Tag Archives: nail polish

Beauty Bullseye: Sephora gift-sets

I know I complained about Christmas coming too early last week, but I guess the holiday madness has gotten to me. This seems to happen every year actually, because I just can’t resist gift-sets, all those little samples wrapped up in some sort of cute and usually portable package, they’re just irresistible to me. Sephora is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for cute gifts-sets for friends, family, or maybe even yourself this holiday season.

Let’s take a look at some highlights currently available at Sephora.com, shall we?

Tarte The Jewelry Box  $52

Tarte comes out with a set like this every year, and while I’ve never had one myself (I already own more eyeshadow than any person ever should), I’ve bought them for friends who have loved them. Tarte is a pretty awesome brand, and this is a great value for the price, especially since you get a substantial amount of product (they’re basically full-sized). This year the set comes with a chain necklace that’s a nice bonus even if it’s not the most expensive looking piece of jewelry, but it’s still pretty cute (what can you expect for a throw in gift?).

Sephora by OPI Eighteen Piece Mini Nail Colour Set $48

I pretty much get excited just looking at little bottles of anything, but especially nail polish so I had to put this set on the list. The set contains 18 .12 oz bottles of polish from the Sephora by OPI collection, each one works out to under $3 which isn’t bad. The only downside is that you can’t choose which colors you get, so while there are some nice ones in there, there might also be a few that you hate and will never use. It’s the risk you run with any gift-set, but if you have a friend who is a big nail polish fan this is a wonderful gift—and any colors they don’t like, they can always swap with you!

Glitz & Glam Shimmer and Shine Makeup Deluxe Sampler $39

Sephora has a few of these deluxe samplers, they all feature a nice selection of best-selling products in small, but generous sample sizes. These are great if you want to try out some new products before you buy anything full-sized. This sampler makes an excellent holiday gift as it contains Sephora’s most glowy products, including a .17 oz Tarte cheekstain and Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil, perfect if you want to sparkle this season!

Too Faced Enchanted Glamourland $49


A friend of mine was recently raving about Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer, so naturally I have to feature this set which includes both eyeshadow and primer. If you don’t currently wear a primer under your shadow, it’s highly recommended, it will totally change not only the way your shadow looks, but how long it lasts on your lids. This set is cute for any girly-girl and features a bunch of the most popular Too-faced products including their Glamour Gloss in Pillow Talk which is one of the only lip glosses I wear (it smells nice and isn’t too sticky).

Sephora Makeup Palette To Go – BCA Edition $15

Isn’t this little pink palette just too cute? At $15 you should buy one for all the women in your life this Christmas, especially since Sephora is giving $1 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each palette sold. Great for travel, and perfect as a stocking stuffer—you can’t beat the price, 8 eyeshadows, 4 lip glosses, and a blush all for just 15 bucks!

Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster $48

If you know someone who has only recently entered the world of makeup, whether it be a teenage niece or a cosmetic curious friend, this is the perfect gift. I personally wouldn’t buy it if you already have a large makeup collection because there is a lot of stuff in there, but if you want to experiment and are looking for a variety—look no further.  Don’t expect high-caliber products, this set is definitely quantity over quality, but half the fun of makeup is playing with it anyway. With almost 100 shadows and 70 lip-glosses, you’re sure to have fun and find what colors suit you, that way you can invest in some higher quality products next year!

Deluxe Fragrance Sampler For Her $50

Last but not least, if you or someone you know is a fragrance fanatic, this is both a fun and practical gift. Sephora sells this kit for $50 which includes 12 perfume samples, the idea is that you try out each of them and then bring in the voucher included in the kit for a full size bottle of your favorite. As any perfume connoisseur knows, you can’t tell how a scent will interact with your body chemistry by spraying it on one of those paper strips in the store, you need to be able to wear it around for a couple of days before you decide if you really love it. I can’t be alone in having purchased a scent which I thought I loved and was later repulsed by, so I think this is a brilliant idea! The only downside is that last year they had a few different samplers to choose from and this year there is only one.

Anyone have other Sephora (or any cosmetic) gift-set recommendations? I’d love to hear them, got to get started on that Holiday shopping STAT!

