Monday, December 30, 2013

Manicure Monday

Hi again! I hope y'all have had a great holiday season. I've been enjoying my time off school and indulging in some reading for pleasure (it'd been years since I'd really done that!), which has left less time for research and blogging, but whatever. It's winter break! I'm going to hibernate. And code. (I finally actually made some headway in that department, and wow, I totally understand why people do CS. When it works, you feel like a GOD. It's awesome. When it doesn't work, you want to kill yourself and everyone you've ever known, but you can't, because then you'll never figure out the puzzle of why it's not working...)

Here are some pictures of manis I've done the last few weeks; I did a green and red one for Christmas, but didn't take pictures because I felt like ignoring my duties as a blogger, but I'm sure you'll see the polishes I used at some point in the future. For now, here are these!

Winter Wonderland
Schnee! Kar! Nieve! Snow! (All the languages I speak
use the same writing system. Sorry to be so boring.)
This is a single coat of three white polishes layered to try and create snowy nails. I did it during our week of snow, when I was trapped at home, before I got annoyed with the stupid white stuff. It's Wet N Wild's white $0.99 polish topped with Orly Au Champagne and Orly Winter Wonderland. It wasn't fully opaque, but I didn't really care, because the shimmer from Winter Wonderland helped disguise it. That polish is really appropriately named! It does look like frosty magic.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fragrance Friday

Yesss, FF is back! For this week, at least.

Diptyque Eau Duelle (Oriental Spicy: cardamom, elemi resin, olibanum, bergamot, pink pepper, juniper, saffron, black tea, musk, ambergris and bourbon vanilla): One of my favorite perfumes is Diptyque Volutes, released last year, and Eau Duelle is very similar in feel. It's sweeter, and lacking the smoke, with more of an emphasis on the vanilla and spices, but they're both cozy scents perfect for snuggling up with a mug of hot cocoa (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I am drinking as I write this!). Eau Duelle is less interesting than Volutes, and I don't like it as much, but I'm sure I'll use the whole sample vial for those days when I just want to smell like a winter sweater.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Manicure Monday: Guest Post

S, another of my besties from college, has offered to do a guest post for Manicure Monday, on a great cheap polish. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Golden Rose Perfect Shine Lipstick 239 Quick Review and Swatches

This was the first makeup item I picked up while in Turkey. I wanted to try and find an MLBB, and since this was cheap (somewhere between $3 and $7, because my memory fails me), I decided to give it a try.
Taken on a bedspread in Bodrum in a hotel with very
inadequate a/c [not sure why I remember that and not the
price, and yet...]

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snowy Sunday

Another day snowed in (it got down to 0 here! And below 0 elsewhere in the city, which is super weird because it's always colder here than downtown...), another day to play with makeup! Larie requested more colorful eyes, and I can do nothing but oblige :)

I decided to do a look based on snowy trees, specifically the big firs outside my bedroom window. Dark brown trunks, dark green boughs, white snow, and bright green boughs where the sun shined through. I didn't feel like doing pure white again, so it's not as close-to-inspiration as yesterday's look, but I like it anyways. It's bolder IRL than in pictures, as tends to be the case, so it's not something I would wear every day, but it was lots of fun. I also decided to do a red lip, even with the bold eyes, because why the hell not!

Not sure if you can tell here, but I am freezing. It is 15 degrees. And breezy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snowy Saturday

We got a foot of snow yesterday, and today it is 18 degrees, so it's not going anywhere. I took the opportunity to do some snow-inspired eye makeup and tromp about in the sunshine (and wear my purchased-for-East-Coast-winters long down coat and shearling snow boots, which was like welcoming back an old friend, ha), and here are some pictures!

Snow is sparkly and reflects blue, so I did a shimmery blue and silver-taupe eye.
First, in the shade 
Ignore the stray mascara, thanks

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fragrance Friday: Perfume Tag

I'm getting back into smelling new perfumes and will have my thoughts about some of them next week, but this week I was inspired by Larie's Perfume Tag post, so I'm gonna do that instead.

1. What is the first perfume you purchased?
Probably Davidoff Cool Water Woman, when I was in high school. I would probably hate it now, given my general aversion to aquatics. My first real perfume love, though, was Chanel Chance eau fraiche. I haven't smelled it in years, so I don't know if I would still like it, but that was my signature scent for most of college. I went through two bottles!

2. What's your signature perfume? (also 5. What's your favorite spring/summer perfume? and 6. What's your favorite fall/winter perfume?)
I don't have one, anymore! In the cooler months, I gravitate towards ambers and warm woods, like Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk and Winter Woods, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, Atelier Amber Nue, Guerlain Derby, L'Artisan Safran Troublant, and Chanel Coromandel (though my sample is empty!!), among others. In summer, I tend to reach for citruses (Dior Eau Sauvage, Arquiste L'Etrog) and florals (Tauer Carillon pour un Ange, Diptyque L'Ombre dans l'Eau, Arquiste Flor y Canto). And Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber is awesome always. There's too many pretty perfumes to choose just one!

