Thursday, June 30, 2011

Megadeal: CinnamonCandies Cosmetics on Heartsy!

A relatively new addition to the indie makeup world, CinnamonCandies is a company run by Candace, whose blog I follow and whose Facebook page I Liked. And when she reached a certain number of Facebook fans, she did a random drawing for one fan to win 5 colors from her makeup line ... and guess who won?*

Well, if you couldn't tell from the above backstory, I received all of these items for free. I was not asked or expected to blog about them, and all opinions expressed herein are my own. Etc. ETA: Here are two looks done with my colors!

Snowbourn inner corner, Eli on lid (MUCH more vibrant IRL), Party Tree in crease, all 3 as lower liner
Rosie inner corner, Wine and Song outer/ crease
I was going to wait and post this once I had some EOTD to include, but CinnamonCandies is featured on Heartsy right now, so I wanted to get these swatches up! The deal is $7 for an $18 credit to the CinnamonCandies Artfire shop, or a $28 credit if you're a Heartsy VIP. Full-sized eyeshadows are $5 each, and she also has some bath products, glitter and cake liners, pressed shadows, a foiling serum, and samples for sale.

The full-size jars come heat-sealed and with a tabbed sifter seal to prevent leakage; my samples came in clamshell jars with skinny tape holding them closed, but I asked Candace about this and apparently she will be switching to baggies for eyeshadow samples. Neither the full-sized jars nor the samples had ingredients listed on the labels, just the shop and color names. Ingredients are listed in the shop, along with whether or not the color is vegan and/ or lip safe.

I was thrilled to see how much product was in each sample - so generous! Then I was even more thrilled once I swatched them. Here are the 5 colors I got over Pixie Epoxy:

Top: no flash - bottom: flash
They all look beautiful in person. Rosie is a mauve-y pink and Snowbourn is an icy pastel blue with silvery-blue glitter. Party Tree is a bit more gray/ blue than I'd expected it to be but packed with multi-colored sparkle, Eli is a million times more complex and gorgeous than I'd hoped, and Wine and Song is buttery-soft with a metallic finish - love!

Here are the same colors rubbed onto bare skin with my finger:

Top: no flash - bottom: flash
Obviously they are not as opaque without the primer, especially Party Tree. Whatever ingredient makes Wine and Song look metallic also makes it more opaque, even without a primer, and I was pleasantly surprised that the lightest color, Snowbourn, showed up so well on my naked skin!

Overall, I'm not going to lie. I do have a favorite, and it's Eli. It's the prettiest blued green with gold sparkle, like a mermaid's tail, and I love it. But I also really like all four of the other colors I got, and I'm thinking Wine and Song could make a great lip color as well!

So if you're interested, go take a look around the shop at the other colors available - all of the listings have swatches - and maybe grab that Heartsy deal while you still can!

*No, I don't know how or why I win so many giveaways. It's my luck apparently, which does not extend to lottery tickets or trips abroad :/

Cheap Tip: Divide & Conquer

Cheesy, I know. Except that it's true. When you divide something awesome ... you win big! When you divide something un-awesome ... you still kind of win!

Behold. Chanel Peridot from the Fall 2011 collection. 

Gold foil/ deep teal/ apple green/ MAGIC.
"But it's $25 for one tiny little bottle! This is supposed to be a blog about cheap stuff!" Bahahahaha, yes ... yes .... I got my Peridot at 50% off. Which is why the bottle is only 50% full.

Think about it - if you're a nail polish addict, how often do you actually use up an entire bottle of polish (aside from your base or top coat, anyway)? If you've got a massive eyeshadow collection, are you really going to use up a whole 5g jar full of loose shadow?