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Birds Of A Feather…Fly Into Glass Surfaces

On Monday morning I was upset to find a dead bird on my doorstep. I don’t think anyone likes to see dead animals—or dead anything for that matter, so I was pretty sad about it. It seemed strange because my front door is in a breezeway where there isn’t a place to perch or fall from. Maybe it was the cold weather? I’ve heard plenty of stories about cats leaving birds on doorsteps as gifts, but I don’t think any of the neighborhood cats are particular enamored of me. It did occur to me for a moment that a female cat spotted one of my Tabbys in the window and fell in love, they can be pretty cute, but unfortunately my life is not a Disney movie.

I called my dad who was kind enough to bury the poor thing and I went back about my life. The next morning as I was walking past my front door I heard a thud and was pissed that someone had thrown something at my house, but it was too small to be a newspaper and not hard enough to be a rock. I ran over to the door and lo-and behold, another bird laying in the exact same spot! It was then I realized these birds were flying themselves into my door cartoon-style, only it wasn’t very funny in real life.

I called my dad once again because I’m a baby and like I said, dead animals are really upsetting. Thankfully once he arrived the little bird was twitching and after a few minutes popped up and started to dazedly blink, he wasn’t dead, just stunned. After doing some research it turns out this is quite a common thing and I should have know about it. No one knows for sure, but it seems that birds see the reflection of sky in the glass and charge forward without thinking twice sometimes inadvertently killing themselves. This is why those big glass buildings all over Manhattan are not only ugly, but also anti-bird, so we should totally get the Audubon society after them. You can help the birds help themselves by breaking up the surface of glass, which is why my front door is now decorated with William Morris wrapping paper—I hope the birds appreciate it. So far there haven’t been any more incidents.

I feel like there is an important metaphor in there somewhere about flying head first into things, but I’ll leave each of you to draw your own conclusions. It was just too weird not to blog about it, maybe you’re all familiar with this phenomena already and have your windows and doors covered in bird friendly wrappings, if so, I apologize for my ignorance!

In keeping with the bird theme, check out this cute new peacock feather patterned scarf that just arrived in the mail from modcloth:

It’s not warm but it’s adorable, comfy, and goes with everything! While we’re on the theme, I’m also loving this new nail polish, Cuckoo For This Color from OPI’s Swiss collection. It’s a sparkly greenish blue that looks bright in the sunlight but muted and dark in the shade:

And that’s all there is in bird news today folks! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the return of Beauty in the Movies!

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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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American Apparel: A Moral Dilemma

Years ago, all I knew about American Apparel was that it made nice blank T-shirts, and I had no qualms about it, I liked the product, and that was that. As AA went from being a wholesaler to a retailer, complete with controversial ad campaigns and accusations of sexual harassment, it became hard to separate the product from the scandals. So, what do you do when you like the products a store makes, but disagree with its marketing and think the CEO is a sexist jerk?

Dov Charney sounds like an über sleaze, he has an obsession with 70s pornography, likes doing inappropriate things in the presence of both his employees and interviewers, and is generally a creep who is too deluded to realize his actions are both offensive and unacceptable. If you want to know more specifics about Charney’s escapades, simply go to Jezebel, or any sites in the Gawker universe, and type in his name. There has also been lots of speculation on the state of American Apparel’s finances. They’ve been late on reporting their quarterly reports, stocks are plunging, and sales are down, Charney of course, denies most of this.

I can’t help but think that the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” isn’t exactly true when your horrible personality and numerous scandals keep a public from wanting to give you money, even when they like your products. On top of all that, I also have the issue that when I walk into American Apparel I instantly feel old, lame, and frumpy—and I’m 26. A store that purposely employs workers who look hip, (I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at the sales clerk in her over-sized eyeglasses, hugely baggy sweater and jeggings, it’s kinda old at this point, no?) rather than workers who offer assistance, pay attention to customers, and make you feel welcome, shouldn’t really be surprised when nobody wants to shop there.

The problem is, I like American Apparel—not Dov Charney, but some of the products his company makes. I mean, I’ not buying a $50 lace bodysuit anytime in the near future, but I could literally live in the tri-blend t-shirts and pullovers. I have a bunch of sundresses and skirts that are versatile and devoid of the ruffles and beads so often found on everything at stores like Antropologie. There is something nice about the simplicity of many AA products. Unfortunately Dov and his company have further alienated people by refusing to offer any of its women’s products in plus sizes despite offering up to 3XL in unisex and men’s styles. It’s truly upsetting to see a company that has some great products shoot itself in the foot over and over again. I haven’t even mentioned the nail polish, which comes in some really nice colors and costs only $6.