Also, today I woke up to this:
Technically, not this, as I took this after my nap. But this,
minus 2 inches!
Super weird for Eugene, especially this
early in the winter. Happy end of term!
I got to trek to the bus stop carrying a bag full of cake (it's the last day of classes, and I promised my students a party after they finished their final test) at 7:30 in the morning. It was pretty awesome, actually. Snow is great! I wore Diptyque Eau Duelle, which is a warm vanilla musk––I think it's actually a less interesting version of Diptyque Volutes, but its simplicity was nice in the cold, quiet morning.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

MAC Lipsticks, Part 2

I already posted about the warm pinks and corals; today, I cover everything else!

The Pinks and Plums
Left to right: MAC Positively Dashing, Shiseido Nymph, MAC PlumfulRevlon Sugar Plum, Golden Rose Perfect Shine Lipstick 239, Dior Atout Coeur, L'Oreal Rose On and On, MAC Lustering, MAC Sweetie
I'm not sure why I look surprised here.
Positively Dashing is a Pro Longwear Lipcreme, described as a "mid-tone 'berry' blue-red". It's a medium plum in a formula that's supposed to be lightweight with a creamy finish. It's relatively lightweight, but creamy? Not so much. I find it wears best when I apply and blend with my finger and repeat a couple times; then it isn't as uneven, and it lasts me 2-3 hours before needing to touch up, which isn't exactly long-wearing, but is longer-wearing than some. Unlike Violine Précieux (which is almost exactly the same shade), it doesn't dry my lips out, but it doesn't moisturize them, either, so it has the effect of making my lips look a bit shriveled. This is not ideal, as I have actually very nice lips, so I will continue looking for the plum lipstick of my dreams, but Positively Dashing will do for the time being. As long as I top it with balm. Grade: B-/C+

Monday, December 2, 2013

Manicure Monday

These reviews are all super wordy, so I'll skip the introduction.

Revlon Wintermint
This is one of the new scented polishes released by Revlon (they're permanent, no worries). I picked it up because I was just dying of curiosity as to whether it would be a dupe for my beloved Mermaid's Dream. It's not. In fact, I kind of hate Wintermint, even though they are really similar.
2 coats Wintermint on all except
pinky, which has 2 coats Mermaid's
Dream. All with 2 (or 3? damnit)
layers of top coat
Here's the deal: Wintermint's base is much thicker and more opaque than Mermaid's Dream, so it covers up the blue big glitters and gold little glitters in the base much more than in MD, and since there are less glitters to begin with in Wintermint, the end result is much more muted and less sparkletastic. And where MD dries uniformly bumpy, allowing all sorts of different layers of glitter to sparkle (and giving it a cool fish-scale effect, without the 3 coats of topcoat necessary to smooth it), Wintermint is lumpy and uneven from where the larger blue glitter pokes up.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful day! We had the usual family fest at my house, complete with 10+ dishes and enough food to feed the whole neighborhood, which was lovely as always. I like to take any occasion I can get to dress up, so I did my makeup autumnally: Sleek Original khaki in the crease, copper in the outer half, and Tarina Tarantino Fantastical beige in the inner third, with Prestige Intense Olive eyeliner on top and bottom. Lancôme Hypnôse Star (which I love) on my lashes, NARS Deep Throat on my cheeks, and lip balm finished the look!

I opted out of a lippie both because of the bold eye, and because I knew I would be eating a lot and didn't want to bother with reapplication, ha. I indulged in all the delicious foods, aided by a plethora of digestion-related pharmaceuticals (muscle relaxants help a ton, but they relax everything, so I took a pretty epic nap afterwards!); my belly will probably be angry for the next day or so, but it was nice to be able to join in all the yummies.

Since we are now well into the land of holiday beauty deals, here are a few promos that you might not have heard of but that are definitely worth checking out!
–20% off all orders at Meow Cosmetics with code GOBBLE; 20% off and free shipping for orders over $40 with code lightup; I love their powder foundation, particularly the Pampered and Flawless formulations
–30% off at The Body Needs, home to MAC lipstick, pigment, and paint pot samples, today and tomorrow with code SAVE30; 25% off on Saturday and Sunday with code SAVE25; 20% off on Monday with code SAVE20. I'll have reviews and swatches of the rest of the shades I purchased a couple of months ago up on Sunday, but bottom line: if there's a MAC lippie you've been wanting to try, this is an excellent way to sample a ton of colors!
–10% off at Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve with code CYBERCVS13 Friday through Monday; I probably won't have time to post full reviews, but I really like their Rosemary Mint shampoo (volumetastic!), Goat Milk Honey Oatmeal soap (completely got rid of the eczema on my arms!), and plan to pick up a bar of the latter and the Rose Shea, which is just insanely creamy and wonderful. You can see my reviews here and here; this sale is the only one I've seen them have in the 6+ months I've been following, and it would be a great way to try out their sample bars for a slightly discounted price.