If you've got friends with similar interests (read: addictions), dividing product amongst yourselves is such a fabulous way to get more for less, like a beauty buffet with bits of gorgeous things to choose from. For example, if your awesome internet friends are placing a massive Sugarpill order and all you wanted was a bit of Paperdoll, you can get it for $2.40 instead of buying a whole jar for $12 + shipping! That's not a random example, if you couldn't tell. I am actually going to get 1/5 of a jar of Paperdoll, which will still be way more than I need, for $2.40 :)

And if your favorite GossipCat also has an August birthday, loves your mutual birthstone Peridot, and thinks the new Chanel polish looks un-frickin-believable ... you just might get lucky enough to have half a bottle to call your own :)

Swatch spam!

Blue-green ...

Gold foil!
Oh, also, I applied just one thin layer of Peridot over a base coat of Catrice Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! to a.) bring out the blue in the duochrome and b.) make my Peridot last even longer :)

ETA: The only polish I've seen that semi-resembles Peridot is CND Okie Dokie Artichokie and it doesn't really come close!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BB&B Bargains

I so did not realize that Bed Bath & Beyond has a makeup section - and a fairly large one, too! I wandered around there in a daze tonight, eagerly scanning the Sinful Colors display (no LE collections, boo), Revlon lipstick section (Colorburst lipsticks are only $6.99 there!), and best of all ... the clearance bins!

And in honor of Pink Wednesday, the bargain I brought home is pink ... ish. Maybe a darker, berry pink, but it's definitely not red!

Can you see the silver shimmer running through it?
Orly Razzle is my first ever Orly polish, and I have no idea what to expect from the formula, but look, what a gorgeous color! How could it be marked down 50% and sitting there all unloved?! Crazy.

Plus, they had Seche Vite for about $2 less than the normal retail price, and I happened to need some ... I have used up my old bottle completely after adding some Restore to thin it out.

But Razzle will not be my first manicure with the new bottle of SV. Oh no. Tonight, I have a date with Chanel Peridot. That's right, the cheap chick is the overjoyed owner of fall's most unique duochrome designer nail polish - I'll tell you more about it, with pics, tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rave: Wet n Wild Juicy SPF 15 lip balms

I could swear someone in my blogroll posted something about finding Vitamin Water lip balms at Target recently ... if it was you, please let me know so I can link you! I can't find it anywhere, derp ... anyway, I got all excited because apparently these are flavored like the Vitamin Waters and have SPF 20, which is GREAT for a lip balm! Soon after that, though, I saw on Nouveau Cheap that CVS had started stocking Wet n Wild Juicy lip balms with an SPF of 15, and I happened to find a few at my local CVS. So I went for those instead!

I got the only two left in the display, one each in Cherry and Raspberry. It's funny, apparently these aren't meant to be released until mid-July, yet they're already sold out here! Or maybe they only got a few to build the new display. Or something. Anyway, I grabbed them!

I couldn't be happier with my purchase. First of all, these balms are BIG. They're a bit taller and about three times fatter than a standard lip balm (I'm so scientific with my descriptions, aren't I), and contain 0.26oz compared to the standard 0.15oz per tube.

Secondly, they are very pretty. I love that Cherry leans a bit orange, which we all know is super trendy right now, while Raspberry is more of a purple-toned fuchsia. Pigmentation is great for a lip balm, too - for those swatches, I swiped them back and forth a few times, like you would when applying lip balm, and that's how much color you get!

And the big thing: they taste good!* I have Chapstick's SPF version and never ever use it, because of the horrible, bitter taste which inevitably sneaks into my mouth and never goes away. These taste like a fruity lip balm should, no sunscreen taste (or scent) at all. Reviews of the Vitamin Water balms mention the bad taste of sunscreen, so I'm really glad I got these instead.

And finally, the cost, as one would expect from Wet n Wild, is only $2.99 per balm ... a bit more than regular Chapstick, but with more product, and cheaper than my favorite indie lip balms!

So my point .... please protect your lips from the sun this summer! Now that there are some tasty SPF balms available, you have no excuse not to :)

*For a drugstore lip balm, especially one with SPF, that is. The taste and scent is pretty artificial, as you would expect. They do not taste or smell anywhere near as good as OrangeThyme lip balms, but then again, nothing does ...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't miss this NARS deal!

