Tag Archives: essie

Beauty Grab-Bag: Crazy for Coral

Now that the clocks have jumped forward and the sun sticks around until 7pm, it seems like those breezy, warm, days are just around the corner. I’m currently on the lookout for a bridesmaid dress in the season’s hottest color—coral, so I have that shade on the brain right now. In anticipation of spring, lets look at some pretty coral makeup that will give you that lovely orange glow—not like self tanner, more like you finally got the chance to get out in the spring sunshine.

Nars Illuminator in Orgasm, $29

I received this illuminator in my February Birchbox and it gives a very subtle peachy glow on cheekbones. I think it probably works best on warmer skin-tones.

Mac Eyeshadow in Paradisco $14.50

A beautiful shimmery coral with gold undertones, this shadow works even on women without warm or tanned skin-tones.

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Tipsy $25

I have one of these coming in the mail from QVC (more on that later), but the colors look beautiful in Sephora, especially this bright coral.

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Glow Expert $30

If you want a juicy, peachy glow without being sticky, this coral gloss is perfect, but pricey.

Essie Nail Polish in Haute as Hello, $8

One of my favorite Essie polishes, this color just feels happy and warm, it’s a real pick-me-up for your finger tips.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Wild Coral, $24

If you prefer lipstick to gloss this new coral from Estee Lauder will deliver color that is both bright and long lasting.

I just finished up this commission for a bridal box featuring coral flowers too:

And if you’re still not sold on coral, here is a polyvore collage featuring pretty things to get you excited for spring:

60s Coral, Cream and Gold by justinez featuring vintage style earrings

River Island lace dress
45 GBP – riverisland.com

Smocked dress
$98 – topshop.com

Chiffon blouse
18 GBP – desireclothing.co.uk

Beyond The Valley tweed mini skirt
149 GBP – farfetch.com

Marc Jacobs short short
558 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Chinese Laundry high heel pumps
$70 – heels.com

TopShop high heels
$135 – topshop.com

Sigerson Morrison slip on flat
$213 – theoutnet.com

Love Moschino shoulder strap bag
132 GBP – my-wardrobe.com

Marc by marc jacobs tote
200 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Kate Spade chain necklace
$195 – zappos.com

Tinley Road flower ring
$22 – piperlime.gap.com

House of Harlow 1960 gold bracelet
$125 – shopthetrendboutique.com

Chandelier necklace
$24 – modcloth.com

Vintage style earring
$12 – modcloth.com

TopShop woven scarve
$32 – topshop.com

Essie Nail Polish – California Coral
$7.90 – apothica.com

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Beauty Grab-Bag: Makeup Fun-time

I haven’t done a beauty grab-bag in a while so I thought I’d do a quick one today and feature some random things.

Before my wedding when I was desperate for blogging help I put a call out to anyone who could do a guest post or had something to share. Sara over at makeshift vanity sent me these makeup collages she put together for fun—and they’re pretty fun to look at too! Things got so crazy before the wedding that I never got a chance to publish these, but I’m happy to feature them now, thanks for submitting these Sara! I love a good makeup collage, and these backgrounds are awesome.

In other news—If you haven’t heard of it yet, there is this site called Birchbox,  you pay $10 a month (or a flat $110 a year) and they send you a box of 4-5 cosmetic samples, shipping is free and apparently most of the samples are deluxe. Since I was good and forced myself out of Sephora without buying the $30 YSL lipstick last week, I figured I could splurge and spend $10 to try this out for January. Birchbox combines two of my favorite things—sampling new products and getting stuff in the mail! I often find myself wishing stores sold products in sample sizes for just a few dollars so I could try them out before buying the full size. Dealing with scuzzy, over-used testers and crowds at retail stores has gotten really tiring, so I hope this works out. If you don’t like the service you can cancel, it seems too good to be true doesn’t it? I’ll let you know how it goes and share pics in January when the box arrives!

Speaking of getting things in the mail, I participated in my first nail polish swap last week with the above mentioned Sara. I’ve been behind on my nail polish purchases and missed most of the Fall launches, so I was very happy when Sara sent me 4 mini shades from Essie’s fall line—Sew Psyched, Little Brown Dress, Limited Addiction, and In Stitches. I wouldn’t wear these in summer, but they’re great neutrals (except Limited Addiction). Amanda from mandabear did a guest post in October and featured Sew Psyched as one of her favorite picks for fall, and I have to agree with her, it’s a khaki gray-green and a nice alternative to griege. Swaps are fun! I apologize that you have to look at my incredibly dry winter skin, yikes—I really need to start moisturizing.

