Archive for category a-england

Nail Art as a Substitute for Effort

Heads up guys.  I’m about to go on one of my introspective jags here in a moment, so either get comfy, or enjoy the randomly interspersed nail art – a little looky-looky for ya – and then get the heck outta here. 

So.  I just got out of the shower.  And my mental process during the entire act of cleaning the day’s dirt and grime off, was centered around this blog.  What can I write about that will get MY mojo going, let alone pique your interest!?  I tell ya, it’s been a struggle lately to find the get up and go to write about much of anything, truth be told.

Essie Nail ArtVine mani with Essie Bikini So Teeny, Essie No More Film, and Essie Limited Addiction

Actually, that’s not entirely true.  If I could maintain a beauty blog with just words and no pictures, and entice you to try fabulous products (or scare you away from the crappy ones) with just the force of my words, I’d be SET.  Sadly, I’m in the wrong kinda blogging business for that.  But, in my dream reality, that would be exactly what I’d do.

Essie nail art (2)Backdrop with my fabulous neon coral-pink H&M sweater :)

See, the thing is – photography is WORK.  All you kickass bloggers out there know, it often takes a bajillion shots to get just the right one.  Sometimes, I’m all over it; give me a clear, bright Saturday morning with no commitments and I’ll happily sit out on my deck and get all artsy-fartsy on your ass.  But the chance of me actually being home at all during the weekend is slim to none, nevermind having the weather cooperate (though I will say…we kinda had a stupendous August!).  The obvious solution is to find an alternative method of shooting photos when my surroundings are less than ideal (MM has taking a night shot down pat) – but here is the other problem.  I am NOT great at photography.  I’d love to have those mad skillz that many a blogger seem to be born with innately, but this here girl just does not have it.  And unfortunately for all of us, I’m not so great with bothering to LEARN things I’m not already good at from the get go.  There.  I said it.  I only wanna do things I know I’ll succeed at.  I’m a jerk.

fishtail maniFishtail mani with Chanel Azure, Gosh Holographic, and a-England Lady of the Lake

So.  We’ve established the problem and determined a solution that I’m not actually going to apply.  Now what?  That brings me to now, today, this month, the past 6 months.  I feel like I’ve been doing the blogging thing for so long now that I really should have my shit together, but I still feel like a total newb (and it shows).  It sucks, because I’m just as obsessed with cosmetics as ever and have bought some super-cool things over the past couple months I really should talk about.  But the thought of putting out one more crappy photo just leaves me sad, pissed at myself, and – quite frankly – avoidant to write about much of anything.  Which is a shame, because writing…writing is something I love.

fishtail mani (6)Sun + holo goodness :)

Having said all that….if anyone has any suggestions for me on improving my photography skills, or just to commiserate, I’m all ears.  While I’m unlikely to work TOO hard at much of anything (sad but true), I am receptive to any tips or tricks I might employ to improve my pics bit by bit.  The most ideal scenario is that all you talented photogs out there come to my house and show me hands-on – that’s how I (like to) learn best.  But we’ve already established that we’re not living in my dream reality, so I’ll take what I can get ;)

Do you steer clear of things you don’t do well?  What are your strengths?  How do you prefer to learn?

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A-England Sleeping Palace and an Update

Hey everyone…sorry for being MIA, it’s been kind of a roller-coaster here and the urge to talk beauty has been next to zero :S  There are some great things happening – I started dating someone recently :D :D :D – and some shit things happening – namely my roommate and I are having some serious differences in opinion, and have been having  what feels like a week long argument.  Needless to say, I’ve been a wee bit preoccupied!  Hopefully things will settle down sooner rather than later *fingers crossed*

In the meantime, as usual here is a filler nail polish post, which are my favorite easy-peasy kind of posts.  Gaze at the beauty that is a-England’s Sleeping Palace, from the Burnes-Jones Dream Collection:

a-England Sleeping Palace a-England Sleeping Palace (2) a-England Sleeping Palace (6)

Isn’t this greyish-purple prismatic polish to die!?!?!  ~sigh~  Formula, as usual for a-England polishes, was great – the perfect viscosity to reach opacity in two easy coats.  The multi-tonal rainbow shimmer in this is exquisite, so, SO beautiful!  I haven’t worn it as a full mani yet because it really feels like a fall shade to me, but come late summer – this is gonna be my JAM.

a-England Sleeping Palace (13)

Have you picked up any polishes from Adina’s new collection?