Nouveau Cheap has a fantastic round-up of other sales and deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as does Beauty Look Book, if you have extra money lying around ;-)

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Any sales you plan on taking part in?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Manicure Monday

Only two manis (though three polishes!) for your viewing pleasure this week.

Zoya Yummy and Maybelline Beaming Blue
Zoya's polish names are ostensibly all female names, but...Yummy? I certainly hope that's no one's name. I picked it up because I wanted something to layer under Beaming Blue, picked up a few weeks ago, and from the online swatches, it seemed the closest in base color out of Zoya's blues. Happily, it's perfect! Though it doesn't look as wonderful in pictures as in person.
Beaming Blue is much prettier and more
interesting than it looks here. Yummy is pretty
accurate, though!
I did two coats of Yummy on all my non-layered fingers, and 1 coat topped with 1 coat Beaming Blue on the others. It was very pretty! Beaming Blue has a beautiful lavender duochrome, though it still does not outshine Lavishly Lilac (and I of course neglected to photograph it...), and Yummy is interestingly pastel-bright. I see it being ideal in spring!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Today, I had a rather unpleasant experience at my local Sephora inside JCPenney. So unpleasant it inspired me to send them an email, and I now await their (hopefully very conciliatory) response. I'll write a post about it once it's been resolved one way or the other, but suffice it to say, it made me grouchy. Fortunately, my bad mood did not last long, as I immediately headed north to pick up my new pets: two chinchillas!
I'm still not sure which is which, at least in pictures. Hutch is slightly smaller,
as the males tend to be, and Lou Lou's ears are proportionally larger. But I can't
tell which is which here! Maybe in a few days.
They're about 5 years old, and their former owner is moving and no longer had the time for them. For some reason, she decided I would be a good owner (I mean, I will be, I'm just not sure what made her think so, too), so after getting Lou-Lou spayed, they are now mine! And they are SO CUTE. And SO SOFT. It is amazing. Hutch was originally part of a pair (Starsky and Hutch, natch), but Starsky died young, so Lou Lou was purchased to be his friend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Givenchy Le Rouge Sensuously Matte in Violine Précieux Review and Swatches

Ever since its release, Givenchy's Le Rouge lipsticks have been heaped with praise. I have coveted, so very much, so when Sephora's VIB sale rolled around, I picked one up, the LE holiday Violine Précieux, described as a "berry rose".
The packaging is, indeed, beautiful. The holiday editions have a gold-and-black leather case, and it is supremely classy, albeit rather ridiculously large. It took me a bit of time to figure out how to open it––you have to hold the little squares on the front and back and pull the lid up, which is harder than it sounds; on the upside, it's not going to come apart in your bag!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manicure Monday

Betcha didn't think I'd be posting again so soon, didja? I'm so on top of things, guys.

Sinful Colors Ice Dream
I saw this one at the drugstores last winter and passed on it, only to later decide I wanted it and go back to find it gone. So I was very happy to see it again this year, and snatched it right up! It's a very sparkly, very pretty silver shimmer with blue small hexes (I think they're hexes, at least; they're very wee!).
You can build it up to opacity on its own in 3 coats, but I was lazy and just did it over one coat of Wet N Wild Silvivor, which gave almost exactly the same effect. Only one coat of top coat needed, too. Very wintry! Here's hoping we get snow this year so I can wear it and feel like the Ice Queen.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dior Addict Gloss in 783 Atout Coeur Review and Swatches

OH HI GUYS. I'm not even going to try and give excuses for my long absence––at this point, y'all are probably used to it, eh? Suffice it to say, it involved stomach problems and a conference in San Diego (where I got to see my girl V!). I originally wrote this post as a back-to-school thing, as that was why I purchased this gloss, but since it's been 7 weeks since school started, I probably should change it. But I'm not gonna, because I have grant essays to finish, and, well, whatever. BJB, bringing you timely posts since 2011! Ha. haha. ha.

Some people buy a nice new pair of shoes or a coat at the beginning of a new school year; I buy a new lippie. Before starting my first year of grad school, I bought Clinique High Impact in After Party (which is a beautiful color, but the shimmer is a bit much for my taste, and I've become too lazy to apply it sheerly over balm, as I did back in the day), and last year I picked up Rouge Dior in Rouge Favori, a combo wedding/back-to-school present to myself. This year, I wanted to try the new Dior gloss formula after Larie raved about it, and since it's $29.50 a tube, I decided to get something that I could see myself wearing all the time. For me, that means something pinky-plum without glitter. Fortunately, Dior had just such a shade in 783 Atout Coeur.
Hello, beautiful.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Manicure Monday

I've been having some digestive issues lately, which hasn't left me feeling particularly bloggy, but I have procured some new polishes––nothing quite like colorful sparkle fingertips to take away from stomach malaise, no? (Also, due to the discomfort and concomitant resurgence of CFS symptoms, I've been rather absent from the blogosphere, too, which I must apologize for! It's gotten to the point where I'm so far behind on commenting that the thought of trying to catch up gives me anxiety, so while I have been reading and loving y'all's posts, I may not ever write the comments to prove it. I'm sorry! Feel free to not comment on my posts for a few weeks...)