There's still time! You, too, could be the proud owner of a free mini NARS Orgasm Illuminator, for as little as one payment of $6 (plus tax if you live in California)! /end infomercial

My first NARS haul in ... oh ... okay, I did get a tiny bit of NARS around Christmastime. But before that it had been years, YEARS I tell you!

As a loyal reader of Temptalia, THE ultimate beauty blog for masochists on a budget or very happy rich makeup lovers, I saw this post just a few hours after it was published. If you don't feel like going to the link, I will C&P the main point for you: "Get a free Mini Orgasm Illuminator + free shipping with ANY purchase with code TEMPTALIA, expires 7/5."

Any purchase ... no matter how small! So of course, I went to investigate and sure enough, it let me check out using that code, with free shipping, with the cheapest item they had on the website (the pencil sharpener)! If that hadn't worked, I might have actually broken down and finally bought one of the incredibly beautiful Velvet Matte or Gloss lip pencils ... "luckily" ... I didn't have to ...

My order came pretty quickly, in a massive box (compared to the size of my stuff!) with some NARS brochures and an invoice. No other freebies, but that's okay because I FINALLY GOT MY HANDS ON THE ORGASM ILLUMINATOR! I have been seeing it all over the interwebz and wanting it more and more, especially once I saw that GlossyBox subscribers (UK only) received a full-sized tube of it in their first month's box ...

Size comparison to standard lip balm tube
As you can see, this is not the full size. It's pretty tiny, actually. But a very little bit goes a very long way!   
The amount pictured below is way too much to use at once - the blended-out part, which covers most of my hand, was done using only the tiniest little bit of that blob (and I did scrape the blob back into the tube as best I could after taking the pictures :)

Left: no flash - right: flash
 Though the product itself looks the same peachy color as the infamous Orgasm blush, once blended, you don't see much color. It's very sheer and very sparkly. Mostly it just looks glowy, but on one of the days I tried to use it in place of blush, I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror in the California sunshine and literally gasped out loud in horror, because the glittery gold flecks were emphasizing my pores so horribly and making me look like I'd doused myself in glitter. So ... just don't use it as blush, I'd say. 

But as a highlighter, combined with tinted moisturizer and a rosy cream blush, it is perfect for hot summer days. It really does make you look like a bronzed beach beauty, especially if you have more color than I do - and sorry, I would do a before and after FOTD to show its effect, but I can't right now as a certain product has made my skin go insane. Not this product. A different one, which I will be publicly condemning very soon.

So go! Go, go to the NARS website (not the Sephora website!) and place an order for whatever you want, or just the pencil sharpener, and bask in the joy of finally owning the Orgasm illuminator!

PS: It seems like a really nice quality pencil sharpener, but I don't use pencil liners at all. Would it be uncool of me to include in a ... ahem ... possible future giveaway? What do you guys think? Definitely let me know if that would offend you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I couldn't have done it without ...

... internet access!

I am so bad at remembering to post about these! Here are the awards some awesome people have passed along to me lately:

BeauTiNique was given the Stylish Blogger Award and I am one of the bloggers to whom she chose to pass it along - thanks, hon!

I'm Not Skinny, So What? posted about several awards and told some of us to pick and choose which ones we wanted for ourselves! Heh. I picked the One Lovely Blog Award since it was the only one I hadn't already gotten.

General award rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award(s) and link back to them on your blog.
2. Tell everyone 7 things about yourself (per award).
3. Tag more bloggers for the award(s).
4. Contact these bloggers to let them know they've been tagged.

So here goes. Fourteen things about me, in no particular order:

1. I love Antiques Roadshow. I watch it online (I wish I could watch the BBC version!) and generally fall asleep, or into a bit of a trance, during each episode. I like to think I'm soaking up antiques knowledge in my dreams through osmosis :)

2. I can only eat little bits of chocolate at a time! I get sick of it really, really quickly and don't even crave it that often. Weird, I know.