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Skincare and Sunscreen and Polish, Oh My!

In the past couple weeks, I’ve been picking up or receiving packages full of great treats which I’ve thoroughly been enjoying.  At the moment, I’m still in the testing phase for most of the products so no reviews quite yet, but so far everything has been really stellar.  I’ve also purchased a few new nail polishes, and hope to get some pictures up tomorrow!  For now, I’m just going to leave you with a few teaser photos and some quick thoughts.

Skincare

Skincare

Boscia Tsubaki Facial Oil – I picked this up during the Sephora sale in April but just opened it within the last month or so.  Even though the consistency is lighter than my beloved Tarte Maracuja Oil, I find it’s a little more oily somehow so I only need the smallest amount.  Otherwise, it’s quite nice and is a pleasure to use, though I’m not sure it gives me the same results as the Tarte oil.

Boscia Clear Complexion Treatment – Lately I’ve been breaking out here and there, which is very unusual for me.  I attributed it to something going on with my skin so I picked up this natural BHA product to see if it would help clear out my pores.  While it feels really great going on – lightweight and absorbs quickly – and leaves my skin feeling super smooth, I think the real reason for the breakouts was putting coconut oil in my hair every night; I think it was getting on my pillow and clogging my pores a bit. Since I’ve stopped doing that, the breakouts have been clearing up – but who know, could be this product too!

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel – I needed a new antioxidant product and have read a lot of great this about this gel.  It’s excellent for oilier skin, especially in these warmer months, as it absorbs lightning fast with no residue yet still hydrates.  I am already in love with this!

Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I grabbed this on a whim as I needed to spend $50 to get 20x the bonus points at Shoppers last weekend.  It was on sale for $20 from $27 and I’d been wanting to check it out at some point, so I made the purchase.  I use this during the day when I want my skin to look plump and hydrated without the accompanying greasy look from many other moisturizers.  I can’t tell if this does much else to my skin just yet, but I’m definitely not noticing any issues!

Sunscreens

SunscreenI had to insert a photo of my new VS bikini somehow – I love it so much!  I have a purse, a pair of flats, and now this swimsuit in this neon lime-yellow color….I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Vichy Capital Soleil Mexoryl XL Sheer Lotion SPF45 – this sunscreen is FANTASTIC.  I tend to steer clear of chemical sunscreens due to my eczema, but read a good point somewhere about Vichy and La Roche-Posay being great brands to try for broad spectrum sun protection because they are often formulated for sensitive skin.  Whatever the case, this really is excellent on my fussy skin and I’ve had absolutely no problems or irritation from it whatsoever.  It’s also incredibly lightweight and non-greasy, and doesn’t leave a whitish cast on my skin at all.  It actually makes me want to wear sunscreen all the time.  I adore it!  It’s not cheap at about $27CAD, but it does go on sale (I purchased it for about $18) and it’s well worth the cost.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF60 – I just purchased this last weekend along with the Hydraluron, and I haven’t opened it yet as I am *just* finishing my Clinique sunscreen now.  I have tried a sample of this however, and really liked how thin in consistency it was, how easy it spread on my face, and how it doesn’t leave a whitish cast.  I have high hopes for this one!

Polish

Polish

Dior Spring Ball - my first Dior polish!!  I wasn’t interested in these spring polishes at all, until I tried this one on at Sephora a few weeks ago and fell in love.  However, it was sold out everywhere by that time – but I persevered and ordered it online from Sephora (along with two shades of NARS’ Radiant Creamy concealers – which I LOVE).  Unfortunately, I’m a little disappointed in the shade – it’s not as beautiful as I remember, sadly.  But it’s still very pretty and wearable, and I don’t regret the purchase too much.

Essie Come Here! – I have so many polishes in this color vein…but I can’t help myself ~sigh~  I got a hankering for a pretty coral red and felt I *needed* to have one, but I probably have a bunch of shades similar to this.  However, I really do love it and I find this kind of tone works for just about every outfit.  But – NO MORE CORALS.  At least for a little while ;0)

a-England Sleeping Palace – the latest a-England release kind of crept up out of nowhere (as usual), and I ogled the beautiful shades along with everyone else.  I actually have quite a few of the brands polishes, and usually pick up one or two from each collection.  This was the stunner for me – a gorgeous dusty mauve with prismatic shimmer.  It doesn’t feel like a summer shade to me, but come fall I’m going to be all over this.  It’s really quite beautiful!

