Archive for category Pink

Dior Trianon Spring 2014: Pretty in pink with Bloom polish and Exquisse lip gloss

This post is seriously delayed, it’s true, as Dior’s Trianon collection came out back in early February; however, it’s still spring (we’re only like a week in, after all!) and I’ve actually seen both of these items still in stores, so I’m hopeful if you love them you can still pick ‘em up :)

Dior Bloom & Exquisse Spring 2014

I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to Dior cosmetics; though I used to work on the line for a brief period back in my Hudson’s Bay days, since then I haven’t really been all that interested. But when you continue to hear about how good their polishes and lip products are (among other items), you start to mentally break down and give in. It started with last year’s Spring Ball vernis, and it’s been snowballing slowly from there. Last month, when I had Shoppers Optimum points to burn, I picked up Dior’s Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse (a bright, medium pink) and Vernis in Bloom (almost identical in shade except slightly more muted and deeper). Since cooler-toned pinks are my new jam, I figured they were the perfect choices out of the collection (which fell flat for me otherwise – pale seafoam colors do nothing for my skin tone).

Dior Spring 2014 Bloom and ExquisseDior Vernis in Bloom, Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse

I have this weird block in my head when it comes to bright pink nail polishes – for some reason, I seem to think I own a lot, when in fact I own less than a handful. Every time I see one I like, I think ‘Oh, I have a shade just like that’ – and when I considered Bloom, my thought process was no different. However, I was determined to buy something that day, and I was really feeling the fun pink tones of Bloom, so into my basket it went. Happily, I don’t own any shades like it – either they’re darker or warmer. The tones in Bloom I think would work for everyone – it’s not too cool or too light, but a great medium shade all around. And of course, the Dior formula is impeccable – hence why I’m steadily building my collection and just picked up Incognito (a pinkish nude) last week!

Dior Bloom swatch Dior Bloom swatch

So shiny…that’s without top coat, guys! Another thing I love about the Dior polishes :) Here I’ve painted an accent nail with China Glaze’s Dandy Lion Around and topped it with Zoya’s Kissy – in fact, this was my Valentine’s Day mani!

Dior Bloom comparison swatchLeft to right: China Glaze Under the Boardwalk, American Apparel Neon Violet, Dior Bloom, butter London Snog

My camera had a hard time distinguishing between some of the shades, but IRL you can plainly see the differences – Snog WAS the shade I was most concerned would look the same against Bloom, but it’s much warmer in person. Both shades are worth owning, in my opinion!

Though I have been on a lipstick kick for the past year or two, every so often a gloss will catch my eye, and Exquisse was it this time around – a bright, juicy pink is the perfect glossy shade to wear when spring (finally) comes around. As everyone notes, the Dior gloss formula is fantastic; smooth, non-sticky, with a decent wear time (about 2 hours) and moisturizing to boot. Why can’t all glosses be this easy to wear?

Dior Exquise Dior Exquisse swatch Dior Exquisse swatch

After swatching Exquisse, I realized that I actually have something similar in my existing lip gloss collection: Illamasqua’s Divine.  Side by side, Divine is close, but leans cooler and lighter. When worn it’s also less pigmented – it’s sort of like the little sister to the Dior shade.

Illamasqua Divine vs Dior Bloom lipgloss Illamasqua Divine vs Dior Bloom lipgloss

Though my picks from the Trianon collection aren’t necessarily exciting, I think they’re both exceptionally wearable shades, which tends to mean more to me the higher the price point. Dior is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands, and I’m hoping to expand my experience by trying out some of their other wares. They hit the trifecta for me of superb quality, sexy packaging, and on-trend colour. I want MOAR!

Dior Bloom & Exquisse Spring 2014

Have you fallen in love with Dior? Do you have any suggestions on what I should try next from the brand?

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Hurry up, spring! My nail polish picks for spring 2014 (plus a dud)

It never fails: as soon as March hits, regardless of the fact that spring doesn’t actually start till the 20th of the month, I move headfirst into ~spring~ mode.  Last night I switched over all my makeup to spring-like colours, and over are the days of dark & moody / icy & cool nail polish colors – bring on the pops of colour and pastels!

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

I went through my nail polish collection this week (which, despite my *efforts* is still increasing in size, rather than hovering around 100 which is my goal :S) and rounded up the shades that most say ‘SPRING!’ to me.  Many of these shades are new acquisitions to my stash, so of course I’m totally enamoured with them.  I think I’m quite covered when it comes to a good array of shades…though I may need a few more metallics, now that I think about it ~always enabling~  I only really own two – the perfect gold, and a striking silver.  I wouldn’t mind throwing a nice rose-gold in the mix somewhere.  Suggestions??

