Friday, December 31, 2010

My favorite things for 2010

Ahhh, 2010. This year has had its ups and downs. In respect to this blog, this was the year I rediscovered makeup. I had worn make up here and there since I was a young teenager. As a young adult, I wore mainly Clinique cosmetics. When I got pregnant at 29, my face could no longer handle Clinique. I broke out like a 13 year old. I switched to Bare Escentuals and that worked for awhile, but then my skin just looked too oily. I never used moisturizer, never cared about wrinkles and basically wore some mattefying powder and maybe blush. I never wore eyeshadow as it would crease within an hour. Then, late last year I read about Urban Decay Primer Potion and everything changed. Many months later I did a search for mascara reviews and stumbled across Temptalia and Musings of a Muse and I was hooked for good. I now have tons of beauty blogs on my reader and finally took the plunge last month into blogging for myself.

So, my half a dozen readers, I bring you my favorite purchases of 2010. (beware, image heavy post following!)

I'll being with my biggest obsession - nail polishes. These are my favorites this year:

Chanel Paradoxal
Ahh, Chanel. Paradoxal was my first step into the world of luxury polish. I went to no less then 4 different stores to find it. I finally grabbed the last one at Neiman Marcus. (This was before they released more). It was love at first sight.

Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance (left) and Waking Up in Vegas (right)
Deborah Lippmann. These were my first two purchases. They went on so well and were such great colors, that I went on to buy all of the women in my family a different color for Christmas. I love how all the shades are inspired by song titles.

Dior Timeless Gold

Dior Timeless Gold and Czarina Gold. The brush, the formula, the colors, I loved everything about these polishes. The spring 2011 colors didn't strike my fancy, but I'll be keeping my eye out for the newest colors.

Orly Cosmic FX collection

The Orly Cosmic FX collection. The coolest, lovliest duochrome effect was just mesmerizing from the first time I saw them. I bought each color available at Ulta right then and there. I love these.

Butter London All Hail McQueen
Butter London. I scooped up 5 of these when I saw them at one of the Ultas I go to. I was surprised to see them stateside. Of the 5 that I bought, this was my favorite color.

Nfu-Oh holographic polishes and flakie polishes
Nfu-Oh holographics and flakies. I love the holos. Love, love, love them. Buying these was the first time I have bought nail polish online sight unseen - just from reading beauty blogs. I don't regret it.

China Glaze OMG collection
China Glaze OMG collection. Yes, I know these didn't come out this year, but after being exposed to holographic polishes, I had to have them. I found this group reasonably priced on eBay (I didn't love them enough to pay outlandish prices) and grabbed them. I am a sucker for holos.

Now we move into the cosmetics.

MAC Venomous Villians, L-R - Resort Life lipgelee, Bad Fairy nail lacquer, Darkly My Dear Blush, Wicked Ways lipglass
Venomous Villains collection from MAC. After frequenting the MAC store for a few weeks, my favorite sales associate (I think she's the manager) handed me an invite to the Venomous Villains launch and wouldn't take no for an answer. I went to the jam-packed store and hovered over the displays. I toyed with the idea of putting on the Evil Queen's cape and taking a picture, but just settled for buying some pieces instead. I still love this collection.

Boots Shine Control Lotion
I never moisturized my face. I always thought it was already oily, I didn't need to add any more. It took me nearly 35 years to discover that if I moisturize, my face won't produce as much oil. Hot diggety. Wandering through Target one day, I bought this Boots moisturizing lotion on a whim. I got lucky. I love it. It's light, non-greasy and actually works really well.

MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder
I always used pressed powder on my face, but it always looked so cakey. The SA at the MAC store recommended the translucent Prep + Prime powder, and I've been hooked. 

Maybelline The Falsies Volum'Express mascara in Very Black
After using DiorShow for a few months and having it streak down my face. I tried Maybelline's The Falsies Volum'Express, and now I will never pay more than $10 for mascara again. It works. Well.

Chanel Mat Lumiere foundation in Ivory

Oh, Chanel. The love affair is torrid. I love you, my skin loves you, my wallet hates you. The wallet loses.