Zoya Robyn – I saw this on Lakeisha’s blog a couple weeks ago and decided I had to have it.  It looks better on her than I, but I still like it a lot and can’t wait to wear this as a pedi shade.  I had no colors like it at all so I’m pretty happy to add it to the collection.

As you can see, I have a lot of new things on the go!  I’m almost at a skincare utopia which feels pretty damn awesome – I’d just like to get an antioxidant masque (Kahina’s looks/sounds perfect), an exfoliator of some sort (the Pure + Simple Organic Vanilla Cleansing Powder Becca mentioned here is right up my alley), and a cleansing oil (maybe Tatcha’s??) when my Clinique Take the Day Off balm runs out.  In the sunscreen arena, I’m blissfully pleased with Vichy’s offering, and suspect I’ll feel the same about LRP’s too.  The polishes weren’t all ectasy-inducing, but I’m pretty happy with them as well.

What sort of products have you been buying lately?

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How Convenient That Pantone’s Color of the Year Was Also PERFECT for St. Patty’s Day!

So.  Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day!  7 years ago (OMG how time flies…barf) I was in Dublin for Paddy’s Day (as they shorthand it in Ireland), and yea…it was as crazy as you’d imagine it to be!  Not so much a drunken mess, but just the sheer amount of people…yowza.  It was a fantabulous time, and I’ll never forget it!

As the years pass, it seems the crew of hardcore Paddy’s Day party-goers dwindles in my crowd – job responsibilities, babies, and aging in general all seem to keep everyone at home on one of the most fun days of the year ~tear~  Thankfully, I have an excellent partner-in-crime who I can always count on to celebrate with me!  This year it was just the two of us, so it was more low-key than usual, but I still made sure to dress the part – which includes green makeup (and nails), of course!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (5)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (7)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (4)

I usually do a lot more green on the eye, but since it wasn’t a rip-roaring party I went subdued and just wore a simple flash of green liner on the top lash line.  I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liner in Covet (an emerald green with silver microglitter) on top of MAC’s Blacktrack Fluidline – the black gave the green more depth and helped the line look more crisp.  I added MAC All That Glitters shadow all over the lid, as I find it gives the most beautiful shine to the eye without ever seeming like too much, and then a dab of Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill shadow in #6 Khaki Pulse to the crease to add a little bit more depth.  *Side note – anyone notice that I’m trying to grow my eyebrows out?  It’s so frickin’ hard dude!  I want to pluck all the random stray hairs but I’m trying to be patient ~sigh~ They are coming along though :)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (2)

Since it was going to be a long day, I wore MUFE’s HD Blush in #12 First Kiss on bare cheeks, layered foundation on top, and then added a touch of MAC’s Mineralize Blush in Early Morning to make sure my blush had good staying power.  I quite liked the way it made my skin look kind of lit from within.  I don’t usually layer cream and powder blushers but I really need to get on that!  I topped off my cheekbones and other high points of the face with MAC’s Beauty Powder in Shell Pearl, which gives the best glow – I finally got my hands on the Year of the Snake version last week and I LOVE this product.  Review will be forthcoming!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (3)

I finished with a very simple lip using Benefit’s Ultra Plush gloss in Hoola.  I didn’t want anything competing with the green liner, so this gave the barest hint of shimmer and warmth, but that’s about it.

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013

Of course, the look isn’t finished – gotta get some flash on the nails too, right!?  Because I’m not a fan of green nail polish as a whole, I don’t actually own any that are going to give me serious pizazz.  But I have shades with a green tinge… haha.  I made it work, I think!  I just read about sideways manicures, so I tried it out – easiest nail art EVER.  And also my new favorite!!

St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (3) St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (2)

The shades I used were a-England Tess d’Urbervilles as a base, and Chanel Peridot on top.  This was probably more subtle than I should have gone with – the nature of Peridot with it’s duochrome nature just makes the a-England shade look like a shadow.  Nonetheless, I loved the effect, and loved how darn easy this one (no nail stickers required – freehand works perfectly!), so I’ll definitely be trying this again and again with other shades.  Fun!