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors(Left to right): Dior Bloom, butter London Poole, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like, China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, Chanel Orange Fizz, Zoya Robyn

I’ve noticed a trend over the past couple years, and it’s that spring isn’t just for pastels anymore.  Though I do love all the Easter egg shades that crop up this time of year, I’m enjoying seeing random pops of colour in the spring collections more and more.

Having said that, I am a sucker for any pale aqua or minty green shades that come my way.  Last week at Winners I snagged butter London’s Poole for $12CAD; I had drooled over it last summer but felt that I had several shades similar.  Turns out, indeed I do – but it’s different enough to justify owning it and I love it all the same :)

butter London Poole swatch butter London Poole swatchbutter London Poole, under artificial light

comparison butter London PooleLeft to right: China Glaze For Audrey, Zoya Wednesday, butter London Poole, MAC Mischievous Mint

I also grabbed China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint at Winners at the same time (on for $5CAD). Green is NOT my polish colour of choice – unless it’s pale/pastel. I had bought butter London’s Bossy Boots last year for that reason, but I find it’s yellow-leanings don’t do my hands any favours. I’d hoped Re-Fresh Mint with it’s cooler tones might make up for that error….sadly, I dislike it even more than Bossy Boots! UGH this looks terrible on me – it’s like white-out with a drop of green food colouring mixed in (got St Paddy’s Day and green beer on my mind, I guess lol) and aside from it looking awful on my skin tone, the formula leaves much to be desired.  Two thick, gloopy coats are required (actually, it’s the only option – thin coats are impossible as it streaks and balls up on itself in seconds) so if I’d actually wore this as a mani (I only put it on for this swatch) then dry time would be atrocious.  NO THANK YOU :(

China Glaze Re-fresh Mint swatchChina Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, under artificial light

butter London Bossy Boots vs China Glaze Re-fresh Mintbutter London Bossy Boots (left), China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint (right)

In the spirit of Radiant Orchid Madness 2014, I ordered Essie’s Splash of Grenadine from NPC last month, and guys – I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!!!  I think it’s the prettiest nail polish colour I own, seriously.  It required three thin coats to reach opacity, but the little bit of extra time is totally worth it!

Essie Splash of Grenadine swatch Essie Splash of GrenadineEssie Splash of Grenadine, artificial light

My photos don’t capture the gloriousness, but trust: this polish is LOVELY.

You may have noticed that I failed to mentioned the beautiful bright pink polish to the far left, Dior Bloom.  Fear not, my dear friends – THAT baby is going to have a separate post all to it’s own ;)

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

What shades do you like to wear in spring?  Are you more of a pastel girl, or do you prefer brights? Do you like / can you wear green nail polish? ~shudders~

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The Colours of Love: Pinks & Reds

This is going to be a post with many pictures and few words.  After a week where I was falling asleep by 9:30pm, now I’ve had insomnia the past few nights so I’m gonna try and get some shut eye early this evening!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m all about pushing a huge pink/red theme in all things beauty.  I’ve been rocking a serious pink flush and juicy pink lips every day this week so far, and have a pretty pink mani to boot!  If you’re on the hunt for pink or red makeup and polish this week, look no further – I’ve gotcha covered ;)

Let’s begin with some cool pink blush and lippies:

Warm Pink BlushClockwise from top left: NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited, theBalm Down Boy, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink Blush SwatchesLeft to right: theBalm Down Boy, Illamasqua Unrequited, NARS Desire, Joe Fresh Bloom

Cool Pink LippiesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Cool Pink lippie swatchesLeft to right: Kat Von D Backstage Bambi, Illamasqua Divine, Buxom April

Though my skin truly leans neutral, I still find that blue-based pinks are my JAM and really pop on my skin tone.  Love ‘em!

Next we have some warm pink cheek and lip colours:

Warm Pink BlushLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon(LE), Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink Blush swatchesLeft to right: Chanel Blush de Horizon, Illamasqua Hussy, Illamasqua Tweak

Warm Pink LippiesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette (LE), purminerals Vintage Pink (LE), Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

Warm Pink Lippie swatchesLeft to right: Bite Beauty Quince, Kat Von D Bachelorette, purminerals Vintage Pink, Revlon Sweet Tart, purminerals Pink Crush, Giorgio Armani #606, YSL #8 Pink in Confidence

After doing these swatches, I think I should have swapped the Chanel blush for Illamasqua Unrequited, as the former is more cool and the latter is more warm. Oops ~shrugs~  Some of the ‘warm’ pink lippies are probably more neutral in tone, but you can see they’re not that cool when you compare them to the ‘cool’ lip colour swatches above. It’s all about comparing and contrasting!