3. But not as weird as my cousin, who does not like chocolate at all. Really. She wants to like it, but she just doesn't. But evidently Oreos don't count! ETA: Oops, that's not "about me," oh well

4. I only ever apply lotion to areas other than my hands (and facial moisturizer) if I've shaved my legs. I'm really lazy about moisturizing! My hands will get really dry though, so I do use a lot of hand lotion.

5. Sorry to TMI you out, but I also only shave my legs if they're going to be seen - so in the winter, when I wear jeans daily, I don't bother! Of course, my manfriend lives 5500 miles away from me, otherwise I might change my lazy habits :)

6. I layer scents: body wash, baby or dry oil if I've shaved my legs, lotion if ditto, solid perfume, then spray perfume! But I swear you won't smell me from a mile away, it's not at all overwhelming. It's just the best way I've found to make scents last.

7. Sometimes those layers are all the same scent, if I have it in all those different forms, but usually I mix different scents - for example, I have a lotion that smells like roses and pears, a solid perfume that smells like baby roses and apple blossoms, and spray perfume that smells like tea roses, and combined the effect is so lovely!

8. I buy workout clothes when I find cute styles on sale ... but I basically never exercise. I really, really, really need to start up again, though.

9. I am my gray (girl) cat's favorite person. I am my black (boy) cat's least favorite person. He tries to kill me pretty often.

I am yawning, not screaming. I am snuggly and nice.
I am trying to fool you into petting me so I can hurt you. I am violent and angry.
10. My grades used to be really good, and I've gotten a lot of academic awards in my lifetime, up til I graduated high school at least - since then my laziness has dragged down my GPA by quite a bit >_<

11. My Spanish teacher was so impressed by my skillz (aside from the horrendous Californian accent with which I spoke the language, lol) that she nominated me for a trip to Spain. I can't quite remember now what happened, but I think I either didn't open the letter until it was too late, or didn't realize what it was? Either way, I wouldn't have been able to go since I started college four weeks after high school ended. But now I absolutely regret missing out on wasting that opportunity that was handed to me on a silver platter.

12. I have been out of the country a few times, but the only place I've actually been to other than Canada is Italy. Unless we're counting the mad race through Heathrow airport to catch our connecting flight ...

13. I did not enjoy the trip to Italy! It was a family vacation and we were just all crammed too tightly together for too long (3 weeks). I'm very conscious of how sullen I was the whole time (I was still a bratty teen at the time, but that's no real excuse). I hope I can make it up to my parents someday because it was a very expensive trip which should have been a treat to anyone less ungrateful than me. (Plus, I didn't get to do any of the things I wanted to do, including visit a ton of stores, check out Cinque'terra, and visit Milan, which we were supposed to.)

14. I HATE WHALES. Look, they're freaking HUGE, okay?! They are terrifying and serve no real purpose (aside from sperm whales, which are even more terrifying with their sharp teeth, but at least they eat giant squid). If you were in the ocean and saw a massive dark shape moving toward you and heard the creepy whale sounds under the water ... tell me you wouldn't pee yourself in fright. Just try telling me that. Oh? Yeah well you're lying, because you so would!

Ah ... anyway, now I get to tag other bloggers! Of course, none of you should feel obligated to do anything about this award if you don't want to, but I'm going to award it anyway. Take whichever one you want, or award yourself both!

I love the handmade collages, charts, and tutorials at Beauty and Bows, plus I just love Australians!

You can tell just from the title, Cheapalicious, why I enjoy this blog :)

So many swatches of beautiful things at Indian Vanity Case, plus some great fashion!

Speaking of fashion, She Wore WHAT?! is a total funky inspiration to me!

Skinny Jeans and Sippy Cups effortlessly combines fashionable fun with mom stuff!

I LOVE all the stunning FOTD posts at Baroque in Babylon and wish I was even half as talented as her!