I always have intentions to get these kinds of event posts up before the actual event, but who am I kidding?  That’s never going to happen – I’m too busy prepping for the occasion to actually have time to post!  LOL  Anyway, all the other bloggers have got this covered for me :D  And it’s not like I did anything particularly unique, and both the makeup and nails could be done any time of the year, right?

How did you celebrate Paddy’s Day??  Did you do any themed makeup and/or nails?

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Holiday Color Pairings

Holiday Colors

When I start to think about it, it’s not really a surprise to me that I love makeup.  When I was a kid, I use to spend hours pairing my crayons together in color combinations I thought looked good together (which was also a great indication of my obsessive tendencies toward organization, but that’s a whole OTHER topic in itself!).  While I don’t feel societal pressures to follow trends in shades (woohoo, Emerald for 2013!), nor feel like I ‘should’ wear darker colors in winter and brighter colors in summer, I choose to follow these paths often because it just makes sense to me.  I love the idea of changing the shades I wear according to seasons – heck, I even do it with the change in weather!  Rain means somber shades of grey or blue; sun means warm tones of gold, or brights like aqua and orange; and snow equals icy silvers and cool pinks and purples.  Its just how I roll, ya’ll!

Holiday Colors (2)

As it’s the holidays, of course I imagined an array of festive shades to represent the season, and since the work was already done, I thought I’d share them with you!  On the weekend for the first time I matched my lips to my tips, and it was a lot of fun.  I’m not entirely sure I’d do the same with eyeshadow, but the colors below all complimented a polish I own so well I figured what the heck.  I hope you enjoy!

Holiday Colors - SilverBobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter; Chanel Le Vernis in 529 Graphite

Holiday Color Swatches - Silver (2) Holiday Color Swatches - SilverChanel Graphite; Bobbi Brown Pewter

Both of these silvers are so much more than plain ol’ silver.  They both veer into a warmer tone rather than stark icy shades, which means they’re quite wearable for all skin tones.  Pewter is currently unavailable as this was an LE shade, but at times Bobbi Brown brings it back in palettes and such, so keep your eyes peeled!  Graphite has had a ton of reincarnations over the past year since it was released (though I don’t believe it’s LE anyway) – the best being Sally Hansen’s Shoot the Moon which was just featured on All Lacquered Up.

Holiday Colors - RedEssie Limited Addiction; Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in #46

Holiday Color Swatches - Red (2) Holiday Color Swatches - RedEssie Limited Addiction; MUFE #46

MUFE’s #46 Rouge Artist lippie was the red shade I wore on the weekend to compliment my red manicure (done with China Glaze Ruby Pumps).  I ADORE this lipstick; it is by far my favorite red that I own.  It’s more of a true red I think, and looks so darn good on!  The moistness of the lipstick keeps it looking so juicy and festive without being overwhelming in the least.  It feels amazing on and I just can’t get enough!  The only downside is that it’s only available at MUFE Pro stores and kiosks, but well worth the effort.

Essie Limited Addiction was, unfortunately, limited edition, but there are a billion reds out there I’m sure that are similar – just a bit deeper than your typical shade and neither warm nor cool.

Holiday Colors - GreenMAC Jealousy Wakes; a-England Saint George

Holiday Color Swatches - Green (2) Holiday Color Swatches - Greena-England Saint George; MAC Jealousy Wakes

Hot DAMN Saint George is beautiful!  I don’t wear this polish nearly as much as I should, mainly because when I bought it last year, I wore it about three times in a few weeks – obsessed, I was!  I’m wearing this to my work Christmas party this week and I’m super excited!  Its one of the few greenish hues I own, and one of the few of that color palette I like.  In truth it’s more teal than green but whatever – evergreen, shall we say?  I LOVE IT and all it’s prismatic shimmer.

Jealousy Wakes is also another shade I rarely wear, probably because I don’t wear color in my shadows nearly as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it from time to time when I do pull it out.  I dislike the texture of the shadow immensely – it’s so stiff and rough! – but it IS a lovely shade.