Bringing a little more sass and edge, red is a great alternative when you don’t want the sweetness of pink.  Sadly, I do not have a great stash of red blushes (horrors!) but I plan on picking up MUFE’s Scarlet Blush/Eyeshadow in the near future.  I don’t really feel that I need more than 3 reds – one warm, one cool, one neutral – but goodness knows I may change my mind if I find a few good ones.  Red blush seems hard to come by!

Red lips, however, and happily bountiful with SO many options to choose from, it’s just plain crazy.

…Aaaand photos:

Red BlushLeft to right: Becca Papaya, NARS Turkish Red (discontinued)

Red Blush swatchesLeft to right: NARS Turkish Red, Becca Papaya

Red lippiesLeft to right: Make Up For Ever #8, MAC Russian Red, Buxom Provocateur, Make Up For Ever N46, L’Oreal Endless Red

Red Lippie swatchesLeft to right: L’Oreal Endless Red, Make Up For Ever N46, Buxom Provocateur, MAC Russian Red, Make Up For Ever #8

I find my red lippies all look the same in swatches…and in real life, they are quite close.  L’Oreal’s Endless Red is obviously more glossy, and MUFE’s N46 is slightly more blue-based, but overall they’re all close in shade.  Time to diversify, methinks! An orange-red is my next purchase :)

Finally, we have some pretty pink and red polishes for you to peruse!  Though I don’t profess to wear much of either shade, I have a reasonable size stash of both (though again, the red lacks variety):

Pink & Red Nail PolishFront row, left to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco
Back row, left to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

Pink Nail PolishLeft to right: Zoya Kissy, China Glaze Ahoy!, butter London Snog, L.A. Girl Hyper, Essie Muchi Muchi, Rescue Beauty Lounge Poco a Poco

Red Nail PolishLeft to right: China Glaze Ruby Pumps, Essie Limited Addiction, American Apparel Downtown LA, butter London Come to Bed Red

So there you have it! A few ideas to get your mind going (and perhaps your wallet screaming?).  I picked up a couple more pink items this past week which I hope to show you before the 14th. Time to get girly, ya’ll!!

Do you wear pink makeup or nail polish?  Is red a staple colour you wear or do you shy away from it?

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Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year: My Beauty Wishlist and Top Picks!

Pantone 2014 Radiant Orchid

“A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.”  Sounds quite fabulous, no??  I have to admit, every year Pantone piques my interest in their Color of the Year choices, and this year’s selection, Radiant Orchid, is no different.  And it’s so darn wearable!!  I can see this being one of the biggest hits out of the more recent colour selections because anyone can pull this shade off, even the most novice of makeup wearers.

To show you just how easy it can be, I’ve rounded up my top colour picks I plan to incorporate into my own routine!

1. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss in Love Buzz ($24CAD), a cool pink with a blue undertone.

Ilia Love Buzz lip gloss

2. Benefit Lollitint ($36CAD), a candy orchid shade.

Benefit-Lolli-Tint

3. YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview ($36CAD), the perfect orchid.

img-thing

4. Essie Nail Polish in Splash of Grenadine ($7.95CAD), a playful magenta pink.

Essie A Splash of Grenadine

5. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner in Pink Violet ($29CAD), a warmed up, medium violet with sparkle.

Stila Smudge Crayon in Pink Violet

 

While I was searching for ideas for products in the colour range, I really tried to stick to the swatch above, as some examples I came across looked far more lilac to me than orchid.  But let me note that I DID start my search first in my own stash to see if I had anything suitable.  I was surprised to find that overall, I really didn’t!  See below my paltry collection of orchid tones:

Radiant Orchid Radiant Orchid swatchesLeft to right: Sephora Disney Collection Ariel Mermaid’s Song Lip Gloss in Dream Girl, Kat von D Spellbinding Lipstick in L.U.V., MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Fashion Boost, American Apparel Nail Polish in Neon Violet

The A.A. Neon Violet nail polish isn’t really orchid but it’s sort of like the electric version of what I imagine the shade to be (and is MUCH brighter in person than photos).  The rest are closer, though the MAC lip pencil is more fuchsia and the Kat von D lipstick is more purple; the only one I really feel is right on is the Ariel lipgloss.  In any case I clearly need to pump up my orchid-tone makeup and polish, so the list above will definitely be helpful in that task!

Do you get into the ‘Colour of the Year’ fad?  Which shade has been your favourite so far?  Do you have any orchid shades you can already use?