(from left to right, Little Brown Dress, In Stitches, Sew Psyched, Limited Addiction)

For the requisite cute animal part of the grab-bag, I present you with this cute video of baby otters.

I would like a baby otter for Christmas please, he would fit in with my cats just fine:

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Guest Post: Amanda’s 10 Favorite Nail Polishes for Fall

I am so grateful that the very kind and generous Amanda has stepped in with a guest blog post today, and you should be grateful too because she is awesome and has great taste in nail polish! Amanda blogs over at mandabear and she is amazingly stylish and always has great beauty and fashion picks, so I highly suggest you check it out, you can follow her on twitter too! Many thanks to Amanda today, she has allowed me the time to work on my table numbers and iron out my wedding makeup, thanks again Amanda!

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When fall comes around, I don’t dabble with vampy colors all that much just because summer’s over.  Once in a while I do, but I switch around a lot because I am more of a “I wear what I like” type of girl.  Though I will admit that I can easily get sucked into seasonal color trends with makeup, nails, clothes…I just can’t help it.  It’s almost like a part of my materialistic mind is telling me to switch to a darker color palette when cooler weather hits.  True, it’s easy to grab your trusty bottle of OPIs Lincoln Park After Dark because it fits the season, but I still want to play around with some fresh colors.  Here are 10 nail polishes that I picked out from my own collection that I think are unique, rich in color and work for those who do like to change their polish color seasonally. Enjoy!

1. Essie “Sew Psyched” – A new take on the standard neutral polish.  It’s a gray/green mix that is just really interesting and cool.
2. American Apparel “Passport Blue” – A dark blue alternative to black. Very pigmented in one coat.
3. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear “Concrete” – This is an opaque gray-lavender that works for the office but also fits in with the neutral look that is oh so trendy.
4. OPI “Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous” – A festive nail polish for those who hate chunks of glitter in their polish.  It’s a dark glitzy polish that is perfect for going out.
5. Zoya “Harley” – One of my favorite Zara nail polishes.  It’s a light silver gray that is slightly shimmery but not light enough to wash you out.

6. OPI “Ate Berries In The Canaries” – A rich magenta that pops.  Great if you are transitioning from hot pinks.
7. RGB “Toast” – A “dirty” neutral. It’s so chic and resembles the popular Chanel Particuliere.
8. China Glaze “Mummy May I” – A black base with a pink glitter explosion inside. This is part of their Halloween collection.
9. Rescue Beauty Lounge “Sheer Nude” – I would consider this an “interview polish” but it really does give your nails an elegant, finished look.
10. Orly “Royal Navy” – One of my favorite blues!  This color is so special because it hits the spot on perfecting both brightness and blueness.

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Beauty Bullseye: Best Red Nail for Summer

In the comments last week Joanne asked:

“…anyone know of a great “red” I haven’t tried yet???”

I went to reply and realized I could do a whole post about it!

I love red nail polish, it’s a classic, and as nails go, it can even be considered a neutral in some instances, it’s hard to go wrong with a red nail. There are of course many varieties, and some work better than others.

In my collection I have winter reds and summer reds. The summer reds have more orange in them, and the winter reds are usually darker and occasionally have sparkle (for some reason I like glitter more in the winter I’m not sure why, maybe we need it more when it’s so dark all the time).

I started going through my collection of reds and picked out the top five crimsons for summer, after all, it is the first day of summer, so lets turn up the heat!

I hope these pics give you an idea of how the colors look on.

Let’s start with a color from Essie, Red Nouveau, it is a great standard red, not too orange, not too blue, but just right, thumbs up!

This is Big Apple Red from OPI, it’s one of my favorite reds for year round, works great in every season, it consistently gets rated the top red by fashion mags and blogs. It has a slightly blue undertone, and is a very rich, deep red.

Another great color from Essie, below we have Lollipop, this is a wonderful summer red as it has a healthy dose of orange, making it perfect for the heat with a bright pop of juicy candy color.

Next up, this shade comes from Orly (a brand not as popular as others, but equally as good, and usually a bit cheaper too) the color is Haute Red. The last couple of years it has been my favorite red for summer. It definitely has a lot of orange in it while still remaining firmly in the red category.

