Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Couple Gorgeous Polishes by Nail Pattern Boldness

A while back, I was give a couple mini bottles of polish from Allison of Nail Pattern Boldness.

I was very intrigued to find out that unlike most indie polish makers or those dabbling with frankens (like myself), Allison formulates her own suspension base, isn't that remarkable? I hold those who make things from scratch in the highest esteem, much like those who make their food from scratch or artists that write their own lyrics.


Le Big Party. You know how clowns do that trick where they stuff themselves into a mini car? Imagine that trick gone horribly wrong, and somehow the car exploded. Captured here in liquid form, is basically essence of circus clown. I could stare all day at this polish and understand it fully. It wasn't until I photographed the bottle and zoomed in to like 300x did I realize how exceptional this is! Micro round and square matte glitters, in every color- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple in a clear base. It's also densely packed, one coat here over a blue base of Revlon Royal.


Seppuku (With a Frisbee). A gorgeous mixture of warm matte glitters in a red-orange base. If Le Big Party is liquid clown then this one is liquid sun, embodying pure warmth and energy. Worn here over Essie Lollipop, one coat.

Sigh. Such gorgeous polishes.

Check out the Nail Pattern Boldness on Facebook HERE and the Etsy store HERE. I myself will be stalking it, hoping to get my hands on a bottle of Flipping Out Hard. I need this eye searing neon matte glitter in my life!

Products featured were given to me as a gift. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Vacation Pics

I miss blogging when I'm on vacation, did you know that? This blog is like my weird internet baby. Like a Tamagotchi that might die if I don't feed it every day. I'm glad to be back! This weeks is going to be really hectic. Classes started today, and I have a wedding this week as well as adjusting to a new part time job! Crazy, right?

I spent the week hanging out with the beau, a trip up to Lake Superior and an outing to the Minnesota State Fair. Our other time was spent catching up on movies (saw Brave and re-watched The Dark Knight Rises) and cuddlin'.

Some of these pics were already posted to my Instagram (@MakeupWithdrawal) but here's what I did this last week:


Went to Betty's Pies in Two Harbors. It's this pie place on the side of the highway, that has like a dozen different kinds of pie each day. So, so good! The best thing to get is a pie shake. I had strawberry apple crunch while Morgan had five layer butterscotch cream. I love coming here any time I'm in the area!

Also in northern Minnesota, near Lake Superior is a state park called Gooseberry Falls. It's really lovely there, even if it's overcrowded with tourists. This is also where I unfortunately, had a flat tire. Luckily, my Jeep has a full sized spare and I was able to drive all the way back home. 

 We ended that perfect day skipping rocks into Lake Superior while the sun set. Not at the ducks, don't worry! Skipping rocks into waves is not exactly a successful endeavor. Morgan had a four streak (he claims that it was a five, but I never saw it) while I only had a three.


 Ah, the Minnesota State Fair- The Great Minnesota Get Together. Or, for me- the land of ten thousand fast food carts. Seriously. All the crazy fried foods you can think of. Alligator on a stick. Fried Twinkie on a stick. Fried pickle on a stick. Beer on a stick (not fried, thank goodness).


Morgan is cradling a smoked turkey leg. Cradling, literally. I've never seen a man so happy in his life.


My sister and I shared a flowering onion, cheese curds and the masterpiece you see above. A decadent red velvet funnel cake, complete with cream cheese icing and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Diabetes on a plate! I've had my dessert allowance for the next.... year.

We also stopped at the Leinenkugel's beer lodge to try some of their new Berry Lemon Shandy. They make my favorite summer drink- the delicious Summer Shandy but I wasn't a fan of the Berry Lemon Shandy. Too fruity, too sweet. Like fruit punch mixed with beer. 

 Some of the baby animals at the Miracle of Birth Center. Just born!

 Since I was too busy to change polish, I wore a manicure that I knew would last. Left is after five days of wear. I had more new nail growth than tip wear or chipping! I love, love butter London All Hail McQueen.