If you’re thinking, “is there anything redeeming about this company aside from soft t-shirts and nail polish?” check out this quote from the AA wikipedia page:

“American Apparel bases its manufacturing in an 800,000-square-foot factory in downtown Los Angeles, California. The company also owns and operates its own fabric dye house, garment dye house, and knitting facility, all based in Los Angeles. American Apparel has decided not to outsource its labor, paying factory workers an average of over $12 dollars an hour. Garment workers for similar American companies in China earn approximately 40 cents per hour. It claims to have the ‘highest earning apparel workers in the world’.”

I’m a huge advocate for promoting manufacturing in the US, I’m repeatedly appalled by how few things are produced in this country, and how much of what we buy is made by grossly underpaid and often abused factory workers in foreign countries. So, here is where the dilemma comes in, give your money to a sexist, skeezoid who gives his workers a fair wage and produces American made products —or give it to a company that has no problem outsourcing its labor and charging you ten times the manufacturing cost (and probably has some questionable CEOs too, only with better publicists and more common sense)? As someone who has lost work due to outsourcing, feels deeply passionate about resurrecting the production of American made goods, and also considers herself an avid feminist, it’s quite the conundrum.

Every time I go into American Apparel I get pissed off, mostly because I like a lot of their products and believe in there manufacturing policies, so I get real ticked when I go in there and feel like an uncool alien intruding on the conversations of the staff, and bombarded by trashy advertisements. But then, I go home and I put on my tri-blend pullover or my black pencil skirt and I’m both comfortable and proud to wear something made in the USA, so what’s a girl to do?

I know that American Apparel is a bit of a hot button issue, perhaps it’s your favorite place, or maybe you wouldn’t step foot in a store with those porn-inspired ads, either way, I’d love to hear what the rest of you think, and if anyone else has the same moral dilemma about shopping at AA.

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The Genius of Nail-Art

Holy awesome nail-art Batman! I spent hours scrolling through images yesterday after I discovered this website, perhaps you’ve seen it and heard all about Melissa and her mission, but if not, prepare to have your mind blown!

Melissa has a blog called The Daily Nail, last October she challenged herself to put her massive nail polish collection to use and do a different nail design everyday. But for real people, her designs are amazing, she’s an artist. She is also a graphic designer (just like me), so I consider us kindred spirits. She makes wedding cakes (she is a part-time culinary student), I paint wedding boxes, and we both love nail polish. Her collection makes mine look sad and pathetic, so you have to check it out, I’m pretty sure I drooled on my keyboard a little as I looked at it.

Here is a peek at some of my favorite designs from her blog, I love that she draws inspiration from everywhere, whether it be TV shows, the tops of tables at her bowling alley, politics, or dinner plates, I’m in total awe. I’m also inspired to get myself together and try some serious nail-art, I’ve only dabbled up until now, but next time I’m at the beauty supply store I’m getting some of those thin nail brushes and going to town!

These nails are sew cute:

Inspired by the television show Weeds:

Taking a political stand:

Pee-wee!!!

I love this one, designerd humor! It’s the adobe suite, looks like CS3:

Anyway, I don’t want to go stealing her thunder any more than I already have, so you should go check out her blog because there are tons more where these came from.

Last night I tried out some nail art of my own with  Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens, I’ve been painting stars on everything for my wedding so it seemed like an appropriate design. The base color is OPI Rumple’s Wiggin, It turned out alright, but I’ll have to keep practicing, definitely not up to ‘Daily Nail’ standards. The hard part is really doing your opposite hand, I don’t even want to show you what my right hand looks like right now—they’re more globs of smudgy-ness than they are stars.

More nail-art to come, I think I need to grow my nails longer so I have more surface area to paint though. If I spend so much time painting fine detail on paper maché boxes, I should be able to do this right? Speaking of my bridal boxes, here is one I just finished and sent out this week. When the woman asked if I could do a Chinese dragon and phoenix I was terrified—but I had to accept the challenge, I’m very proud of how it turned out!