When I want to drool over international brands that are hard to find (except online) here, I turn to Lotus Palace!

Gorgeous photography and plenty of fashion to drool over on the S.S. Vintage blog!

That feels like enough tagging. Thanks again for the awards, ladies, and I hope you'll all enjoy my random facts and the blogs I've linked!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rockeresque swatches

Let me just start by saying that this post is long overdue, and apologizing to Issanna for not showering her with gratitude sooner!

A few weeks or something ago, I got a surprise package in the mail from Issanna, the creator and owner of Rockeresque Beauty Co, the new indie makeup brand which recently had its grand opening and has attracted a lot of attention already.

I think Issanna sent out these gift packages to a few people, and I was so touched to receive one, especially because she wrote the sweetest personal note on that cute Hello Kitty paper! Included in the box were three eyeshadow samples, a full-sized eyeshadow (squee!), a supercute Rockeresque button, and two business cards.

Annnnnd even though I was very excited to get to try out the eyeshadows I had been hearing so much about ... I didn't remember I had them until this week! Fail!

Oh, in the interest of not leaving anyone guessing, I will go ahead and spell it out for you: I did receive these items free of charge. However, I was not asked to review them, do swatches or blog about them or do ANYTHING at all about it, and I am not being compensated in any way shape or form for doing this! I also am not a close personal friend of Issanna's, but we have chatted online, oh, twice now? So adjust your opinions accordingly, but I believe myself to be pretty unbiased.

Moving on, here's how the products are labeled. You will see that even though it's not required by law, even the sample baggies do have full ingredients listed on their labels. The full-size has ingredients listed as per FDA regulations, too. I'm guessing that Issanna wants to do all the things right that her previous slave-driver employer* did epically wrong.

ETA: Cannot believe I forgot to mention the thing I was so excited about: even the bottom label on the fullsize jar is waterproof! Soooo many indies just use regular labels on the bottom (and sometimes even the top), which blur and wash away as soon as water hits it ... and I don't know about you, but I set my jars down on the counter by the sink, and they ALWAYS get wet. So if the bottom label's not waterproof, the ingredient list and color name are gonna wash away the first time I use that color. I wish more companies would change over to waterproof!

The full-sized jar came with a heat-sealed wrap with serrated tab to open it, and also had a sticker over the sifter, so there's pretty much no way your jar could possibly leak! There is a tab to pull off the sifter seal; if you click the photo you may be able to see it.

Here are the four colors I received, Beating Heart, Pudding Pop, Peppermint Gummybear, and Hollywood, swatched over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy:

Yeah, no flash version. I forgot.
Here are the colors again, this time swiped onto my bare arm just using my finger:

Again ... forgot about the flash. Derp.
I was really impressed with how they applied on just bare skin. See how similar those swatches look to the ones done over Pixie Epoxy? That is very unusual, if you didn't already know that ... to have that much pigmentation even without any kind of base under it is fantastic! This means that even girls (or boys) who don't yet own Pixie Epoxy or use eyeshadow base are still going to get amazing color payoff with these shadows!

Comparing these swatches to the ones on each item listing on the RBC website, I have to say that the shop's pictures are all very color-accurate, except Beating Heart which appears not to have been released yet since it's not on there.

I haven't done any eye looks with these colors yet to know how it applies, blends, or lasts, and I haven't actually used the RBC website since I've never ordered from it, so I won't review that stuff. ETA: I have done one semi-neutral look and one slightly more bold look using these 4 colors, and they blend like a dream! I'm guessing it's because they're so pigmented. It's quick and effortless, you're not wiping the color off, it just ... blends together like a real makeup artist is doing it!

The pricing is fairly standard for indie makeup brands, at $6 per 5-gram jar and $1 per sample aside from sales, etc; the shipping is flat-rate, so if you order more than 1 sample (which would be shipped for $1 in an envelope), you will pay at least $5 for shipping. That's something to keep in mind when looking to place an order, because unfortunately, it will eat into your makeup-buying budget a bit. However, the good thing about it is that you won't receive any damaged items, because everything is packed very securely in boxes, rather than bubble mailers.

