum post, I am frothing at the bit to show you something I really love! I can foresee myself wearing different variations on this combination LOTS.

But first, let's just take a look at Mint Condition. This is one of those damnable Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquers. Since this one is a cream, it doesn't look as awful as the streaky mess that was Bare Minimum, but the formula on this was still really bizarre. It was very thick, yet went on streaky. I know some polishes are streaky with the first coat and then look like perfection after the second (Essie is like this for me), but the second coat just served to kind of move around the first coat, making it incredibly difficult to get this even everywhere. In the photos, you'll see a bare patch on the side of one of my fingers; this is where I gave up going back over and dabbing on extra nail polish to try to get it to look right. Next time, I will try using very, very thin coats; maybe a nail polish thinner is in order. That being said... This color! It's fantastic! It might be named Mint Condition, but don't let that fool you; it's a dusty aqua. This is one of the colors that I'd been keeping an eye on, leading me to snatch up 4 of these polishes when they went on sale 2/$4; regularly, each .33 ounce bottle is $6! Way too much for a nail polish with a difficult formula, in my opinion. However, I'd buy backups of this one if I heard it was going to be discontinued; I love the color that much. Someday, I will get my hands on Zoya Wednesday and see how the two shades compare.

Indoor light:

Ulta Mint Condition 
Natural Light:

Ulta Mint Condition
 After a couple of days of wearing this color, I had an idea. Remember RBL's Aqua Lily? I reeeaaaally liked that color. I don't own it, but I do have a sheer pink shimmer from the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength line of nail polishes, called Aisle Be There. I reinvigorated my manicure by layering two coats of Aisle Be There over it. I'm not calling this a dupe for Aqua Lily (Aqua Lily seems to have a brighter, bluer base, and the pink shimmer is more subtle); instead, the combination was inspired by Aqua Lily. And I love it. I couldn't stop looking at my nails; the pink really brightened things up, and the shimmer wasn't as ubiquitous as the photos suggest; it added a flash of pink highlight wherever the light hitting my nails was brightest. It looks like there's some "crinkling" at the base of the nail; I believe this is actually a bit of shrinkage from using Seche Vite on top. Oh, Seche Vite... I have such a love-hate relationship with this top coat, but it's mostly love, and I haven't found anything I like any better.

Indoor Light:

Mint Condition and Aisle Be There

Natural Light:

Mint Condition and Aisle Be There

Summary: This is one of the lesser offenders from the bunch of Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquers I picked up, but that being said, I'm still not pleased with the formula. For two bucks, I can deal with it, but I wouldn't recommend anyone running out to their nearest Ulta and snatching up the entire collection at full price. The color is right up my alley, though; I love it! And with Aisle Be There on top? I can see this being one of my favorite go-to manicures this summer. I can't wait to put it on my toes!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquer in Bare Minimum (+Glass Slipper)

Another of these damned Ulta Salon Formula Nail Lacquers... I have had mixed experiences with them! I bought four, and I've used three of them so far... They seem to be thick to the point of making them difficult to work with. At first I thought maybe it was user error, but the more I use them, the more I dislike them. I think I will try to add some thinner to them and see if that helps things out. They're not unusable as it stands, but why not make them easier to work with if I can?

Anyway, I am showing you guys Bare Minimum today. Sounds like a flesh tone, right? Nope, it's a steel-colored frost. Go figure! I really like metallic-tone nail polishes, and I don't have a really nice light silver color, only graphites. This looked perfect; not so bright a silver that it would be unflattering, but light enough that it would look a bit brighter and more seasonal than the dark graphites I tend to lean towards. Unfortunately, this is a bit streaky mess, and not the faintly metallic shimmer I hoped for. Because of that and the slightly thicker formula, I cannot recommend it, unless you are absolutely in love with the color and don't care about the other issues. However, I spent $2 on it (I got it on a 2/$4 sale), so I'm willing to play around with it. I think if I'd spent the full $6 retail price on it, I'd be considering returning it.

In an effort to make the brush strokes less noticeable, I used Sally Hansen Glass Slipper on top. It created a really pretty monochromatic look; the silver frost beneath the silver flakes were very subtle, but added a little bit more sparkle than Bare Minimum would have had on its own.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is Bare Minimum (2 coats) and Glass Slipper (2 coats) with a base and top coat. My cuticles are still a wreck; welcome to my life. I am constantly fighting a losing battle with my cuticles and nails, and I lately I haven't been winning.

Indoor Light

Natural Light
Summary: I cannot recommend Bare Minimum; I'd say it just meets my bare minimum expectations for a nail polish formula. That being said, not gonna lie... I'd totally pick up more of these polishes in unique shades if they're more than 1/2 off like they were when I got Bare Minimum, but I will not pay full price for colors in this formula. The good news is that the creams in this range seem to do slightly better, so I'll leave you with that optimistic grain of salt.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Revisiting Silent Treatment

Hi guys, sorry for not posting more often this week; I have been really busy with schoolwork and trying to hit a couple of deadlines before the end of the semester.

However, I was looking for a quick eye look the other day and remembered about Wet n Wild's eyeshadow trio in Silent Treatment, which is an under-appreciated member of my eyeshadow collection that I had been meaning to revisit. You can find my original post on it here. Because I swatched it over there, I haven't done that a second time; the colors haven't changed! However, I did wear it a little bit differently this time around. In the previous post, I kept the colors fairly separate and unblended so you could see how they  each look on the eye a bit bitter; this time, I used the purple shade on my lid , blended and layered the dark brown over that and into the crease, and then used the frosty peach very lightly above the crease to the browbone and in the inner corner of the eye.

I used...

Face: Clinique Redness Solutions Base, NARS concealer, The Body Shop Face Base, NYX blush in Taupe, Hard Candy blush in Pin Up, MAC blush in Sakura Blossom.

Eyes: Wet n Wild Silent Treatment trio, Stila Major Lash mascara, Prestige eyebrow pencil, Ulta clear brow gel.

Lips: Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Decadent mixed with NARS lipgloss in Orgasm.

That's a way shorter list than usual, huh? I mentioned above that I was in a bit of a hurry... I've been doing a lot more spartan looks like this lately!

Wet n Wild Silent Treatment

Wet n Wild Silent Treatment

And there you have it! Silent Treatment is a really easy go-to total eye look. I have to say, I loved Orgasm and Decadent together on my lips; Orgasm tones down the crazy violet glow of Decadent and lends it some gold shimmer.

Do you guys have a go-to palette for quick and easy eye looks? I don't know that Silent Treatment is my perfect all-in-one palette (I'd probably choose something that leans more coppery brown!), but for what I was wearing that day, it sure did the trick!