Nubar Iris Dust
This is actually about a year old, but I don't think I've ever shown it here. It's a super dramatic multichrome, shifting from a deep purple to a bright yellow. I wasn't able to capture all the shades, but the shots below capture how it looks most of the time.

It's a perfect fall polish, since it matches the glorious trees. It's very, very sheer, though, so I recommend layering it; I did two coats of Iris Dust over two coats of Wet N Wild Under Your Spell. I neglected to photograph it until a couple of days after applying, hence the tip wear, but I find the wear to be pretty typical. You can find it on eBay for ~$5, which is where I bought mine.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MAC Lipsticks, Part 1

I heard about The Body Needs from Life's Entropy; it's a website that has handmade cosmetics, as well as samples of pretty much every MAC lipstick and pigment, glitter, and paint pot. After trying Plumful and falling in love, I added TBN to my email list to wait for a sale, and within a few months, there was 30% off everything, so I pounced and picked up 9 that looked promising, in a variety of formulas. I've been playing around with them the past few weeks (my other lippies are feeling somewhat unloved, ha!) and will share my thoughts, split up over a couple of posts. Today, I'll show you the bright warms; next time, I'll show you the pinks and reds, and the final post will cover purchase information.

Left to right, one swipe each: Crosswires, Ultra Darling, Catrice Pinkadilly
Circus, Speak Louder, Impassioned 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in PK 375 Quick Review and Swatches

This is the other Shu Uemura Rouge Perfect I picked up back when they were half price and I had a coupon. I already reviewed BG 935, which I liked in spite of the short wear time, because the color is so easy to wear and flattering. I had hoped that PK 375 would be a good fuchsia (apparently forgetting that I already have a fuchsia, and picked up another when I was abroad, but that's another issue entirely).
Left to right: MAC Hot Tahiti, MAC Candy Apple, Lipstick Queen Cosmos,
Lipstick Queen Thriller, Shu Uemura PK 375

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ARTDECO Perfect Color Lipstick 82 Review and Swatches

We've been enjoying a resurgence of sunshine and relative warmth, very welcome after record-breaking rain at the end of September. Of course, school has started, and though I am not taking much in the way of classes, I am still teaching (in a tragically windowless room!), and between that and research (in a tragically windowless lab!), I've not had much time for blogging. My apologies! Here is a long-overdue review of a lipstick I purchased in Berlin.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fragrance Friday

This is brief, because even though I have a ton of perfume samples to try, I keep forgetting to actually apply them. The only one I've managed to wear was Lanvin Me (mandarin, blueberry, rose, tuberose, licorice, sandalwood), which initially made me recoil with its super-sweet berry-full fruitiness, but settled down into an uninspiring pallid synthetic floral and was gone within a few hours. It was a rather unpleasant experience, overall, but it might be a good perfume for a young teenager. Really, though, you could buy something close enough at Bath and Body Works for a quarter the price.

via Neiman Marcus
Before I flew out to Turkey, I stopped off for a few days in New York and visited friends. L and I made our way to the Atelier Cologne boutique downtown, where we tried the new perfumes (Gold Leather and Silver Iris, neither of which was quite my cup of tea), received some free samples, and I picked up a bar of Orange Sanguine soap.
That bar lived in the bottom of my suitcase for the next month, and I finally opened it when I got back home, slightly worse for the wear. It's really, really nice––it smells exactly like the perfume (discussed here), lightly perfumes my whole bathroom, and, as L imagined, is an excellently invigorating morning-shower olfactory experience. It's extremely smooth and silky and cleans without drying (in fact, I find it lightly moisturizing, though if you have perpetually dry skin, it probably wouldn't be enough). The scent, while noticeable, is not overwhelming, and it does not linger or interfere with subsequent perfumes. It's $18 for a 200 g bar and it looks like it will last me about 2.5 months, which isn't terrible, but is still more than I'd like to spend on shower soap regularly, no matter how beautifully scented. Still, I'm glad I bought it, and have thoroughly enjoyed using it! I'll just have to keep my eyes out for a cheaper version, though I don't have much hope: Orange Sanguine is a uniquely cheerful citrus, in my experience, and I may very well eat my words and buy it again when my mood next falls into a funk.

What do you look for in a body cleanser? Have you ever paid $18 for a bar of soap? (In my defense, I also got 4 very generous sample spray vials...) Have you tried Lanvin Me, and if so, what did you think?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

theBalm Nude 'Tude

I picked this up from Birchbox several months ago when I had a coupon. I'd heard good things about it, and I was wanting a replacement for my Too Faced Natural Eye, which has deteriorated in the pigmentation department over the years.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fragrance Friday

I haven't been smelling any new perfumes this week (but I re-found a stash of unsniffeds, so there'll be a fo realz FF next week), but this is Fragrance Friday, which includes more than just perfume, so today I'm going to talk about homemade bath oil!