Holiday Colors - GoldSephora Brand She Sparkles; SpaRitual Aurum

Holiday Color Swatches - Gold (2)Holiday Color Swatches - Gold (3) Holiday Color Swatches - GoldSpaRitual Aurum; Sephora Brand She Sparkles

Oooh, sparkly indeed!  Though Aurum is sort of a crap color on me – probably on most people, it’s so damn blingy I’m going to HAVE to pull it out for the holidays!  Look at that sparkle!  It’s a bit more greenish-gold than the orange-y gold of She Sparkles, but they both shimmer prettily together, don’t you think?  I wore She Sparkles like crazy the last holiday season (when I purchased it), but haven’t given it much love since.  I’ll surely be pulling it out again this month!

Holiday Colors - BlackMAC Dark Soul Pigment; Illamasqua Creator

Holiday Color Swatches - Black (2) Holiday Color Swatches - BlackIllamasqua Creator; MAC Dark Soul

Though I’m not a huge lover of black nail polish, Creator has won me over with its glittery goodness, and looks both elegant and edgy at the same time.  It compliments Dark Soul so perfectly!  I could totally see rocking these two shades together, it’s like they were made for each other.  I rarely wear Dark Soul for sort of obvious reasons (its a shimmery charcoal shadow – the rockstar look doesn’t exactly work at the office), but I’m trying to find ways to implement it more when I can.  It’s definitely a perfect shadow for the holidays!

It was fun making these pairings and a huge throwback to my formative years :P  It’s also scary to see that I happen to have enough polish and makeup that I can actually make pairings that coordinate so well… ~shrugs~ I’m a collector, what can I say?

Have you gotten into the matching trend?  Would you be willing to try it, or do you avoid it at all costs?  What colors say ‘holiday’ to you?

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The Times, They Are A Changin’

Hello my neglected beauties!  I am so far behind in everything in life it seems – isn’t summer supposed to be carefree and relaxed!?  While I’ve had a lot of good times the past couple months, I’ve hardly had any time to address my ‘real’ life (guess that’s escapism to the max, eh?).  I’ve flown out of the province three times in August alone (twice to Newfoundland and now to Ontario – I’m actually in the airport right now heading to Ottawa), and while I LOVE to travel, I didn’t realize how hard it is to get back on track when you return.  Soon I’ll have been away from home for 12 out of 31 days – that’s a whole third of the month – and it’s kind of nuts. Fun – but nuts.

Look I did for a cottage party I went to – my friend’s family does a washer toss tournament every year, and this year there was a record 50 participants!  As the cottage is right on a lake, I wore only MUFE’s waterproof Aqua Liner in #5 (diamond turquoise blue) and a touch of mascara – it gave enough impact all by itself!

To add to all that, recently my boyfriend and I broke up.  So not only am I away physically but I’ve also mentally been not entirely present the past week or two.  However, I know that everyone has ‘stuff’ that goes on in their lives and they keep on moving, so I don’t want to lean on this as an excuse.  Most bloggers have busy lives and children and the like, and they post WAY more than me on a good week.  I merely just want to explain my absence so you know it’s only temporary!  Well…at least until October.  Then I’ll be away for 35 days and you’ll be lucky if I’ve got a post a week coming out.  LOL.  But THEN!  Then I will be blogger extraordinaire, I *promise.*

Mani/Pedi Combo with MAC’s Mischievous Mint on toes and a-England’s Saint George on fingers…see how often I wear the ‘Mint’ shade!?  LOVE it.

The most frustrating part about all this is that while moving forward my budget will be next to zero for beauty purchases (paying for a condo on my own is NOT going to be easy), I bought a slew of fun, beautiful things in the past couple months I’ve been desperate to talk to you about!  Actually, to be honest, a lot of those things I haven’t even had the time to experiment with myself, and they’re just in a forlorn little pile in my bathroom begging to be adored.  Since I’ve been traveling so much, most of these items haven’t come with me because I’m crazy-anal about keeping my makeup pristine, and I’m nervous about things getting banged up or broken (I’m still sore over my MAC Early Morning blush being in pieces :S).  Argh!  I hate not being able to multitask.  LOL!

Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N10 (iridescent copper pink).  It was the shade the MUFE Artist matched me with for my ultimate ‘MLBB’ shade.  It’s quite pretty but I see to either veer lighter, darker or more bold with lippies for the most part.  See link above for original review on formula.