Urban Decay Naked Palette
The most sought after palette this year. A few months back, my mom got pink eye. She was most distraught about throwing out all of her eye makeup. However, after a costly trip to Sephora, she showed me this palette. I knew I had to have it, but by that time, it was already sold out and being sold for big bucks on eBay. At the time my shadow collection was already pretty large, so I didn't sweat it much. Then one day in November, I walked into the Ulta that is right across the street from my office (dangerous, indeed) and lo and behold - there was one Naked Palette right there on the shelf. I grabbed it. Then a woman came up to me with a sad face asking me where I got it because she's been searching for months for it. Thinking I didn't NEED it, I gave it to her. She thanked me profusely. The next week I walked into the same Ulta and there was ANOTHER one on the shelf! I grabbed it, put it into my shopping bag and knew it had to be fate. It was mine. And you know what? This is the best palette. There isn't a dud color in the bunch. I've only had it a month and it is well used.

Smashbox O-Gloss Gold
I admit it, I got sucked into the whole "color change to your perfect peach shade!!" hype. It actually works, and it is a flattering gloss! I would buy it again!

MAC Viva Glam V
Very universally flattering lipcolor. And, as a bonus, all $14.50 of the purchase price goes towards charities dealing with HIV/AIDS. Looking good and helping out a good cause, could you ask for anything more?

Clarisonic Cleansing System
Ok, I didn't actually purchase this. It was a gift from my mom. It is great. It cleans my skin like no other. Very happy with this.

If you're still with me, wow, you have some patience! Thank you for reading and I hope 2011 treats all of you very, very well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Essie spotted at Walmart

I was walking through Walmart today looking for some slippers for me and checking out the Ben 10 toys for the spitfire. When I have to go into Walmart, I'll usually take a walk over to the cosmetics to see what's out. On a rear endcap, I spot a HUGE Essie display.

I knew Essie was was going to be sold at mass marketers come next year, so it looks like they launched a bit early.

I think it's a few weeks early.

They were retailing for $7.37 (why does Walmart always have strange prices?), and they look like they are the colors that Essie has been selling.

Merino Cool and Sew Psyched
Sorry for the blurry pics, it was from my iPhone.

The bottles are the same size and shape, with the embossed "essie" on the side, but these also have screen-printed  lettering on them as well. I didn't pick any up, because, well, I'm not a big fan of Essie's formula, and I can't imagine that it is better now that it is being sold at mass market outlets. Maybe I'll pick one up next time I'm there.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tom Ford Black Orchid

My mother and I are both beauty snobs. While we do venture into the cosmetics aisle at CVS and, quite often, buy and use what we find there, we love perusing the cosmetics counters at Nordstrom's, Neiman's, Macy's and Bloomies, not to mention Sephora. Now and again, we'll see something we know the other will like and purchase it. When I bought a Chanel Rouge Allure Laque (after reading the rave reviews by Christine of Temptalia), I knew my mom would love it, too, so I bought her one.

In return she bought me a Dior pink lipstick she knew I'd love. I volleyed back with a bottle of Chanel Paradoxal. Game, Set and Match came with this little bottle of Tom Ford nail polish she gave me last week.

This was part of the Black Orchid set, which includes a lip color, a nail color and solid perfume. My mother purchased the set at Neiman Marcus. She really loved the lipstick and perfume and she knew that with the depths of my nail polish addiction that I would love this. She was right.

Because this is part of a set, the polish looks like a mini. The polishes aren't released on their own just yet, so I'm not real sure what size they will be. This one is .24 fluid oz/7ml. However, this has to be one of the most luxurious nail lacquers I have ever had on my nails. As much as I have raved about Dior's polish, this one is even better. It was practically perfect in one smooth single coat, although I did use two for the swatch. The color is a very deep, vampy browned burgundy creme that dries very shiny, even without a topcoat. This one will definitely be gracing my nails often.

I have a feeling these polishes will be putting a large dent into my wallet when they are finally released. I will definitely be scooping up a few.