As I mentioned in my lipstick post I credit Mad Men with bringing back lipstick, well I’m also not able to watch an episode of the show without admiring the perfect bright red nails sported by Betty Draper. I’ve found this color comes the closest to that classic bright red.

Lastly I’ve included a color from Revlon, it’s the only Revlon nail polish I own. It’s called Cherries in the Snow, and while it isn’t as bright a red as I typically like for summer I still categorize it as a summer color despite the name. It has a strong blue undertone, and is flattering on paler skin, so if you’re like me and choose to forgo a summer tan (because a tan on me is really just a sunburn) this shade will help keep you nice and cool this season. It’s a classic color, I like it because my mom and grandmother used to wear it too. It’s a family tradition!


Here’s a group shot.

Loki likes them too.

Now that my left hand is sporting a different red on each nail, I think it’s time to grab my nail polish remover and paint on a new shade.

Who else has recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

Happy solstice everyone!

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I need to talk about shampoo. Last time I had my haircut, I was scolded (though nicely, because my stylist is very sweet) for using Pantene shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been using Pantene off and on for a long time now. Recently, I’ve been using it because they sell massive bottles of it at Costco for really cheap, and I’m broke.

Pantene always gets written up in fashion mags as the best shampoo, it seems like it is advertised everywhere and that everyone uses it. So I was really surprised when after asking me what shampoo I’ve been using, my stylist squeezed my hair in her fingers and said “yup, I knew it was Pantene, I can feel it”. She assured me that I did not have to buy any of the expensive luxury salon products, but that I should be able to find inexpensive alternatives at the drugstore. She also suggested I use a clarifying shampoo to get out all the residue Pantene had apparently left behind.

Well, I did stop using my Pantene, and I even went out and spent money on some new fancy shampoos excited that maybe my hair would finally be tamed and less frizzy. I used my clarifying shampoo, and then my new expensive ones too, but despite my hair being softer, I can’t say that it made a huge difference, all of which led me to wonder, does shampoo really matter?

I trust my stylist, and I’m pretty sure she was correct that my hair was feeling waxy and weighed down, but I also have really thick hair that soaks up everything, so I think that’s why Pantene wasn’t working for me. She mentioned that Pantene isn’t so bad for thinner, less coarse hair. My real question is, what is the difference between an $8 bottle of shampoo and a $25 bottle? I’ve learned that it’s worth it to pay more for certain eye creams or hair styling products, but I’ve always thought that shampoo was mostly just shampoo, I’ve tried tons of them and never really noticed an obvious difference in what my hair looked like in the end.

My stylist recommended Sebastian Drench shampoo and conditioner, and I obligingly bought it. 

Did I expect a miraculous change? Of course. Did I get one? No. It’s ridiculous how excited we get over something so silly. I actually thought using this shampoo was going to completely change not just my hair, but my look, and my confidence all in just one washing. I don’t think I’ve ever found a product that was able to do all that for me, because it’s never that simple.

There are products that I love that I might even say I can’t live without, and I would be devastated to find any of them discontinued, but I would be lying to myself, and also not giving myself enough credit, if I really believed they were solely responsible for my confidence. The Sebastian shampoo is good, it smells nice, it’s a bit pricey at $14 for a 250 ml bottle and I haven’t decided if I would buy it again. Obviously being unimpressed by one shampoo didn’t stop me from continuing to look for a better one.

I tried going back to using Lush shampoo bars, which I really do love, sadly they get a little messy in my shower, but they’re a really great stand-by and smell amazing. If you haven’t tried them I totally recommend that you do, especially the Ultimate Shine Solid Shampoo Bar, $9.95 at Lush.com.

A few weeks ago I was psyched to find that Costco (are you starting to notice I’m obsessed with Costco?) was carrying a Frederick Fekkai glossing set. I had always wanted to try his shampoo, but at $25 each for shampoo and conditioner, it was always way too pricey. The Costco set has a bottle of each, plus a tube of glossing creme (which I already use and love) so I bought it. I used it. and I have to say, it was pretty good. My hair felt really soft and glossy. Unfortunately it made my hair (which is usually pretty dry) greasy after the second day. I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, so that was a little disappointing. It is a good product though, and I am contemplating going back to Costco and stocking up before they stop selling them, because I know I’ll never be able to bring myself to spend the full $50 to buy them again.