Hope you enjoyed the vacation spam!
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Swatches: Matte Neutrals


I can't tell you how many neutral shades I have in my various palettes or as single shadows. It's sort of ridiculous. I think it's the reason why I've never been tempted by things like the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. In an effort to cherish and use my collection, I swatched and photographed some of my favorite neutral mattes. Some of these are hard to see because they are so close to the color of my arm, but let me assure you that they are highly pigmented, or else they wouldn't have made it into my favorites!


From left to right: LORAC Beige, Milani Almondine, MAC Concrete

I've been literally using this LORAC shade as my highlight for years. It's a matte color that is about a shade lighter than my skin tone so it looks really natural. Milani Almondine is a tad darker than my skin tone, which makes it really great for creating a sutble nude sculpted eye. Fantastic quality, very pigmented. I've never finished a shadow, but I'm secretly freaking out because these Milani shadows were discontinued forever ago. MAC Concrete (all thoughts about the company aside) is a fantastic greige shadow that works so well for blending out darker shades.


From left to right: the left side of Dior Nude Look duo, Urban Decay Secret Service, Laura Mercier Fresco

I love the left side of Dior Nude Look, it's so soft and finely milled. Fantastic blending shade. Urban Decay Secret Service is a nice staple cocoa brown. Great for deepening creases. I had the hardest time learning to work with Laura Mercier Fresco, but once I figured out how to utilize it to its fullest potential- I use it all the time! I like using it as a crease shade paired with a sparkling champagne shade (like Stila Kitten).


Left and right: NARS Best Palette- featuring Bali shadow and Rock & Republic Fatalistic

These are my absolute holy grails. I use Bali every single day to define my brows- who would have thought that it would be such a perfect brow color? Rock & Republic Fatalistic is as black as a night in the countryside. I'd be lost without it!


Altogether now. From left to right: LORAC Beige, Milani Almondine, MAC Concrete, Dior Nude Look Duo left side, Urban Decay Secret Service, Laura Mercier Fresco, NARS Bali, Rock & Republic Fatalistic.

What about you? What are you favorite matte neutral shadows?

**This is an automated post, I'm away on vacation for a few days. It may take me a while to read and get back to any comments, thank you for your patience!**

Products featured were purchased by me or given to me as gifts for my own use. For additional information please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Nubar Wildfire


Looking back through my files, I found a bunch of polishes I bought a long time ago but forgot to share. Whoops! I have a pretty big backlog, so I'm going to try to work through some of them while I'm on vacation. This is Nubar Wildfire, aka possibly one of the most unique polishes I have ever seen. 

Nubar is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands with polishes that are really unusual. Wildlife has a spring green base, with firey orange- copper shimmer. The overall effect is a stunning and completely unique duochrome. 



This is one of the few polishes that I when I wear, I wear for a few days at a time so that I can gaze at the marvelous color combination. It's definitely a polish worth having! I bought mine on eBay with rewards dollars, but I remember it being around $7 originally. I don't really see many listings for it on eBay or Amazon any more, so if you ever see it- I recommend snatching it up!

**This is an automated post, I'm on vacation for a few days. It make take me a bit to read and respond to your comments, thank you for your patience!**

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tentacle Nails


I have a fascination with things that have tentacles. No, that's not an admission of having a tentacle fetish or anything. Actually, when I was googling pictures of red octopus tentacles for inspiration, some pretty uh... risque images popped up.

This is a first attempt, but I liked them so much that I really think I'll do another set. I have some ideas for subtle improvements.


I used: Essie Luxedo, Revlon Chili, OPI Mod Pink and Orly Dayglow. A little messy with the clean up I'm afraid. The pooling near my cuticles makes it look like they're bleeding. Ick.


**This is an automated post, I'm away for a few days on vacation! It may take a little while for me to read and respond to all your comments, thank you for your patience!**
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Nail Files from Mont Bleu


Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out some nails files from Mont Bleu. I was really excited for the because I have this weird obsession with glass nail files. I've tried a lot of them- the OPI one, the Essie one, the Nail Tek XL, some no name ones and the ASP one from Sally Beauty Supply. I'm very happy to report that the ones carried from Mont Bleu are of very good quality!