 

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Fun with Fuchsia: American Apparel Neon Violet Polish, NARS Desire Blush, and Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

As some of you may know, I’ve been in a slight polish slump for the past while.  Nothing has really got me excited much, though I have picked up a few shades here and there (as seen in my last post) that were great additions to my collection.  Last week I was admittedly quite enamoured with China Glaze’s new Dandy Lyin’ Around, a sparkling white polish, but by the end of the week, as usual I was ready for a change.  I was feeling kinda frisky (huh?) and pulled out American Apparel’s Neon Violet polish, a blue-leaning bold pink, which is part of their Neon collection that came out quite a while ago.  I haven’t given this polish much love for whatever reason, though it often draws my eye as it stands out a lot amid the other shades in my stash.  As soon as I put it on, my love was seriously revived – guys, this is a fantastic shade!!  I’ve shown pics to you before (once as a pedicure and once on a friend’s hand) but I’m not sure I’ve given it enough due – you really gotta check it out.  Aside from the glorious color, it’s a near one-coater with a great formula – it’s just FABULOUS.

American Apparel Neon Violet swatch American Apparel Neon Violet swatch (6)

Anyway, it got me thinking again about skintone and whether I am more cool or warm – this is most definitely a cool-leaning shade, and while I inherently think I’m warm-toned because of my caramel coloring, more and more I think I might actually just be neutral, leaning neither way, because I seem to be able to pull off shades all over the color spectrum (hooray for me!).  I also am realizing that it has a lot more to do with just finding the right shade within each color range, rather than whether or not you can wear ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ tones.  After all this thought and over the past few months with some of the beauty accruals I’ve made, I have found my jam in one area at least – fuchsia.

Fuchsia makeup

A few months ago, I was on this kick where I wanted to collect NARS blushes – I already owned four and I thought I’d just keep going with it.  I’ve since kind of gotten over that, but not before I scored Desire in a swap.  Initially I thought it was probably a stupid move – a cool ‘cotton candy pink’ on my skintone??  I just wasn’t convinced.  And since I received the shade in the late summer, which did not seem like the season for this color, I left it alone for ages.

When winter rolled around, I figured it was time to give this ago and decide if I was going to keep it or not.  As true for many NARS blushes, it has great pigmentation, and because it’s completely matte it’s exceptionally wearable (as a general rule, I find bright pink + shimmer = TOO DAMN MUCH).  The first time I wore it, I happened to pair it with heavy black liner and naked lips, and BAM!  Compliments galore!!  It looked smokin’ (sadly, I do not have pics from that day).  It was then that I started to think that fuchsia might be a color I want to start giving more of a chance.

NARS Desire Blush

One night a couple months ago when Illamasqua was having their last huge sale, I was perusing the site – and on top of discovering that my current blush lemming Crush was on sale, I also could score the Sheer Lipgloss in Divine (a ‘deep fuchsia pink’) for 1/3 of the regular price.  When my package arrived, I was pleased to find that Divine was a wonderful addition to my gloss collection, as it was unlike anything I already own.  Additionally, it’s smooth, non-sticky formula was a pleasure to use, and while it isn’t as pigmented as it looks in the tube, its a great shade to brighten up my face in a pinch.

Fuchsia gloss and blushFuchsia gloss and blush (2)Swatches: Illamasqua Divine (left), NARS Desire (right)

As I already noted, I had previously always thought I had a warm-leaning skintone, so when I saw evidence of how yet another cool-based color looked great, I was finally convinced – fuchsia rocks my world!!

Illamasqua Divine lip swatch FOTD MUFE 21L and Illamasqua DivineWearing Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

Out of all this discovery, one thing became glaringly clear – I desperately need a bright fuchsia lipstick!!  The lovely Sarah from Beauty and the Baked Goods send me Revlon’s Sweet Tart lip butter, which is a great pink, but it leans more candy-colored.  I’ve been doing my research and I’m torn between Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Matte Pencil in Quince $28CAD (described as a rose berry – but looks pretty fuchsia to me), YSL’s Rouge Volupte Radiant Lipstick in Rose Culte $39CAD (a ‘vivid fuchsia’), or new NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu $30CAD (a ‘shocking pink’).  I haven’t gotten to swatch the NARS pencil in person yet, so not sure if it’s the right tone, but the other two totally do it for me – it’s likely I’ll opt for the Bite pencil as it’s more reasonably priced and I have yet to try a lippie from the brand.

All said and done, I’m pretty stoked that I’ve stumbled upon a go-to shade that seems to work so well with my skintone.  I’ve made several discoveries of this kind over the past couple months while funds have been so limited – I’ve been taking the time to play more and make more informed decisions about what I purchase when I have the means to do so, and it’s been a positive learning experience :)

Fuchsia makeup (2)

What unlikely makeup / polish shades have you discovered to really work for you?

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Birthday Manicure!