But ladies (and maybe gents??)…there appears to be a silver-lining for you now.  It was just announced that my flight has been delayed for 2 hours – surely I can pump out a post or three in that time!?  Its not going to be any of the new, good stuff, but I have a boatload of photos from other items I’ve been meaning to show you.  So sit back and get comfy…I have a lot of making up to do!

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Yay! Mailbox Treats: A-England’s Camelot Plus A Few Sneak Peeks

I don’t think there’s a soul on Earth who doesn’t like to get mail (when it’s the non-$$-owing kind).  I personally love to get mail (even bank statements!), and am sure to send it out as much as I can – Christmastime gets all kinds of crazy.  The absolute best/worst kind of mail is the kind that results from online shopping: awesome because you got a real treat delivered to your door! – but a little scary because it can get out of hand, quickfast.  I haven’t yet reached the *yikes!* stage, but I DO have to hold myself back quite frequently.

Lately I’ve been indulging both my love of beauty and my love of mail by engaging in a whole bunch of swaps, ticking things off my lemmings list methodically which is super-terrif.  However, before I got oh-so-wise, I did do a wee bit of other purchasing:

The Too Faced bronzer and the NARS eyeliner were swap items, but the ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS (just making sure you’re paying attention – I bought ELLIS FAAS!) product I purchased last month.  ELLIS FAAS revamped their website in July and to celebrate they were offering free shipping till the end of the month, so I had to get on that!  The brand was another on my “12 Brands to Try” list, so I’m pretty stoked.  I won’t say any more about the mystery product, but keep your eyes peeled for a review and FOTD very soon! :)

Now, I haven’t forgotten that there’s also an a-England polish kicking around there too – one more shade to add to my collection!  The brand was also having a promotion last month where the Mythicals collection was all half off, and when I noted one day that I didn’t own a black polish, my smart lady-friends Larie and Eugenia both recommended Camelot as a must-have.

Camelot is an inky, rich black that doesn’t have any other leanings – it’s a true, straightforward black, with no funny business.  The formula is lovely, with the perfect consistency, and it’s fairly shiny on it’s own (here its shown with one coat and no top coat), but I think with two coats and a top coat it would simply gleam.  However, it’s unlikely I’ll ever wear this as is, truth be told.  I think shades like this are better left to the more fair-skinned of the world, as the contrast between light and dark is much more pronounced, and in my eyes, prettier.  But there are several polish shades I own that could benefit from a black base coat, so I figured it was kind of a staple requirement in my stash.

With flash

Artificial light

…Then I got an idea. An awful idea. This gal got a wonderful, *awful* idea!

Remember that garish gold polish I showed you a few weeks ago?  The SpaRitual one that just about blinded you with it’s bling?  Well, I think I might have found a way to make it work…

BAM! KAPOW!  OH SNAP!  Yes, my friends, I discovered a fabulous way to wear Aurum without wanting to take it off instantly!  In fact, I kinda want to wear this look a whole lot!!  And it’s so funny….today I decided that I wanted to get my hands on butter London’s Wallis – yep, I was gonna have it – and now I think I can hold off (for a while, at least).  I know that it’s not a dupe by any means, but the idea of it is so similar that I can be satisfied on that front I think!  I’m so pleased that I will be able to wear Aurum, as I can’t stand buying things that end up being all wrong.  The black base totally chills out the shade (this is just one coat over Camelot) and grounds it so it’s not so aggressively sparkly and yellow-toned, and almost makes it look a little edgy.  Love love love.

So all in all I had a great day today!!  I have another handful of swaps on the way (yea, I’ve been busy), and a lot of pretty stuff to show you, so I have to get on it!  I hope everyone is enjoying the last weeks of summer, it’s been a fantastic one here (can you believe, that our ‘norm’ now is sun!?), so I’m reluctant to see it go, but I am pretty excited for fall makeup shades!  And this combo of Aurum and Camelot will totally fit in, don’t you think??

Do you order things online or only buy in-store? 

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All That Glitters is Not Gold: a-England’s Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes)

Now, let me clarify my title before you go thinking that a-England‘s Princess Sabra, from The Legends collection, isn’t all that and a bag of chips.