I have a rather sizable collection of pure oils, purchased originally to help with my skin woes. I'm very, very slow about adding them into my skincare regimen, though, since my skin has a tendency to break out horribly, but I feel so bad about all those bottles sitting sad and unused in my fridge. My solution: put them to another use!

I remember reading on Bois de Jasmin many months ago about how you could add perfume to unscented lotion or oil to make your own perfumed body products on the cheap, so I decided to give it a try with a perfume that has caused me such heartache: Mitsouko. Absolutely loved the original sample I tried, but the full bottle is evidently from a different reformulation, and it pulls powdery on me. I do not like powder in perfumes, for the most part, but I so, so loved my sample vial that I'm not willing to give up on it, even though there's no reason to suspect it will get better with age. However, I figured it could make for a very decadent bath experience, so I decided to try it in bath oil form.

I used macadamia nut, jojoba, borage, and evening primrose oils, combining in a 1/2 oz vial, then added about 10 sprays of Mitsouko. I belatedly realized I should include an emulsifier so that the bath oil wouldn't coat my bathtub, but the vial was almost full so it ended up being less than 10% polysorbate 80 (my emulsifier of choice), so it wasn't quite as cooperative with the water as it could have been (15-20% is my usual choice for oil:emulsifier ratio). The bath experience itself was still extremely enjoyable, but I'll have to be careful when I shower tomorrow, ha!

My bath smelled quite strongly of Mitsouko, and while it was still not right, I found it much more pleasant in a different format than when applied directly to my skin. The oils made the water super soft, and post-bath, I had no need for lotion or perfume, as my skin was left moisturized and gently perfumed. Still a bit powdery, but it was okay––it just made me feel like I was clean and pampered.

I imagine any perfume could be bath oilified, and I hope to experiment with some of my other full bottles in the future (and maybe make use of some unloved sample vials, as one bath's worth would empty them!). Any oils you have on hand would undoubtedly work as well; you don't have to include an emulsifier, but it makes cleanup much easier. I purchased my supplies over a period of several months/orders from Lotioncrafter and Garden of Wisdom and recommend both sites, and there are tons of other places to purchase online.

Have you ever made your own bath oil? What's your favorite way to spoil yourself?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Manhattan Colour Splash Liquid Lip Tint 94R Red Tulip

I love the concept of lip stains, because I am very lazy, and the idea of one-time application and all-day wear is very appealing. Unfortunately, most lip stains work horribly for me, drying out my lips, wearing away unevenly, settling into lip lines, and just generally looking and feeling awful. But still, I hold out hope.

When I was in Berlin for a conference this summer (any other CogSci folks here?), I visited dm drogerie markt, a common German drugstore, several times, and swatched a bunch of products that looked promising (because unlike here, drugstores have testers in Europe––what a concept!). One was the Manhattan Colour Splash Liquid Lip Tint in 94R Red Tulip, which initially swatched extremely orange and I thus disregarded it, until it came time to wipe my hand free of swatches, when the prettiest coral-red stain was revealed. This stain lasted 24+ hours on my hand, and my interest was further piqued. On our last day, the boy and I visited a dm before heading to the airport, and I picked up a number of things that I'd seen earlier and still wanted, including this stain, because I figured I would regret it if I didn't. Plus, it was, like, €3,95, so I didn't really have much to lose...
So orangey!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Manicure Monday

Two more Turkish polishes for your viewing pleasure! I think there's only one left––I wore it, but neglected to photograph it, so you'll get to see that...eventually. But here's the ones I did snap!

Flormar Duo 2x Chrome DC05
There were a few polishes in this Flormar duochrome line, but this one was by far the most duochrome-y of them all, so it's the one I got. It is exactly the same color/shift (green-to-blue) as in China Glaze Unpredictable, but the formula is better––DC05 is opaque in 2 coats compared to Unpredictable's 3, and it's less prone to brushstrokes, though as a metallic, there are still some. It's pretty and fun, and it cost 4,49 TL, I think (about $2.25).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Urban Decay Deluxe Palette Quick Review and Swatches

I said I would review this once I had some EOTDs using it, but I have decided to just post this now since it's being discontinued but is still available at Sephora and Urban Decay and I don't know how long it will last. And I have one EOTD, which is something, I guess? (I know y'all stop by for some quality blogging, and I am clearly here to deliver...)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Days: Day 21

I buckled down and spent the couple hours needed to swatch my eyeshadow collection, in large part for my own benefit, but hey also 30 Days! According to my spreadsheet (you can't go about these things lackadaisically, after all), I have 77 eyeshadows, including cream and those in palettes. Though after doing this swatchathon, I have decided to discard several of them, and if I ever get around to depotting my shadows, yet more may go the way of the dodo. But at this moment in time, here are all of my eyeshadows. Enjoy, I guess?