Check it out on my etsy shop too!

The whole 365 day challenge thing makes me think how awesome it would be to do something like that, but I can’t think of what…food for thought.

Don’t forget to check back here for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow, this week I’m featuring an 80’s classic and one of my all-time favorites—Working Girl, so grab your shoulder pads and hairspray and meet me back here tomorrow!

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Beauty Peeves: Products That Disappoint

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about products I love, but even when you love a product you can have issues with it, and sometimes when you buy a new product, you kick yourself for wasting money on it. This post is devoted to my current beauty peeves, I’m sure I’ll accumulate many more along the way, but here are a few that have been bothering me recently.

First off is this OPI nail polish, Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow, it’s from last year’s Spain Collection. Since it’s a richer color I was waiting until the Fall weather blew in to try it out. I was hoping for a lovely deep emerald-green, maybe with a touch of shimmer. Well, let me tell you, I was pissed because this is about the 3rd color from OPI that is sold as being “a deep shade of ___” and is really just black with a slight tint of color. Maybe it’s my incredibly pale skin-tone, but I think not. Look at the color in this spread from Allure Magazine as compared with the color on my nails. Yes, it has a subtle green undertone, but nobody would look at it and think “green”, they would more likely look at it and think “black”. I’m still on the lookout for a shade that is more like the color in the picture. If you like black nails (or nearly black) then this color is perfect for you, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

A product I use pretty much every day is Urban Decay’s Potion Primer, it’s an awesome product and the best eyeshadow primer I’ve found, the major drawback of this product is the packaging. It’s a lovely bottle, reminiscent of genies and magic, but the problem is you can’t get half the primer out of the darn bottle. Due to the shape of the bottle and the long straight wand that comes with it, you loose all the primer on the sides and bottom of the package. Some might simply think they have used everything up and throw out the bottle, but that would be foolish, because as you can see by the tub next to it, there is a LOT more primer in there. The process of extracting the remainder of your potion primer involves a large knife, a cutting board, steady hands, and a make-up spatula. When there are YouTube videos with over 80,ooo views devoted to the stupidity of your packaging—perhaps it’s time for a change. There’s a chance Urban Decay has gotten wise to this problem, because they’re offering the product in a “professional size” which comes in a far more convenient vessel, unfortunately it only comes in the original nude shade at the moment.

(The cats don’t take kindly to me photographing in their window, they always have to be in the spotlight)

Next up is this Chanel eyeliner which I still regret spending $34 on. You see, I have a liquid liner obsession, I’ve been wearing it nearly everyday since high school so I always feel compelled to try new brands and formulas. This is the most expensive one I’ve ever purchased, and the most disappointing. It’s also a perfect example of why it’s so NOT worth it to spend extra cash on cosmetics from major fashion houses. While Chanel might make the most gorgeous, classic, beautiful garments on the planet, their make-up kinda sucks in my opinion, at least for the overblown price they charge for it. The problem is this; when you turn the bottom of the pen it releases liner onto the brush tip, seems simple enough, except that it distributes it in one big spurt of liquid which bubbles up on the brush, making equal distribution nearly impossible and application to your eyes very messy.

This is the best photo I could get of the liquid blob, it’s not pretty, and definitely not worth spending $34 of your hard-earned dollars on.

Last on my beauty peeves list are these bobby pins from Scunci. They look so cute in the package, you think “they’re just like regular bobby pins but with a little pizzazz” but what you really should be thinking is “dear god how could something so small be so painful?” I keep giving these pins another chance, but frankly—they suck. Each time I use them I have to very carefully extract them so as to avoid ripping all my hair out—and I still usually end up painfully losing a few strands. So, if you see these in the drugstore don’t be fooled by the fetching black and white palette, you will regret it.

Now that I’ve gotten myself all annoyed and regretful at having spent money on some of these products, I ask you to share your own beauty peeves. Have you ever bought something that looked great at the beauty counter or the drug store only to get it home and realize what a mistake it was? If so, do share it with us, warnings are just as valuable as recommendations!