It's going to be a grey spring..

Very grey (gray? I never know which one is correct). Not in terms of weather or specific dreariness, but in polish colors.

I had some errands to run, so I of course made a bit of a side trip to Nordstrom's. I was really wanting Chanel's Black Pearl polish. At first I didn't, but I kept seeing blog posts and was eventually convinced I needed it. When I was going through my stash last night, I realized I had a dark grey polish that had a duochrome green and purple shimmer in it, and I wondered if it was close to Black Pearl. So I painted one nail and headed out to the store.

Right off I noticed that the color that I had in my stash (Borghese Stellare Notte, by the way) was not at all like Black Pearl. I also noticed that the spring lines were filled with grey nail polishes. Dior is releasing Gris Montaigne for Spring 2011 and Estee Lauder is releasing Wild Storm.  Gris Montaigne is a plain grey creme with the same great brush and fantastic formula. Wild Storm is a shimmery grey, also with a very nice formula. Unfortunately, neither one struck my fancy.

I'm very happy I bought Black Pearl, though.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day after Christmas haul

I have been waiting for Boxing Day. Today is the day that MAC released their two new collections, Cham-Pale and Stylishly Yours and I was chomping at the bit for Cham-Pale. I got up nice and early, left the dearest and the spitfire sleeping and snuck out the door. Not only did I want to get in and out of the mall quickly, but I wanted to get back home before the huge blizzard covered the Mid-Atlantic region in brain-zapping snow. I don't know about you, but I'm OK driving in the snow - but it seems that everyone else loses their minds when crystallized water falls from the heavens.

I got to the MAC store minutes after the doors opened. I've read on some boards how MAC associates are hit-or-miss at various free-standing stores, but I have to tell you, the ones at my local store are more hit then miss. I know they're turning on the charm for sales, but the ones that I have dealt with are lovely, chatty and helpful, but also leave you alone when they know you're browsing and scoping. It's a pleasure to go in and shop. And shop I did. I took some Christmas money and jumped right in.

I picked up the two things I have been jonesing for - the Fix+ Lavender and the lighter Chromagraphic pencil, and also Feline Kohl Power Eye Pencil, I Get No Kick Kohl Pencil and Straight To The Head Lipgelee. I also picked up Dark Diversion Fluidline from the Stylishly Yours collection. I also make a quick side trip to the Chanel counter at Nordstom's and picked up the Chanel Nakkar Glossimer after seeing it on Cafe Makeup.

Here it is all boxed up. Not a huge haul, but it was good enough to make me smile the rest of the day.

Top to Bottom: Feline, I Get No Kick, Chromagraphic pencil

Feline is just about the deepest darkest blackest black pencil around. It is deeper than Urban Decay 24/7 Zero pencil. MAC should just make this one permanent. I debated picking up two, but they seem to repromote it enough that by the time I run out, it should be coming around again soon. I Get No Kick is a shimmery champagne colored pencil. It will be great for brightening up my lower lash line when I'm looking a bit less then fully rested.
Straight To The Head

I like the lipgelees. I jumped on Resort Life when it came out with the Venomous Villains collection and I wear it often. I love the multi-dimensional shimmer that is packed into these glosses. They are thicker than the Lipglasses, and just as sticky, but I'm not bothered by sticky lip colors. And, of course, it has that distinctive sweet vanilla scent that all MAC lip products have. Straight To The Head is a bronze gloss with lots of shimmer. For a gloss, it's fairly opaque. This one will go into high rotation.

Dark Diversion Fluidline

This is the best burgundy/plum gel liner. Fluidline applies so smooth and is so pigmented, they are great additions to the eye repertoire.
Fix + Lavender
I have read the that Fix+ Lavender has a bit of a masculine scent, and I have to agree, but I enjoy the scent, and will get quite a bit of use out of this.

Chanel Glossimer 149 - Nakkar

After the MAC outing, I hovered around the Chanel counter drooling over the Spring 2011 collection. This little number just called to me. It is a rosy, strawberry pink with flecks of gold shimmer.
Look at those gold flecks - they drew me in

The shimmer called out to me, "Buy me, Buy me!". Who am I to argue with Chanel? This looks bright in the tube, but is quite flattering on. This would compliment many different skin tones.