Guerlain = Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs 06 Les Fumés
Inglot = this post
Sleek = Sleek Original i-Divine Palette; numbers are assigned from left to right, top to bottom (1 = top far left, 7 = bottom far left, 5 = top second from right, etc.)
TT = Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palette Fantastical
theBalm = theBalm Nude 'Tude, which will be reviewed once I can get past my issues with the packaging (or decide to share my rant with the world, whichever ends up happening first)
TF = Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection
UDD = Urban Decay Deluxe Palette, which will be reviewed once I take some pictures of EOTDs using it
UDR = Urban Decay Rollergirl
WNW CZ = Wet N Wild Comfort Zone
All others will be linked in their respective captions; all labels are from left to right.
All swatches are two layers on primed skin, unless otherwise noted, and all pictures are clickable––I uploaded them full size (not the usual 800 pixels), so you can see more detail.

Inglot 391, Sleek 1, theBalm Serious, UDD Zero
Inglot 391 is by far the most pigmented; that's a single swipe of each shadow. Zero is the only one with shimmers. Sleek 1 and Serious both fared quite poorly, but Serious got mostly opaque with a second layer, while Sleek 1 did not (see below); Zero built up nicely, and I didn't add anything to the Inglot because it was not needed.
poor Sleek.
I rarely use black in my eye looks because it's so dramatic against my pale skin, but I should evidently use Sleek 1 if I don't want to overwhelm myself, ha!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Graftobian HD Creme Foundation Review and Swatches

I tried these foundations and wrote this up a few months ago but never got around to posting it. Better late than never, though!

The past few months I've been on the hunt for my HG foundation. I have quite pale, very oily, sensitive and acne-prone skin, and I have really weird undertones. It is basically impossible to find a foundation that withstands my oily skin without breaking me out or giving me eczema, and even when I do succeed in that regard (this happens, um, maybe 10% of the time), I fail at finding a shade that's not too dark or pink or light or yellow, because my undertones are impossible to match. In my ongoing search for perfection, I decided to order some samples of Graftobian HD Creme Foundation after hearing good things from Drivel about Frivol, who is similarly light-complected and found a match in Lady Fair. So off to Camera Ready Cosmetics I traipsed, shelling over $3.99 each for little pots of four shades I suspected would work for me and eagerly awaiting their arrival.

left to right: Ivory, Porcelain, Lady Fair, Bombshell

I got samples of Ivory, Porcelain, Lady Fair, and Bombshell; the first 3 were the warm and neutral options from Graftobian's recently introduced super-light shade range, and Bombshell is the formerly-lightest neutral. I considered purchasing the formerly-lightest warm shade Graceful Swan, but thought it would probably be too yellow, since such things usually are. Unfortunately, none of the shades quite worked out for me, though Bombshell came closest––so if you're very pale, you should absolutely check out Graftobian! The fairest of fair shades should work for those who cannot find a match anywhere (which is me, yes, but even I am not that pale). Ivory is the lightest and is a balance of pink and yellow; Porcelain is a smidge darker and more yellow, Lady Fair is a bit darker still and pink, and Bombshell is a good shade darker and primarily pink. Bombshell is the right depth for me, but it is a bit too pink, and being so full coverage, the imperfect shade match is evident when worn.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NYX Cream Blush in Hot Pink Quick Review and Swatches

The boy and I stopped off at the Ulta in Salem to pick up a few presents (and because I can't drive near an Ulta and not stop––the nearest one is more than an hour away, and if I happen to be there, you better believe I'm going in) and I decided I could use a cream blush, based on my positive experience with the Beach Tints. I wanted something different from my other blushes, so I decided on NYX Hot Pink, which is the most unoriginally named blush in the history of ever. At least it's accurate, though!
NYX Hot Pink, after a few uses

Monday, September 16, 2013

Manicure Monday

Another Monday, some more manicures!

Color Club Halo Hues Beyond
Another one of the polishes I got from Amanda a few months ago. Like the others, the formula on Beyond is flawless––it could have been a one-coater if I'd been more careful in applying, and it just glides on like butter. No issues over my current base coat (p2 8-in-1, purchased in Berlin), and super holographic. Awesome stuff.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Skincare Saturday: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Soap Bar Selection Reviews

Last week, I blabbed on and on about Chagrin Valley's shampoo bars. This week, I'll be talking about their soap bars!