<Oh yea, I just used that lame old saying!>

What I mean about Princess Sabra not being gold, is that it’s not – it’s a golden olive shimmer, and there’s a difference.See, the reason why it matters is because, when I put in my initial order for a handful of polishes from The Legends collection (Princess Tears, Ascalon, and Saint George), I skipped out on Princess Sabra because it looked like a gold holo prismatic polish, of which I already own one.  However, I was sorely mistaken.Princess Sabra, or Tristam Eyes – as it is said to be the same shade as a-England creator Adina’s cat’s eyes, Tristam – is a beautiful shimmering soft olive green shade with a hint of bronze and a myriad of rainbow hues infused throughout.  It does have strong gold leanings, but is definitely not straight-up gold.  The polish is completely unique and absolutely stunning, and once I realized the error of my ways, I ordered it IMMEDIATELY.As usual, the formulation is lovely, flowing easily on the nail with just the right amount of thickness.  The finish is glossy though not overly so.  I did use three coats in the swatches here, as I found this particular shade a touch sheer.  But three coats to gloriousness is really not a problem when you then get to gaze at nails like this!There’s really not much else to say.  I’m SO pleased I picked this up, and I love that due to the gentle color it’s pretty much wearable in all seasons, and across plenty of skintones.  I suggest if you don’t own this shade…just go buy it.  Seriously.  There’s no reason to wait – and a-England boasts free shipping everywhere, so you’ve got no excuse!

Are you as enthralled by Princess Sabra as I am??

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a-England’s ‘The Legend’ Collection – If You Haven’t Yet…What’s Taking So Long!?

A few weeks ago, after viewing Eugenia from Ommorphia Beauty Bar’s first-look swatches of the new a-England collection, The Legend, I felt compelled to email Adina and thank her for…well, pretty much just being absolutely amazing.  I’ve said this before, but I’m still shocked to say that I seriously got emotional looking at the shades because they just took my breath away.  I’ve also heard nothing but lovely thing about Adina, from her gracious nature to her enlightened spirit, and I was so pleased when she responded to find that she is all that and more.  It’s comforting to know that in this sometimes superficial world, you can still be successful without losing yourself and being something your not.  I found our brief correspondence to be quite inspirational, and it truly made my day.In this same conversation, I expressed my delight at ‘The Legends’ collection, and was able to pre-order a few shades before they were publicly available on her site (as they are NOW!).  I received my order a few weeks ago…I know, this is a travesty that I am only posting these now, but let me tell you – they are worthy of serious time and effort, and I could not for the life of me get the right lighting to showcase these lacquers properly – until now :)   The shades I picked up are Ascalon – a shimmering deep silver with prismatic qualities and a slight lavender duochrome; Princess Tears – a prismatic lilac with gray and green duochrome; and Saint George ~swoon~ – a deep teal with multicolored shimmer.  Once I saw Eugenia’s full-blown swatches of these polishes, I wished fervently that I had also ordered Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes) – a gorgeous golden olive shimmer.  Alas, I did not, but I am kept quite happy with the shades I did procure, so let’s check them out!

Note that all descriptions below were created by Eugenia as well, which must be such an honor!  Her way with words will win you over every time.

ASCALON
Forged by magic and guided by our hero’s sainted hand, the steely grey of his spire is alive with a swirling heart of lavender fire.

Indoor lighting

With flash

Sunlight

Sunlight – blurred

Sunlight – See the slight purple flash playing at the edges?

PRINCESS TEARS
As the twin lilac trails of tears stream with an incandescent glow down our doomed heroine’s face, they are made even more poignant by luminous grey/ green flashes.

Sunlight

Natural light

Natural light – Notice the duochrome?

Natural light – Taken with a different photo setting, the duochrome is quite apparent

SAINT GEORGE
Bearer of a valiant & courageous heart, this fathomless teal reveals the strength of the brave knight’s convictions with his gleaming, fiery core.