I was sent two files to review. One has a built in hard case while the other one is a mini, with decorative  Swarovski crystal elements. These are true glass files (as opposed to the fakes ones out there, like the All Seasons Pro one sold at Sally Beauty Supply, which merely has grit adhered to the surface of the glass which WILL fall off after a few uses) and the quality speaks for itself. They are quite sturdy (unlike the OPI one which broke before I finished filing my first nail) and of good proportions. The etched sides are very very fine, making for a very smooth finish on my nail edges.

 I love the concept of a file built into a hard case. I needed this in my life, I really did. I've lost and broken enough files  to know that they need protection from me. I've kept this one in my purse for the last few weeks and it has held up. Not only that, but my nails are in better condition than ever- because now I have a nail file easily accessible everywhere I go. I can remedy nail snags on the go.

Based on the two files I was sent, I'd say that Mont Bleu has some really great products. I think the files decorated with crystals would make really nice presents for anyone who like a bit of sparkle in their life and likes to take care of their hands. Mont Bleu has so many different designs, it's hard to pick just one! The prices also seem very reasonable, so I see no reason why you have to limit yourself to just one, hah! Click here to check out their website. Even better, you can use the "BLOG" for 20% off your order.


Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 
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Monday, August 20, 2012

A Guide to Buying Polishes in the United States


from memegenerator, based on Hyperbole and a Half's work
Recently, I was chatting someone about buying polishes in the United States and it occurred to me that if you're an international visitor, you might not be familiar with what stores carry what polish. So I thought I'd put together a list of stores and what they carry as well as some additional thoughts.

Note: some chains of stores vary their selections of brands by region. I am not very familiar with the stores in the south or Pacific Northwest, so if you fantastic readers can help contribute- I'd be very grateful! As awesome as mom'n'pop stores are or independent beauty supply stores,  this list is for large, region chain stores only so that it can help those who are over here on vacation buy their polish goods!

Also, this list is for non-sale items only. If you have a coupon or there are great sales, all bets are off as to where the cheapest products are! This is just more of a guideline.

Red = cheapest place to buy that brand
Green = only place to buy that brand

UPDATE: As soon as I get a chance I'll be reworking this list. (As soon as I get back from vacation!)

Bartell Drugs,
Sinful Colors, Color Club (occasionally), Cosmetic Arts, Revlon, Maybelline, Wet 'n Wild, L'oreal, Sally Hansen

CVS
Nicole by OPI (Kardashian CVS Exclusives Collection of Nicole by OPI), limited Orly, limited OPI, limited Nailtiques, Seche  (some locations), Poshe (some locations), Wet'n'Wild, Milani, Essie, Sally Hansen, Rimmel, Spoiled (by Wet'n'Wild)

Dollar Tree
Sally Hansen (older selection, random), LA Color (limited, depends on location), NYC (older stock, depends on location)

Duane Reade
Essie,

Five Below
Funky Fingers, Sally Hansen (limited, random selection), ArtClub, occasionally Nicole by OPI (limited), occasionally LA Girl

Fred Meyer
Essence, Wet'n'Wild, Essie, OPI, Sinful Colors,Maybelline, Sally Hansen, Revlon, L'oreal

Kmart
Milani, Jordana, Wet'n'Wild, Revlon, Maybelline, L'oreal, Sally Hansen

Marshalls/TJMaxx
Occasional sightings of LA Girl sets, Essie, Jessica sets, Nicole by OPI sets, OPI sets

Rite Aid
Sinful Colors, limited Color Club, Wet'n'Wild, limited LA Color, limited LA Girl, Sally Hansen, L'oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, NYC, Nicole by OPI (including Kardashian colors, but not the CVS exclusives), Petites, CQ, Chameleon, Jesse's Girl 

Ross
Cosmetic Arts (a division of Forsythe. Limited quantity, depends on location), Color Club sets

Sally Beauty Supply
Finger Paints, Gelous (by American Classics), Nina Ultra Pro, China Glaze, Orly, Sally Girl, Seche, Poshe, limited Color Club,

Sears
Maybelline, Revlon, L'oreal, Sally Hansen, Nicole by OPI,

Sephora
Julep, SpaRitual, Sephora by OPI, Sephora house brand, Dior, Illamasqua (not all locations), butter London, Nails Inc

Target
Sinful Colors, L'oreal, Revlon, Sally Hansen, Maybelline (Maybelline Color Show are cheaper here than at CVS or Walgreens but sometimes limited stock), Essie, OPI (limited), NYC, Nicole by OPI (Target exclusives), Rimmel