I tend to prefer liquid shower gels over bar soap for cleansing myself, but I ordered several soap bars from the company in the hopes that they would help my face be less stupid, and as travel-friendly cleansing and shaving aids. I tried a couple of the complexion bars on my face, only to break out horribly, since almost all contain coconut oil, which hates my skin, even saponified. Fortunately, they make a few soaps that don't have coconut oil (in addition to the two discussed below, the Castile is also coconut-free), so I was able to test those on my face. My body is much less persnickety, so I was able to use them all and can now natter about them! A quick note: the complexion bars are designed for use on your face, but that's merely a suggestion––I find they work great on body, and at least one of the soaps that's not deemed a complexion bar would be lovely as a face wash (namely, Olive and Shea).

via Chagrin Valley
Grapeseed Tomato Complexion: This is one without coconut oil and designed for troubled complexions (that's such a nice way of putting it!), and it helps clear pores without irritating skin. The picture on the website (above as well) shows a bar significantly redder than mine, so I think I got part of the old batch that had less tomato; hopefully the new and improved version works just as well, because I really like this bar! It's nice and mild, doesn't strip my face, and doesn't contribute to breakouts. I like using it in the morning as it gives a nice soft, clean base for the day. It does remove makeup, but as it's traditional soap, you do not want to get it near your eyes (not that I speak from experience...), so I prefer to use it in the morning when I have nothing on my eyes, though I have also used it as my post-makeup-removal cleanser. I intend to buy a full size once I go through my current facial cleanser stash (namely, a 12 oz bottle of Purity, ha). $2.70 for 1.5 oz, $7.80 for 7 oz

Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Babassu Oil; Virgin Shea Butter; Water; Sunflower Oil; Olive Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Canola Oil (Non-GMO); Organic Tomato Juice; Castor Oil; White China Clay; Organic Tomato Paste; Essential Oils of Lavender, Geranium, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs 06 Les Fumés Review and Swatches

I bought this from Tracy during her blog sale for $44 including shipping, which is more than 25% off the full price. It's still rather more than I would normally spend, but I wanted something compact and pretty for the conference. (Ironically, it was so hot that I only did my eye makeup one day out of the 4, but hey, best to be prepared?) Now that I have it, I see myself getting a lot of use out of it for school––between my new hair and the classy eyes this palette creates, I'm gonna get mad respect from my students.
Which is clearly warranted.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Outtake: Beauty Shopping in Turkey

The boy and I found a store with makeup in Bodrum, a week and a half into our time in Turkey. There were certainly stores before then, but it was the first we actually stumbled upon, and he gamely joined me in my browsing exploits. I picked up a number of nail polishes and swatched a lot of lippies but ended up only buying one (review to come!), but while I was playing the boy took some photos with my camera.
No makeup = ghostly Amy. This face = "this gloss is such a pretty color, but
why does it have to have glitters?!"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Manicure Monday

Wow, 5 posts in 5 days. Don't get used to it, folks––you know it won't last ;) Today, I have a couple of polishes I received from Z for my birthday, as well as another Turkey polish and an OPI.

Butter London The Black Knight
I have wanted this polish since it came out a couple years ago, and Z generously bought it (as well as the Nails Inc, below) for me for my birthday! It was waiting for me when I got home, though my mother had stuck it in her room so I didn't know where it was for the first couple weeks after getting home. Fortunately, it was found and worn and I LOVE IT.
It's a black base with varying sizes of pink/red, yellow, and blue glitter. They dance and shine under the light, and it's so, so beautiful. I found it to be a solid 2 coater, though perhaps if you used thicker coats it could be done in 1. It's very top-coat hungry; I did 3 coats the day I painted my nails, and then another the next day, which made it almost completely smooth. The wear is phenomenal; it lasted a full 4 days on my nails with no tipwear or chipping, and I actually wore it twice in a row since it went well with the dress I wore to the wedding. I am seriously impressed, and now I begrudgingly want to try more Butter London (begrudging because they're expensive, and the British names are stupid for a company based in Seattle). It has taken up residence on the shelf reserved for true love polishes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Skincare Saturday: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Shampoo Bar Selection Reviews

In preparation for my month abroad, I decided I needed some shampoo bars. I didn't want to pay Lush prices, especially since their bars contain SLS, and a quick Google search led me to Chagrin Valley, purveyors of shampoo and soap bars, among many other bath and body products. I ordered a few generously-sized samples, decided on the shampoo bar I wanted to bring with me, and then evidently never hit the order button, leading to a frantic search for shampoo bars in Eugene. Fortunately, it's a hippie town, so I was able to find one without issue (Camanu Rosemary Nettle, if you're curious), but I really liked the Chagrin Valley stuff in general and thought I should review it! Starting with the shampoo bars today and the soaps I've tried next week.

Solid shampoo is a great choice when traveling, as it's not subject to the TSA's ridiculous 3 oz limit on liquids. It's also nice for hair that doesn't fare well with traditional shampoo ingredients like SLS (sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate) and coco betaine. I have fine, curly hair that I dye, so I try to steer clear of ingredients that strip my hair––there are a number of liquid shampoos/cleansing conditioners that I find work well for me (I can talk about those later if anyone's interested?), but I like shampoo bars for their ease of transport.

One thing to note about solid shampoos, and SLS-free shampoos in general, is that it takes some time for your hair to adjust to them. I started with As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner, a cream from Sally Beauty, which was a nice in-between step, so my shift to shampoo bars was pretty painless, but if you're going straight from traditional shampoos to natural shampoo bars, it could take a couple of weeks before your hair stops being grouchy.