Good morning everyone!  I’m up and at ‘em this morning, as today is the official celebration of my 30th birthday (which isn’t actually until Monday)!  I’m pretty pumped – my bf has planned the whole thing and it’s a total surprize, I have no idea what we’re doing!   You can be sure to hear all about it next week ;)  In the meantime, because I’m not sure what’s going on – which means I don’t know how to dress – I did a birthday celebration manicure, since fun nails work in any situation!!!  I thought about it all day yesterday (even during work training – oops), trying to think about what I could do special.  I was keen on the idea of another gradient/ombre manicure, as I love how they look and they’re so eye-catching.  I decided to do contrasting pastel-type shades, and I LOVE how it turned out.  Take a look!

China Glaze Pink Plumeria & MAC Mischievous Mint

My technique has improved since the last time; I made sure to use only one shade on the tips, and mixed the edges of the dollops of the two shades together on tinfoil to ensure a softer gradient (in the last one, I just had a splash of the tip shade on the foil which I picked up with the sponge), a tip which I learned from this tutorial.  MUCH better than before, though I could still use some practice.  You can see on one of my pointer fingers that the pink is a little more saturated than the rest.  Oh well, I’m determined to get this down pat – it’s one of my favorite nail looks right now!

I’m off to enjoy the day now, I hope you all have a lovely weekend – it’s pretty full for me but I’m off on Monday so you can be sure I’ll be posting a little something then :D

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China Glaze Summer Neons Collection: Part II (Swatches and Review)

You remember how yesterday I talked about my admiration of those fabulous bloggers who were in the business of swatching full collections of nail polish on the regular?  Well today I’m in admiration of anyone who buys a home!!  Holy moley, let me tell you – it is SUPREMELY exciting to buy your first home (I guess, any home really!) – but there is so much to learn and info to absorb, wowza!!!  It’s a lot for a brain to handle.  Thankfully we’ve had absolutely stellar people working with us to find the condo and get our financing in order, but its been a relatively consuming pastime for the last few weeks. Well worth it, but mindblowing all the same!!

Anyway, we spent some time at the bank tonight wrapping things up, then come home to make dinner, then talked numbers some more…suddenly my evening has gone *poof* and I’ve hardly even done anything!  I really wanted to get the second part out for the Summer Neons collection from China Glaze though, so here I am!  The second half is just as eye-popping as the first, so get ready!

I’m With the Lifeguard is a ‘glimmering lime green,’ and while I love this shade in theory – makes me think of lime koolaid! – I’m not liking it on my skintone at all, though it is lovely to look at.  The last picture is the most accurate for how bright this is.  I found 3 coats was best to even out a bit of streakiness, and it had a similar formula as most other shades – thicker but fairly easy to work with. This dried semi-matte.

Sunlight

Sunlight

Sunlight (different setting)

The description of Ride the Waves - a ‘dark ocean blue’ – is so terribly enticing to me.  Due to the sheer, thin, jellyish formula, it really made me think of the deeper waters of the Caribbean!  To avoid any VNL, 3 coats is absolutely necessary.  I really like this shade – it reminds me of Nails Inc. Baker St. (which Beyonce was apparently wearing shortly after she had Ivy Blue, hence everyone wanted it) but it’s not quite as electric, though it’s still really very eye-catching. It’s darker and not as cool-toned in real life, and the squishy nature looks like you could just drink it up.  As I was wearing it as my mani this week, I realized it would be perfect as a base for Lippmann’s Across the Universe!

Indoor lighting

With flash

Natural light

Sunlight

Just as juicy and ripe-looking as the fruit to describe it, Under the Boardwalk, a ‘fluorescent raspberry’, has almost the same formula as ‘Ride the Waves’, but not quite as jellyish.  Again, 3 coats best, though 2 is workable here, and it’s deeper in tone than it looks in photos.  I feel pretty ‘meh’ about this shade – it’s quite nice but nothing stand-out to me in any way.

With flash

Sunlight

Sunlight

Love’s A Beach, a ‘sizzling hot pink’, is slightly warmer than ‘Hang-Ten Toes’, but the differences are slight and I personally wouldn’t feel it necessary to own both.  If I had to chose, I think I’d pick this shade, as the blue-leanings are less pronounced.  Formula was good; it applied easily without fuss.  3 coats were used here for good measure.

With flash

Natural light

Sunlight

In theory, Surfin’ For Boys would be the ultimate shade: a ‘glistening bright coral’? Sign me up! However, there’s something off about this color for me; I think it’s the shimmer which looks almost purplish in certain light, and just feels a bit gaudy to me.  It’s actually remarkably similar to another shade I own, LA Colors in Magnetic Force, except I think I like that polish better (well, at least the color).  However, I think this is still a great shade for summer, and definitely a perfect pedi shade.  It went on very easily in 2 coats, and dried semi-matte.