Ulta
Layla, China Glaze, Zoya, Orly, Piggy Polish, OPI, Essie, Essence, Maybelline, Wet'n'Wild, L'oreal, LA Splash (some locations), butter London

Walgreens
Sinful Colors, Maybelline, L'oreal, Sally Hansen, Nicole by OPI, Borghese, Revlon, Essie, Wet'n'Wild, limited Nabi, limited Del Sol at some locations

Walmart
Pure Ice, Sally Hansen, Nicole by OPI, Essie, Revlon, L'oreal, Maybelline, Wet'n'Wild, Bon bons, Hard Candy, Sinful Colors (some locations)

Wegmans
Wet'n'Wild, Sally Hansen, limited OPI, limited Sinful Colors, L'oreal, Maybelline, Revlon

Whole Foods
Zoya (core)- limited stores, other stores have smaller displays


Once again, things really vary by region. I also want to add that certain shades can be exclusive to certain stores- for instance Target doesn't carry all the Sinful Colors shades (like UFO which can be found at Rite Aid).

This is a work in progress! I would really appreciate your help in refining it- leave me a comment about what is missing! When I get a chance, I'll put things in alphabetical order and what not. Also, when I get a chance, I'll start to add middle and high end polish. Thanks!
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Essence Colour & Go Polishes- Swatches & Review


Recently, Essence underwent some major changes. One of the things that they completely redid were the itty bitty little Colour & Go polish line. I absolutely loved these tiny little $.99 bottles of polish so when I saw the new Essence display at Ulta, I just had to buy some of the new ones to make sure that the quality was unchanged. I did it for the blog, ok? Taking one for the team.

I picked four shades- Gorgeous Bling Bling, Grey-T to Be Here, Walk on the Wild Side and Chic Reloaded.



Gorgeous Bling Bling. Weird name, sexy polish. Terracotta orange, with irregular gold flakes. Three coats.




Grey-T to Be Here. A putty grey creme with fabulous chunky raspberry-orange sparkle.




Walk on the Wild Side. An evergreen with chunky green-teal chunky sparkle.




Chic Reloaded. A vampy dark green/magenta duochrome. It's basically what I wanted Borghese Stellar Notte to be.

These new bottles are 8ml,  up from 5ml. They also cost twice as much as they did before. I like the curvy new bottle shape, the brush is easy to hold. However, the new brush is round and floppy, a little like the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure line or the Insta Dri line. I sort of like it, but I know not many others do.

I'm very happy with Essence. I love the unusual shades in the new display and I can guarantee you that I'll be picking up more of these new Colour & Go polishes in the future. Hopefully my crappy Ulta will get more shades!

Have you seen the new Essence stuff yet? Did you pick anything up?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: Soho London/New York Beauty Sponge


I have an overly verbose review today, I hope you don't mind. It's my Soho London/New York (what's with  multiple cities?) Beauty Sponge that I picked up when it was on sale at Walgreens a while back. I've really enjoyed using it the last few months and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you.

First, the elephant in the room. Hey, this sponge looks awfully like another pink sponge that is well loved in the beauty community! Yeah, it's like a knock off of the Beautyblender. Just like that famous pink sponge, it should be used damp. It expands quite a bit when wet, I use a towel to squeeze out the excess water.

I use the "bouncing" method along with my fingers or brush to apply my foundation. I found that using just the sponge was wasting a lot of my foundation, I'd have to use twice the amount of foundation because it was soaking it up. With roughly one pump of foundation, I use my fingers/ brush to apply the first 3/4 of my foundation using small down and outward strokes from the center of my face. With the remaining portion of foundation, I pick it up with the rounded end of the Beauty Sponge and bounce it around my skin to create a really nice as-flawless-as-my-skin-can-possibly-look finish. Another perk is that the bouncing sort of creates layers, and it's really helped my makeup last longer in the summer heat.

Cheek, no makeup. Been breaking out lately because I will not leave cheese alone. Note the scarring and redness. 

Same cheek with foundation applied with a flat top brush, stipple method.