It was a very productive morning. And after a few stops, I was home before noon and more importantly, before the impending doom of the Nor'easter that is blasting outside my window as I write this.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Dior mani

Only recently have I discovered luxury lacquer lines (say that three times fast). Oh, don't get me wrong, I knew Chanel and Dior made nail polishes, but I never really gave them a second thought. I distinctly remember the Chanel Vamp phenomenon in the mid-90's. I recall reading in Cosmo or Glamour how Vamp was THE it color that season and thinking "who in their right mind would pay THAT much for nail polish??". Ahh, the naivete of youth.

Nowadays I gladly shell out $21, $23, $25 for some kick-ass lacquers (Oh Paradoxal, my introduction into Chanel lacquer, I will always fondly remember you as my first). Case in point: Dior's two holiday 2010 colors - Tzarina Gold and Timeless Gold. Timeless Gold was easy enough to find, but I had to hit 3 stores before finding Tzarina Gold. And am I glad I did. I wore that lovely on Thanksgiving. Christmas gets Timeless Gold

This is one beautiful polish. Normally I eschew gold polishes, they just don't look right on my skin. This gold, however, is actually a cool gold, with a shimmer of silver in its foil-like finish. The formula is great, nearly opaque in one coat and not a bit of drag anywhere. And the brush, I adore the flat, rounded brush. My pinky fingernail needed one swipe for a near-perfect application. I will gladly spend $21 for this again and again.


I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and if you don't celebrate - have a fantastic Saturday! I will be braving the mall on Sunday to push my way into the MAC store for Cham-Pale. Happy Hauling.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Butter London - All Hail McQueen

For those not in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, the fair state of Delaware has no sales tax. This makes it a popular shopping destination for big-ticket items. Recently, the dearest and I bundled up our 5 year old spitfire of a boy and trekked down to Delaware to the only Best Buy that had a Christmas present we wanted in stock. The store is only about 25 minutes from our house, so it isn't too out of the way. When we pulled into the parking lot my eyes widened and my heart skipped a beat - There was an Ulta right next door!

I love Ulta. I have one two minutes from my office and a different one 15 minutes from my house. Sometimes I just wander around and touch all the polishes, palettes and body washes. And here was one I haven't been inside of in a long time. I hustle the dearest and the spitfire into Best Buy and duck into Ulta nextdoor. This store was HUGE! Not only was it huge, it was bustling. I stroll around, wide-eyed ad the massive displays, holding so much more than the two near me. And then, I see it.

The Butter London display. Those around me most likely heard my audible gasp. I can't tell you how many times I have had a series of Butter London polishes in some online cart and then abandoned it because I didn't want to buy it sight unseen. Well, no longer! I mulled over the display, walked away to see something else, wandered back, like I was trying to surreptitiously make eyes at the good-looking guy at a bar. Finally, I parked myself in front of the display and went to town. If the finances would let it, I would have bought the whole display. As my checking account does have a cap on it, I settled for three. I picked up Marrow, Artful Dodger and All Hail McQueen.

Marrow and Artful Dodger are colors that are right up my alley, but All Hail McQueen was a bit of a departure - color wise. However, it had a holographic finish to it. How could I pass it up?

 The color is a warm light beige with a holographic finish. It is a color dedicated to the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The lines aren't delineated like the Nfu-Ohs or the China Glaze holos, but there is a lovely flash of multicolored glimmer that I simply cannot resist. It is the polish form of chocolate - it just calls me.

The oddly shaped cap slides off like the Chanel and Dior lacquer caps, leaving a somewhat stubby cap to use. It wasn't too bad, though. The formula lives up to its name and applies like butter. I used two coats over Orly Bonder with a top coat of Seche Vite.