With flash

Sunlight

Sunlight - different setting

Last but not least, we have Flirty Tankini, a ‘shimmery strawberry smoothie pink’ with a particularly good formula.  I could have done 2 coats with no problem but I did 3 to be nitpicky.  I really liked the sweetness of this shade and though it went particularly well with my skintone.  The shimmer was understated (as it didnt’ contrast with the base color) and I’m looking forward to wearing this as a full mani very soon!!   

With flash

With flash

Sunlight

That wraps it up for the China Glaze Summer Neons collection!  I liked this half equally as well as the first, and I have my faves – Ride the Waves, which grew on me, and Flirty Tankini, which is just too darn pretty!  Though I enjoyed the formula of most shades as a whole, it was a bummer to apply 3 coats for almost all of the polishes here.  A suggestion was made that I could layer these shades over a white polish to let the neon qualities really pop, and I think I’ll take that recommendation to heart.  Every single shade was majorly bright, and to enhance that aspect would only serve to make this collection that much more special (and allow less coats of color overall!).

As a whole, I found a few of the shades in the collection not as unique as I’d like – some seemed to replicate shades I already have in my stash.  However, I chose those shades for a reason, so what’s not to like? lol  One complaint I have about the collection as a whole is that there are a fair amount of shades that are quite similar to each other – there are no dupes, but they’re close enough that I personally wouldn’t feel like I needed to own both/all.  However, in person the differences between them are more obvious, so you may refute me there and I would be OK with that :)  Really, this collection is the epitome of fun, splashy shades for Summer, and if you want them all, who am I to argue?

What is your idea of the perfect Summer polish shade(s)?  Would you try out a neon polish?

*Product samples were provided to me by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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China Glaze Summer Neons Collection: Part I (Swatches and Review)

Before I begin, I just want to give some serious accolades to any bloggers out there that have swatched an entire nail polish collection for our viewing pleasure.  O.M.G.  I’ve done maybe 4 swatches at a time, which was still quite a task, but 12 shades!?!  Good grief!  I spent most of my day Saturday and part of my day Sunday painstakingly applying each of the 12 shades of the Summer Neons collection from China Glaze, fearful that I was going to lose my sun, waiting between coats, hydrating and rehydrating my cuticles, and taking shot after shot of my nails to capture each shade as accurately as possible.  Man Oh Man.  It was truly exciting to have the opportunity – receiving the big box in the mail and knowing I’d never otherwise have such a chance – but I just wanted to give a shout out to the more established bloggers who are used to this sort of thing.  You rock!!  It’s quite a job, and I will forever have a different appreciation for collection swatches moving forward.  Thank you, my lovelies :D

Ok, with that out of the way – let’s get to the polish, shall we?  Today I bring you the first part of my swatchapalooza; there really wasn’t a defined split between the shades, so I just kind of put them together in a way that made sense to me. The collection as a whole was a surprize hit for me.  In promotional shots, I was unsure how I felt about a bunch of neon shades with shimmer – typically odd colors like electric green and eyeball-searing yellow do NOT do it for me, and I’m not a fan of shimmer overall – but somehow they made it work in a big way with this collection.

First up, we have Sun-Kissed, described as a ‘hot highlighter yellow’, and it was exactly that!  I would never in a million years imagine I’d like a shade like this, but consider me converted!  Somehow, this super-bright shade won me over, and I definitely see a full manicure with this in my near future.  Obviously, I don’t have much experience with yellow polishes, but from what I hear they can be tricky to work with – this shade, while slightly streaky, was relatively painless to apply; you can get away with 2 coats but I applied 3 for the best opacity.  Like many shades in the collection, it dries semi-matte.

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Next up, Orange You Hot? - a ‘bright orange with attention-grabbing gold glimmer.’  I find the shimmer particles very fine, and the gold tone is lost in the base shade, but it’s still lovely.  I liked it but didn’t love it on my skintone – I think it’ll be more of a pedi shade in my rotation than anything else.  I felt similarly about the formula; it was good but not great.  I applied 3 coats to get the smoothest application possible.

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~Ah~ Pink Plumeria.  My personal favorite of the whole collection.  A ‘light pink with gold shimmer,’ it came out more like a coral-pink on my nails, and was soo flattering.  It retains quite a neon look but in a way that’s tasteful and eye-catching rather than gaudy – it’s actually brighter in person than I was able to capture in these photos.  The gold shimmer really gave it an extra-pretty sheen.  Application was pretty good – 2 coats was sufficient, and how I wore it as a full mani, but I think 3 would probably be better, as it had a hint of patchiness on a few nails.