Finally, the cheek with some more foundation bounced on top. My skin looks as good as it's ever going to. With my addiction to dairy, that is.

Even if you've already found the "perfect" foundation brush, I still say that you give this sponge a try. It doesn't have to be one or the other! I've found that when I need heavier coverage, I can stipple using a flat top (say like the e.l.f. flat top brush, the Shisiedo Perfect Foundation brush, etc) brush, but use the Beauty Sponge to finish the application for a really great looking finish. This sponge compliments instead of competing with my exisiting brushes.

Now, regarding cleaning this thing- be careful! The first few times I used this sponge, I was obessed with getting it squeeky clean and tore the surface a little in my efforts to scrub all the foundation out of it. Now I know that I need to be gentle- completely saturating with water, a few squirts of liquid soap and some light squeezing. I usually have to repeat a few times, but cleaning it slowly is the key to making it last. However, I don't seem to be able to get 100% of the foundation stains out, but I'm ok with a little bit of staining. I've had this sponge for two months now, and other than the damage that I did in the first week, it hasn't worn down much.

Now I don't have the original, authentic Beautyblender so I can't compare the two. However, do I feel like I've achieved more than adequate results, given that my sponge was $6(normally $7.99 I believe, but it was on sale). According to the Beautyblender's instructions, it should be replaced every three months. $20 every three months? For that much, I could replace my Soho Beauty Sponge every single month, not that it needs it. The funny thing is that reading through the reviews and questions on Sephora for the Beautyblender, it comes across having the exact same set of concerns ("I washed it too hard, it's starting to rip", "it's hard to get all of the foundation out of the sponge").

I'll go ahead and slap my seal of approval on this sponge. It's a good value and applies foundation exceedingly well. Throw in a sale or some Walgreens rewards dollars, and it becomes an even better deal, next to the $20 Beautyblender.  Yeah, it's a blatant knock off. But unlike a pair of sketchy "Loobutins" that one might find for sale in an darkened alley, there's no shame in saving some dough with this cheaper sponge because it works well. I don't have any desire to try the real thing, I'm very satisfied with this more frugal alternative (money saved for said pair of Louboutins, perhaps? I want the classic 120mm Pigalles. Not that you asked or anything). In short, I highly recommend it!

One last thing- there's two versions of this Soho Beauty Sponge out there. One that looks like a fat rain drop like mine, while the other one (newer one, I think) has two pointed ends. I'm not sure how they differ, but my experience is based on the one with a rounded side.

Have you tried any of these makeup sponges? Like the Sonia Kashuk, this Soho one or the original Beautyblender? How did you like it?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some NYX Girls Spam

A long time ago (I think around Christmas?) I ordered some NYX Girls polishes from eBay. If I recall correctly, it was like $16 for six polishes including shipping. Something like that.

Spam commencing.


NYX Girls Hunter Green. The name really says it all. Hunter green creme, almost the exact shade as my beloved OCC Tattoo. Naturally since I love Tattoo, I love this one.



NYX Girls Golden Lavender. When I first pulled this out of the box, I went "Crap. I bought a dupe of Pure Ice Purple Reign." Not so! This is more sheer than Purple Reign, lending it a lighter, more delicate look.



NYX Girls Emerald Forest. A blue based green sheer base packed with chunky green and gold sparkle. It's really beautiful, photographs more sheer than it actually is.



NYX Girls Frizz Spots. A black jelly with micro and hex holographic glitter. I think it looks better over black (like in my Darth Vader manicure here) than it does by itself.



NYX Girls Gold Glitter. Shredded metallic gold glitter in a clear base. Worn here over Golden Lavender. Very nice, doesn't dry rough.



NYX Enchanted Forest. Not to be confused with Emerald Forest. Why such similar names? Various sizes of holographic hex glitter in a sheer tinted green base. I think this one is a crowd favorite. Forever 21 has a dupe of this, in their Love & Beauty polish line. Worn here over Hunter Green.

Nice polishes, huge array of colors and glitters. They're pretty cheap too, if you buy them in lots from eBay sellers that let you pick the shades. The only thing that bugs me is that NYX has like three or four lines of polishes, some with repeated names. That's not confusing as heck or anything.

Have any favorite NYX Girls polishes?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. for additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 
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