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Beauty in the Movies: Whip It

I wasn’t expecting to like this movie as much as I did. I’ve had moments where I’ve found Drew Barrymore incredibly annoying, but recently I’ve been liking her. It could be that she is one of the few people in Hollywood who has the pull, and the desire, to make more films about women.

Whip It is the story of Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), a high school outcast in her Texas town of Bodeen. Her beauty pageant obsessed mother (Marcia Gay Harden) keeps Bliss on a tight leash and is mortified when Bliss seems less than thrilled about the world of pageants. Bliss and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) dream of escaping their “hick town” while working at local eatery—”The Oink Joint” where they wear aprons with pigs on them. After discovering a Roller Derby flier while shopping with her mom in Austin, Bliss and Pash trick their parents into letting them attend. By the end of the night Bliss has a new dream, and despite being only 17 (the league’s only requirement is that you be 21) she sneaks out to the auditions for the team and makes the cut.

Bliss joins the Hurl Scouts, the league’s underdog team who have never won a game. The team also includes Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Rosa Sparks (Eve), and Bloody Holly (Zoe Bell), their frustrated coach is played by Andrew Wilson (he’s the third Wilson Brother, as in Luke and Owen). As you can imagine there are some great sports montages and team bonding. There is also a boy, (Landon Pigg) and a great soundtrack. Juliette Lewis captains the league champions, and the Scouts biggest competition, the Holy Rollers, she is pitch perfect as the bitchy, mean, cool-girl you love to hate, but can’t actually hate at all because it’s Juliette Lewis and she’s awesome. There is also a charming performance by Daniel Stern, looking much changed from his Home Alone days, as Bliss’s dopey, but sweet dad.

What’s really freaking great about this movie is that it portrays female relationships with honesty, in a completely un-sappy way. Pash and Bliss have a relationship that reminded me of the ones I had with my close friends in high school. You do stupid things to each other, and then it hurts really bad, but you know you messed up—and then you cry a lot. In this film you understand the characters motivations, you care about them and they feel convincing too, which is a triumph because Ellen Page as a Rolly Derby girl could easily be hard to believe.

This film handles the mother daughter relationship in a way I haven’t seen in too many movies. In a lot of films there are moments where a mother and daughter who fail to see eye to eye have a moment of understanding, but you never really believe they love and care about each other in a profound way. Often, the mother especially, is a cardboard cut-out of an overbearing mother. In this film, you feel the pain on both ends of the conflict, and you see how a mother and daughter can be completely different, and yet need and love one another even when it’s hard to. This isn’t Gordon Bombay dealing with his daddy issues as it relates to the sports competition at hand (I had to get a Mighty Ducks reference in there). This isn’t just a sports movie, it’s also a coming of age story, and it’s about family, friends, and the search to find what you love.

There is also a pretty cool underwater make-out scene.

While my Fiancé and I were watching this movie he turned to me and said “You know, Drew Barrymore makes movies about girls having fun”, and as Cyndi Lauper taught us, that’s really all we want isn’t it? There are a lot of movies where women are trying to find love, or trying to be sexy, but there aren’t too many where they’re trying to find themselves and having a whole lot of fun while doing it. You can tell everyone involved in this movie had a good time, and it really shows through and gives it a great energy. I hope Drew Barrymore continues to make films like this, whether she produces them or directs them, because there is a sad lack of fun female movies available, and us girls really do just want to have fun don’t we?

Put this film on your Netflix queue people, it’s a good time—if you don’t like it, I give you full permission to send me angry e-mails.

Have a GREAT Labor day weekend everyone!! Have some fun, hang out with good people and eat some tasty food, and I’ll see you back here next week!

Tiger Tiger Tee
$5.99 – delias.com
Tiger t shirt »

Green stabstitch plain collar top
14 GBP – debenhams.com
Green tops »

(3-Pack) Full Woven Skirt
$114 – americanapparel.net
American Apparel skirts »

Star Pleat Skirt
$335 – lagarconne.com
Print skirt »

Burton Boot in Black
$250 – blackbirdballard.com
Wolverine boots »

Funky Bangle (Stars)
4.99 GBP – phixclothing.com
Bracelets »

CLOSED 100032 GREEN COTTON M.JACKET
249 GBP – farfetch.com


MAC ‘Greasepaint’ Stick
$18 – nordstrom.com



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