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Hang-Ten Toes was actually the first polish I tried on from the collection; a ‘bubblegum neon pink with iridescent purple shimmer’, it looked and sounded far too enticing to pass up.  In person, this shade is searingly bright – I found it difficult overall to capture the true neon nature of most of the polishes in the collection, this one in particular (I took about a million shots of this polish, and I’m still not satisfied!).  Easy flowing with good consistency (you don’t need too much on the brush), it dries to a semi-satin finish.  At an angle, the shimmer is somehow both obvious and elusive, which gives it mysterious depth.  2 coats is enough to reach good coverage, but 3 erases any VNL. I found the drying time of this shade was slower than I’m used to – which I found for a handful of shades in the collection (perhaps because I was applying 3 coats for many of them).

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On of the best formulas of the bunch, Beach Cruise-r is a ‘glimmering fuchsia grape’, which only required two smooth coats to full opacity.  On the nail, it reminds me a lot of American Apparel’s Neon Violet except with shimmer.  This kind of color is a bit unexpected in Summer I think, because it has a deeper jewel tone that makes me think more of Fall, but the brightness makes it appropriate and fun for the warmer months too.  Like Neon Violet, I’m slightly ambivalent toward it as a mani, but quite like it as a pedi shade. It’s brighter and more richly hued in person – closer to the last shot, below.

Indoor lighting – looks so purple!SunlightSunlightSunlight

Finally, we have Splish Splash, a ‘bright sky blue shimmer,’ also with a great formula, though 3 coats is still best.  This is not at all my kind of shade, but is an absolutely glorious color on it’s own – I want to own other things in this shade (just not wear it on my nails).  Looking at these photos, I’m mesmerized by this color; but with my skintone, it looks a bit garish.  In person it’s much more blue than aqua like it looks in these photos – closer to the last shot, below.

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And so we conclude Part I of the Summer Neons collection!  Overall I felt that there were some beautiful shades, even if they all didn’t ~go~ with my skintone.  While many of the shades required 3 coats to look best to my liking, I still felt that the formulas overall were quite good; they didn’t dry too quickly and cause dragging, and applied very easily for the most part, with an excellent consistency in formula.  Mostly I found that they were just a touch sheer and just the slightest bit patchy, but applying 3 coats cleared any of those issues up with ease.  I also normally do a fast-drying top coat, whereas I used none in the swatches above (nor base coat), which could be why they seemed to take longer to dry than normal.  In any case, I liked some of the shades so much that I’d be more than willing to put up with the extra coats.  They all scream Summer to me, and just make me happy looking at them!

What are your thoughts on these shades from the collection?  Are you into neon brights?  Would you prefer them with or without shimmer?

*Product samples were provided to me by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Unconventional Holiday Beauty

I started to write a post about some of the products I’m planning on using throughout the holiday season that are festive and season-appropriate.  However, during a two-hour meeting this week, as usual my mind started to wander…and I thought, “What about the holiday looks that are a bit unexpected?”  Sure, the typical red lips/nails and gold/silver eyeshadow are typical for this time of year, but you guys already know that stuff.  I’ve been making an effort to use my creative muscles lately, and as a result, I came up with a few different looks I’d like to try out this season!

Not Flushed Cheeks, but….

Of course, you know all about bronzer and the wonders it can do year-round to keeping your skin from looking sallow – which can be a particular problem during the colder months of the year.  However, I’m partial to wearing blush, especially in the Winter as I really love the flushed, just-out-in-the-cold look.  Additionally, a little bit of shimmer never hurt anyone during the holidays.  To get the best of all worlds, why not try a shimmering bronze blush?  My particular fave which I wear consistently throughout the year is CoverFX Bronzed FX in Garnet – a gorgeous terracotta shade with golden shimmer:You can see how much wear I get out of it – I’ve even hit pan, which is a huge feat when it comes to blush.  It looks great in pretty much every season, but I really love it in the cooler months, and the shimmer isn’t over-the-top so its even wearable during the day.  With a touch of champagne, gold or bronze eyeshadow and a nude lip, this bronzer/blush/highlight gets you holiday-ready in a flash.

Not Red Lips, but…

Rather than opting for the traditional red lip during the holidays, what about going with a more dramatic look of deep burgundy?  I’m picturing it with a shimmering gold or bronze gloss on top, which would give it a luxurious, plush feel. I picked up this Sephora brand gold gloss last week and its give the perfect hint of golden glow:Or, have the best of both worlds with a lipstick like MAC’s “O,” which is described as a purplish-red with golden pearl.  I’m loving the whole look Michelle Trachtenberg has going on in the photo below:With the thick black liner and gold necklace as well, this whole look says holiday to me!