Natural light

Sunlight

Sunlight

I was initially concerned when I got these that Ascalon and Princess Tears would be quite similar, but as you can see they are not.  Ascalon has the lilac tinge of Princess Tears, but is somehow has a warmth to it (you can see the golden tones in some of the swatches) which makes it more wearable on my skintone.  I was quite surprized just how much I liked Princess Tears in person and on my hand; it’s not my typical kind of shade but it’s really beautiful and feminine.  The prismatic effect is most readily apparent in that one, and the duochrome adds such interest.  In the bottle, Saint George has the most obvious multifaceted shimmer, but on the nail, it’s the most illusive – nonetheless, it’s my favorite of the three and probably one of my top 5 favorite nail polishes I own.  I stared and stared at my hand for days while I wore it.  I’m a sucker for teal, and add some intriguing prismatic shimmer and I’m all over it!

The application of these were all good, which is standard for a-England polishes, though I found Ascalon dried a bit quickly so you have to move fast.  They all have a thick but easy-flowing formula, that dry with a nice, smooth finish, but could use a top coat to give it a high-gloss shine (I did not use base or top coat for any of these swatches).  Two coats were required for Ascalon and Saint George (the latter could almost get away with one), but three were required for Princess Tears to get the best opacity.  I’ve only worn Saint George so far as a full mani, and it had good wear while I had it on (though I only wear polish for a maximum of four days!).  The small chip you see on my pinky for the swatches of Saint George were due to me washing a huge load of dishes just before taking photos, and I didn’t notice it until too late – my apologies!

Overall, I’m really pleased with these lacquers and can’t wait to wear them again and again.  I think they’re all seasonless shades and so terribly eye-catching!  They retail for around $14CAD with the exchange rate, and are 4oz.  So, now’s your chance – if you haven’t already, go get ‘em!!

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Purple Holo Polishes: A Comparison

More and more I recognize the fact that when you get right down to it, I love creme polish formulas above most others.  I love looking at the shimmer and sparkle of other polishes – I’d love to paint a car in them, perhaps – but on my nails, nothing entrances me more than a straight-up creamy, glossy finish.

However.  There is one other formulation that captivates my heart: holographic polishes, or what I think is the more accurate term – prismatic.

Actually, let’s settle this terminology before we move on.  Every time I mention ‘holographic nail polish’ to my bf, he gets confused, and insists that is an incorrect term.  After I thought about it, I think he might be right.  Here are the definitions of ‘holographic’ and ‘prismatic':

Holographic: Of or relating to holography or holograms. Soo…
(Without getting too technical) A hologram is a three-dimensional image, or representation, in photographic form.

Prismatic: 1)  Of, relating to, resembling, or being a prism.  2) Brilliantly colored; iridescent. 3) (Physics) Exhibiting bright spectral colors (prismatic light).

Which sounds more accurate to you???

Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up!  :)   So yea, I love me some PRISMATIC polishes in all their iridescent goodness.  I like them so much that I ended up buying two purple shades that come pretty darn close to being one and the same – a-England’s Lady of the Lake (purchased first) and Color Club’s Wild at Heart.  They’re not dupes, but they’re near enough for me that I don’t see a good reason to own both – though I’ll probably keep ‘em both because their purple, and their prismatic.  Reason enough!

Here are some swatches of the two – you can certainly see the difference with the naked eye, but for all intents and purposes they’re quite similar:On my index and ring finger is Wild at Heart, middle and pinky fingers are Lady of the Lake.  You can clearly tell that it’s two different polishes, but still.  Wild at Heart is more plum, while the Lady is a muted violet.  I normally don’t pick up even near dupes, but when I saw shots like this online, I thought it would be entirely different.  Wild at Heart did not get that fabulous from my perspective, but then again it is Winter and perhaps the cool sunlight isn’t doing it any favours.  Regardless, the multidimensional shimmer (in both) does come out at the right angles in sunshine:I don’t really think I like one better than the other really…maybe Wild at Heart because its more vibrant, but overall they’re both lovely polishes (I’ve reviewed Lady of the Lake previously; Wild at Heart has a good formula with no issues to speak of) with a pretty sparkle that I thoroughly enjoy.  It’s a shame it’s not consistently more sunny here in Halifax, as the beauty of these types of polish really don’t come out without it (unless you have a really stellar formula – from what I’ve seen, Speciallita and Glitter Gal look pretty amazing regardless of lighting…will.own.soon.).

And – despite the seemingly incorrect use of the word ‘holographic,’ I’ll still probably use as it’s more commonplace and I don’t want anyone to get confused :)  Enjoy the rest of your day everyone!

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