As with normal shampoo, you have to concentrate it at the roots of your hair; I like to rub it around my hairline (face and neck) and up the top of my head, then thoroughly massage it over my scalp, gently spreading it down to the ends of my hair, then thoroughly rinsing. It takes 2-3 minutes for the whole process, as I try to make really sure I've gotten it all out, and if you live in a place with very hard water, shampoo bars might not be the right thing for you, as such water can be ineffective at rinsing it out, leading to limp, coated hair (gross). I luckily live in an area with very soft water (PNW ftw!), but you can check yours here; see also Ida's (Chagrin Valley's founder) discussion and suggestions here. Even in areas with soft water, she suggests doing a baking soda/ACV rinse every month or so, but I'm too lazy for that; instead, I just use a shampoo with SLS every few weeks to get rid of any and all buildup.

Good lord, that's a lot of background. Now, to the reviews!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fragrance Friday

I got some Solstice Scents samples last week, so they're what I'll be talking about today!

Coquina (Summer Collection; sandalwood, orange blossom, clementine EO, beach sand, plumeria absolute, coconut, ginger EO, sea spray): I brought this with me to LA, and found it fit in perfectly with the palm trees and sun and bleached sand. The orange blossom is pervasive throughout, but fortunately doesn't pull soapy on me as so many do, and the sandalwood-sea spray accord gives it a very driftwood feel, which is softened by the plumeria and coconut, which make it very tropical. Altogether, Coquina is light, happy, sunny, and sandy, but thankfully never trite. I'm by no means a California girl––all the sun and people gives me hives––but Coquina lets me pretend I am, at least for a few hours.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited BG 935 Review and Swatches

Sorry for my most recent absence! I went down to LA for a wedding of a friend of the boy's, which was lots of fun but didn't leave much time for blogging (or work, but shhhh, don't tell). I'm back at home again, though, and hopefully will be staying put for awhile! Which means more posts for you! Hooray!
So, I know the lipstick marks on the inside of the cap
are gross, but I figure it's good to show you what it
actually looks like after being used! (That, and I'm
too lazy to clean it. You're welcome.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Catrice Ultimate Colour lipstick 210 Pinkadilly Circus

I picked this up in Berlin, as it was a pretty color and comfortable price (€3,49, I think? Definitely less than €4,00), and I figured even if it didn't end up working out, I could still get a post out of it. Happily, it's been a raging success!
Yes, I used it before I photographed it. You didn't expect
me to wait 2 weeks to get home before wearing it, right?!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Manicure Monday

Finally, nail polish! On my fingers! Aaaah. It's nice to be back.

First up, Zoya Godiva, purchased when they had free shipping and waiting for me when I got home. Yippee! Unlike Miranda, I preferred Godiva without top coat. I actually liked it best at one coat, when it was sparkly and not too nude, but I didn't photograph it then. You'll just have to wait until I wear it again! It was quite opaque; I used 2 coats, and it's a bit too nude for my taste, but the silver sparkle helps. Very, very sparkly. It's fun!
Without and with top coat, respectively.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fragrance Friday

I haven't gotten any new perfumes in awhile (though I have some new Solstice Scents headed my way!), so I figured I would talk about non-perfume fragrance today. Namely, a candle. Namely namely, this candle:
via Candle Delirium
I have a thing for fig candles, you see. I'm not crazy about it as perfume (Diptyque Philosykos continues to not make sense on my skin, every few months when I decide to try it again), but as a home scent? Hells yes. I love the creamy fruitiness of it, and how that's offset by a woodsy base and complemented by subtle leafiness. I got a mini Pacifica Mediterranean Fig candle a few months ago, which was great, but the throw was pretty mild, so as a pre-finals preemptive stress reliever, I ordered the Voluspa Maison Rouge Figue de Bordeaux, one of two fig scents they make (the other is in the Maison Noir line), from Nordstrom. It's a two-wick candle that burns approx 50 hours, though I have long since lost track of how long I've burned it so I can't actually attest to whether that's true. The packaging is gorgeous, but my favorite part is, of course, the scent: it's a creamy fig with a bit of coconut, lighter on the green than others I've smelled, and it scents the whole house when I burn it (and our house is not small, which helps explain why 3 generations can live in it without killing each other). Basically, I'm enamored with it, and I have a big long list of Voluspas I want to try, including Black Figue & Chypre, and a couple ambery ones, and some white florals, and...yeah.
$16 for 11 oz, available from Nordstrom and Candle Delirium (the latter of which also has 3 oz votives for $9 that burn 25 hours, but I don't think the throw would be as nice on those; larger sizes are available from both retailers as well)

Have you tried any Voluspa candles? How do you feel about fig scents?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LUSH Vanilla Puff Powder Review

I purchased this in New York after reading a post on The Non-Blonde about how she likes to use powders in the summer to keep herself fresh as a daisy. Knowing I was going to a hot and humid land (though not nearly as humid as NYC, contrary to what anyone might tell you), I decided to pick up a jar of LUSH Vanilla Puff Powder and give it a try.

via LUSH
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