Not Gold or Silver Eyeshadow, but…

Pewter or rose gold shades.  Particularly for skin tones like mine (leaning more olive/caramel), silver can look terribly stark.  I have Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadow in Pewter, a Limited Edition shade from a couple years ago, and it’s the perfect color, as it has somewhat yellow tones that look better with a warmer complexion – though it looks good on most all skin tones, too.

Rose gold tones seem to be all the rage right now, in everything from cosmetics (hello, LM Rose Rendezvous!) to accessories (still loving my Michael Kors watch!).  And again, this is an uber-flattering shade that looks good on pretty much anyone because it works for both cool and warm skin tones.  Sadly, I don’t have anything in this shade but I’m hoping to change this soon!

Not Red Nails, but…

Glitter!  While it’s can be an obvious choice during the holidays, a way to make it fresh is to try some of the more untraditional colors like hot pink or aqua.  I picked up Zoya’s Kissy and fell in love big time:Oh, so pretty!!  Here I have it layered over China Glaze Ahoy, as it’s glitter in a sheer pink base. The glitter is sort of holographic and is super eye-catching.  The only problem with this is that because it’s bar glitter, its pretty gritty, and if you’re not careful it can catch on your clothing!!  I ended up putting three coats of top coat on so that it felt relatively smooth.  NOT so fun to take off!  But still well worth it in my books.

Another fun shade I picked up this season is Color Club’s Beyond the Mistletoe (purchased from Nail Polish Canada – fast becoming one of my favorite nail polish sites ever!), a pale glittering holographic aqua.  I have yet to wear this but I am beyond excited to do so – it’s truly gorgeous.  This also needs to be layered as it’s relatively sheer, though it could be worn on its own with several coats.

Now of course, I’ll still be rocking the red nails (I have a fabulous one on now I’ll show you soon!) and lips, and getting good use out of my gold MAC Amber Lights eyeshadow, but I always like a change, and doing things that are unexpected.  These are just some ideas I had that I’d thought I’d share with you – hope you liked them!

Do you have any traditional looks you rely on during the holidays?  Or any new looks and ideas you’ve tried or are hoping to try out?  I’d love to hear about them!

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Technical Difficulties…

So, our wireless internet is frigged – but not on my bf’s computer, just mine!  Super annoying.  Currently I’m sitting on the floor near the modem with my computer actually plugged IN, as it’s the only way to get online.  But DAMN this hallway is chilly so I won’t be hanging out here for long!  In the interim, here’s some polish spam for you to keep to busy until I get this whole thing straightened out:China Glaze 2030.  I also swatched Hi-Tek at the same time, but stupidly forgot to take photos, so that’ll be for another time.  This one is actually up for swap – its flattering on me but I’m not really into this kind of look.  Plus it’s a little annoying to apply as it dries fast and can get patchy easily.  Pass!

Yuk.  This is an LA Girl polish that I got in a swag bag, but the name is missing (sorry).  Anyway, I hate colors like this – SUPER not my style.  Though, this polish had one kickass formula – perfectly thin, but opaque in two coats, and with an awesome glossy finish.  Too bad about the icky shade (though I’m sure it’d look great on someone!).

I should have titled this post: ‘Polishes I Hate’ because here’s another one that I’m not a fan of (maybe hate’s a strong word…but there is NO love lost).  This is Deb Lippmann’s Satin Doll, one created for Mariah Carey.  In theory, its quite pretty – its very complimentary to my skin tone, but I am not liking the old Granny shimmer at all.  It makes this look really dated, which it very well could be – when did this come out?  One of the awesome gals at Mills Brothers gave it to me because I spent an hour arranging the Lippmann polishes just so, one night while I was working at Clinique (hello, OCD!).  This’ll go up for swap too like the others I suspect…so sad.

Rescue Beauty’s Piu Mosso.  Bah!  I’ve had this swatches for ages but just COULD not get the pretty fire-red shimmer to come out and play.  And in all truthfulness, it really made this shade kinda disappointing to me.  I know ‘secret shimmers’ are all the rage, and I loved me some Chanel Paradoxal, but for some reason this one didn’t translate the same.  Maybe because its similar to Zoya’s Cynthia, which has my heart completely, that this seemed to be a dud in comparison.  Which is weird because of the awesome shimmer…that you can only see in perfect sunny light.  Meh.  I’ll likely hang on to it for a while, then move on.

That’s all for now, I’ve caught up on almost all my backlogged polish swatches now :)  I hope this gives you a lil something until I can get this ridiculous internet problem solved!  My computer must be faulty :(  (*Guess it’s time for a new one* heehee)

I hope everyone is well, be back soon!!

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