My manicure chipped, but not due to the polish. Either the tips peeled (which they are, unfortunately, wont to do) or the tips broke. Even with that the manicure still looked good three days later, due to the light, neutral color. It most definitely hides chips better than the dark colors I tend to wear.

The color is perfect for an office setting. It's neutral but with just a bit of bling. This is heading into high rotation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tronica - new holos from China Glaze!

My holo love runs deep. When I see a holographic polish, I must buy it. I'm wearing one right now (for a later post). I normally don't care if I own a similar color, I will still buy it.

Some of the better holos on the market are OMG and Kaleidoscope from China Glaze. The holographic glitter is so fine and creates a great multi-colored shimmer. I can't keep my eyes off my nails when I wear them. Love love love.

Come early next year, China Glaze is releasing a new, limited edition collection of holographic polishes called Tronica.

From the China Glaze site, there will be 12 new holographic colors:
  • Techno Teal – Turquoise Holographic
  • Virtual Violet – Violet Holographic
  • Electra Magnenta – Magenta Holographic
  • Gamer Glam – Purple Holographic
  • High Def -  Blue Holographic
  • Hologram -  Silver Holographic
  • Hyper Haute – Rasberry Holographic
  • 3D Fantasy – Peachy Pink Holographic
  • Digital Dawn – Dusty Rose Holographic
  • Cyberspace – Taupe Holographic
  • Mega Bite – Gold Holographic
  • Laser Lime – Lime Green Holographic
These will be available at BSG in January/February 2011 and March/April at Sally's Beauty Supply. I for one will be stalking Sally's waiting for this collection. And I will be buying up every single color. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Revlon nail polish - now with added scent!

Being low on shampoo, I headed over to my local Rite-Aid. After picking up what I needed, I found my way over to the cosmetics aisle to see what was new. There were two Revlon displays, one was the new quick-dry formula and the other was the scented formula. Scented? Doesn't nail polish already have a scent?

None of the quick dry colors grabbed me, but two of the scented ones caught my eye. Even better was that Rite-Aid was having a buy 1 get 1 50% off - score! I grabbed a frosty teal - Ocean Breeze and a shimmery violet - Not So Blueberry. I was curious as to what these smelled like.

First up - Ocean Breeze. This one is a bright frosty teal. The application was slightly streaky, and created some bald spots, but they were easy fixed with a second coat. The finish of the polish left brushstrokes, though.
These pictures are all two coats with no base or top coat.

Brushstrokes, galore!

It did actually have a scent once it dried. You could actually smell it mixed in with normal nail polish smell once you opened the bottle. It was a synthetic and sweet berry, like smelling a Life Saver. You really had to bring your fingers up to your nose and sniff. Frankly, that won't be happening much. I can see my co-workers looking at me sideways as they watch me smell my fingernails.

The second color I picked up was Not So Blueberry. I actually really liked this color. It was a violet color with lilac and teal shimmer suspended in it. Unfortunately, the color really didn't photograph well - it was coming out way too blue. This one smelled like a synthetic blueberry.

The color is more violet than this picture shows
This one is closer to the true color.
The teal shimmer really comes out in bright light. I think this one will make a good spring color. I still don't think that the polishes need added scent, but not a bad purchase.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deborah Lippmann - Don't Tell Mama

Every now and again you find a nail polish that is such a fun color that you can deal with the application problems that come with it. That's how I feel about Deborah Lippmann's Don't Tell Mama polish. This polish is a densely packed blue-green microshimmer packed into a black base. When it's in the shade, or a poorly lit room it looks like a dark, dark green, but in the sun or direct light - boy does the shimmer make itself known!

With a flash - look at the shimmer!
As much as I really love this color, the application wasn't without its problems. There was an annoying amount of drag on this one. I suggest doing as few brushstrokes as possible with a very light hand and wait until entirely dry in between coats. If you let it dry between coats you may only need two coats. I had to use a thicker third coat to cover bald spots from the first two coats. Once I did that, it looked fine - great, even.

The Deborah Lippmann site said that it's sold out, but check your local Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus, as that is where I purchased this one. It retails for $16.00. As long as you're careful with application, it's a great polish.
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