So now I’m back at square one, no idea what to wash my hair with, no idea if it even matters. I feel silly for even writing this post, but I do it in the hopes that I’m not the only one who frets over my shampoo. I want to have healthy hair, I love my hair, I’m willing to put time and (some) money into it. I just get sick of all the promises, all the excitement and then the let down when it always looks the same. Obviously if I had more confidence maybe I wouldn’t care so much, so I’ll be working on that too. I know that I’ll never stop looking for that magical shampoo though, the one that creates perfect, glossy, frizz-less waves, it might be as mythic as El Dorado, but my quest will never cease.

On a more fulfilling cosmetics note, my lovely soon-to-be sister-in-law Alison, got me an adorable little present. It’s mini bottles of the new summer Essie line, YAY! Un-like shampoo, I know that I can use these guys and see an obvious result!

From left to right, Knockout Pout, Pretty Edgy, Demure Vixen and Haute as Hello.

Thanks Alison! Can’t wait to try them all!

Ok, so I really want to hear what shampoo people use, seriously, let me know, I’m at a loss! Does anyone have one that they swear by? Suggestions, stories? Am I the only one who loves Costco? Let me know!

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A Visual Ode to Nail Polish

I think a lot of people have that one thing they can’t seem to get enough of. Maybe it’s black boots, or pens, or comic books, but I think we all have at least a little something like that. For me it’s nail polish (and to a certain extent ribbon) I’ve tried to kick it, but I never have. I’m starting to think I need to give some of it away, or start a swap or something. I have shades that are so similar, only I and the manufacturer can tell the difference, but I love each of them. I like testing them on my fingers, matching them to outfits, and just taking them out and looking at the little bottles. When I was in high school I went through a phase of painting hair clips with nail polish, I was making art! Actually in high school I did use nail polish in art pieces. See how versatile nail polish can be?

It all started for me because I was a nail biter, painting my nails gave me a reason to break the habit. It’s difficult for me to walk past a beauty supply store without buying a new shade now. I rarely go to the nail salon, but when I do I am always disappointed that their collection isn’t as diverse as my own. I mix up my own shades when I can’t find the color I want (sometimes it works out, most of the time it’s messy), and I am constantly looking for new and interesting brands and hues. I know it is a luxury, but there are more expensive things to collect, and I found a beauty supply store where Essie is $5.99 and OPI is $6.99, not too bad.

For me painting my nails is ritualistic, before I lost my job, every Sunday night I would sit down, wipe off the polish from the week before, and choose a new color for the new week. There is something cathartic about it for me. I really enjoy painting my nails, it gives me at least an hour to do nothing because I have to let them dry. No multi-tasking, no work, no worries, just watch some mindless TV or listen to music, it’s an excuse to relax. Now I don’t paint my nails on Sunday if I don’t want to, but I still paint them every week even if most of the time I’ll be working from home.

In preparation for this post I dumped out all my polish and counted it, a little scared of the result, the final count was 64 not including nail art pens or base/top coat. Is it bad that I expected it to be a lot more?

In order to share my collection with you, my fiance and I spent some time playing with nail polish in the backyard yesterday. It makes for a good evening, except for the getting eaten by mosquitoes part.

I had to stand on a ladder to get this shot, scary.

Then we had some fun with vegetation.

Buddha got involved, he loves nail polish too.

And our cat Loki, he was super pissed he couldn’t knock over those polishes, that’s usually how he rolls.

Flamingos!

Gnomes!

Isn’t nail polish so pretty?

How can you not like something that comes in tiny colorful bottles?

Love those reds.

Whoa, those polish birds are hungry!

If only nail polish did grow on tree stumps.

This one is my favorite, it’s like Anne Geddes, only with nail polish instead of a terrified baby.

If you want to know any of the nail polish colors, leave a comment and I’ll let you know! Doing this post made me realize I don’t have nearly enough blue nail polish, I will definitely have to get on that. I mean I only have 64 right? Totally room for more.

I’d love to hear if other people have something that they just can’t help collecting. Beauty product or otherwise, let me know!

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Beauty Bullseye: Summer cosmetics picks

So far I haven’t really posted about cosmetic products specifically, only about my love for them. So I thought my summer product picks would be a good place to start. I change-up my beauty routine in the warmer months, just like I have movies, music, and books that I only read, listen to, or watch, depending on the season, I also have certain products that I use during the summer exclusively (unless I choose to break my own rules which I do all the time).

Let’s start with a summer staple, the blotting paper. I have only recently re-discovered these guys after forgetting about them after high-school. Summer means sweat, which means shine. Sometimes shine looks amazing and dewy, and other times it  makes you look hot, and not in a good way, so these are a nice little solution, and also very affordable.

(Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets $6.00 for 50)

Sticking to the realm of fighting off sweat (accidental pun), here is one of my summer splurges, Lush dusting powder. Lush makes a variety of wonderful dusting powders, as well as other all-natural products, but this one might smell the best.  Dust it on after the shower and the clean, natural, scent of cocoa butter and vanilla will last all day, very much worth the price.

(Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder $11.95)

So, after you’ve gotten out of the shower and dusted yourself off with powder, you might want to moisturize that skin. I’m sure there are lots of very expensive, fancy, body moisturizers out there, but I have no money, so I like this one that i get at the drug store which smells great and lasts forever. It also does a very good job of keeping legs and body soft, while smelling lovely. Also, despite being a Johnson’s product it doesn’t smell like baby oil, more like strawberries.

(Johnson’s 24 Hour Lotion $5.99)

I have sensitive skin, so I can only use certain moisturizers on my face, my go-to brand is Clinique, because it’s gentle and hypoallergenic. My new favorite product is their Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer, which focuses on lightening brown spots from prior sun damage. I never listened to my mother when she told me to wear sunscreen when I was younger, so I was so happy to find this product which moisturizes, corrects skin discoloration, and has the added bonus of SPF 20 for sun protection.

(Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 20 $42.50)

Moving on to the issue of bronzer/self tanner, I have long given up pretending I am anything but pale, but in the process I have tried many bronzing products. I must say as far as self-tanner goes, I haven’t found any oh-my-gosh amazing product. Everything streaks, blotches, or both. Even the lightest of formulas leave me looking zebra-like and consequently more embarrassed to show my skin. I do keep one tanning product around and that is Clarins Self Tanning Gel, I don’t use much of it, but I’m sure those of you with darker skin than mine (i.e. everyone) could put this product to even better use. However, I do like to dab it on my face in the summer, it gives a nice, natural, glow without looking too orange.

(Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel, 4.4 oz. $32.50)

For Fall and winter I like a rosy cheek, but in the summer I like things a little bit peachy. My sister gave me this Coralista blush from Benefit because her skin is even more sensitive than mine, and the scent is also very strong. It didn’t bother my skin at all, and I actually love the golden peach color it leaves on my cheeks, it’s very summery, I also happen to like the smell, although it’s perfumy. It comes with a little brush, but it’s cheaply made and the hairs fall out, so I would recommend using this with a normal blush brush.

(Benefit CORALista Blush $28)

I am so sick of hearing how Chanel always comes up with the hottest nail colors of the season when everyone knows it’s OPI and Essie who come out with the same color months in advance at one-third of the price. This season Chanel has delivered Nouvelle Vague, which looks very similar to one of my favorite colors, Greenport, from Essie’s summer line last year, only with a bit more shimmer. I’m happy that greens and blues on nails have gained popularity, it’s just fun and beachy for summer.

(Essie nail Polish in Greenport, $8)

I spend half the summer battling with my hair, which like the Grinch’s heart, grows three sizes each day. While in the winter I might try to tame my waves occasionally, in the summer I just give up and embrace the wildness. I have found that Fekkai’s Tousled Wave Spray helps encourage the crazy waviness that summer humidity can bring, while still keeping frizz to a minimum and smelling great.

(Frederic Fekkai Coiff Oceanique Tousled Wave Spray $23)

I’ve saved the best for last. These new lip stains from Tarte are my winner for summer. I have looked for something like these for a while, and was very happy to find them. I love lipstick, but I’m not a lipstick person, mostly because I’m lazy and forget to reapply it. These new stains go on like a lipstick, look glossy, and then stay on like a stain. They’re also minty and cute. The stains go on bright, which I like, and can be layered for an even brighter look. They’re on the pricey side, and I feel guilty for having two of them, but for a really great product, I have no regrets. I’ve been trying to get my hands on the Enchanted color for a while, but it’s always sold out everywhere. I have the Amused (bright pink) and the Lust (bright red) and I love them both!

(Tarte Natural Lip Stain with LipSurgence™ Technology $23 each)

So there you have it, that’s what I’ll be slathering on myself this summer. What are you guys splurging (or not splurging) on this year? I would love to hear what products help you fight the frizz and humidity, and keep you happy during the summer months, so let me know!

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