ETA: Thank you Snarky P for reminding me about the membership program! Apply to become a member and you'll receive a free sample along with your membership card and the explanation of the reward program for members. I keep meaning to do this!

For more information about RBC, check out the Facebook fan page or Markie's interview of Issanna. There are lots of other swatches and many more in-depth reviews out there on the great wide internet, so definitely look around a bit if you're interested - I think you'll find a lot of rave reviews and beautiful colors waiting for you :)

In conclusion, I just want to say that I really admire Issanna and think she's done a fantastic job building this company from scratch. It's not so common for indie brands to have such a solid business plan, such gorgeous, professional branding, highly pigmented colors, and beautifully done product photography. Rockeresque, to me, seems like it could become the next generation of Sugarpill, and I think most people would agree that that's a pretty good thing to aim for :) So those who are jealous of her success are going to be pretty disappointed, because I think Rockeresque is going to go very far!

*Be warned: That is a very long story, full of insanity and frustration, which will probably make you very, very angry by the end. However, it's helpful to read this, as it gives one a good idea of where Issanna is coming from as a business owner!

Friday, June 24, 2011

$20 Challenge from Nouveau Cheap

Wow. This was such a HUGE challenge that it took me two days to complete it! Actually it took, like, 90 minutes ... which is still way too long to be obsessing over the hypothetical decisions involved ... and I'm finally going to post my response!

In case you missed it, here was the challenge that was posted on Wednesday:

Click to go to the original post!

$20 - no sales tax, but no discounts, either - to buy makeup to use on vacation? Surprisingly difficult! Mostly because I kept forgetting the rules (figuring things at their sale prices, assuming I had the right brush/ powder puff to use), but also because the one thing I NEED the most would be ...

... foundation! That foundation ate up half my hypothetical budget, and that's only after I figured out that using a compact foundation instead of a liquid foundation with a powder on top would save some invisible money. Especially since a shocking number of powders apparently don't even come with the standard cheapo velour puff applicator anymore ...

Basically, if I was on vacation (or, to be honest, anywhere at any time), the one thing that I'd need the most would be a decent foundation with SPF. I have really crappy, red-spotted skin and a history of skin cancer, so this is a must for me. Since I like L'Oreal's True Match liquid foundation, I'd just hope the compact version (1, $10) worked for me as well!

Next up, NYC's Cover Stick concealer (2, $1.99) would help with blemishes and my dark, permanent under-eye circles. Between this and the foundation, hopefully my skin would look reasonable enough for me to venture out into public.
If I wanted to get fancy, I could use the Wet n Wild Idol Eyes Creme Shadow Pencil (3, $1.99) either as eyeshadow or liner. This really is a versatile product - you can use it for a smoky eye, or a really natural liner just to add definition - so this would help me feel more glamorous!
Of course, mascara, in the form of Wet n Wild MegaProtein Washable Mascara (4, $1.99) is a necessity for going out at night - honestly, my lashes need all the help they can get! But since even a really, really good mascara, with primer underneath, barely makes my lashes visible, I wouldn't bother to spend much on this.

Up next are the lips, and I had to slightly copy G of Nouveau Cheap for this - I'd use Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Nouveau Pink (5, $0.99) as both lipcolor (sometimes sheer, sometimes bold and bright) and cream blush, since I'm uberpale and bright pink blush applied sheerly makes me look more alive.

Finally, my new favorite thing in the world (review soon!), the Wet n Wild Juicy Lip Balm SPF 15 in Raspberry (6, $2.99) would be a must as well, since I need sunscreen on my lips and this one also gives a very pretty, very natural tint that would be great for daytime adventures!

So there you have it - $19.95 worth of drugstore makeup to get me through a vacation without scaring the villagers. Although I hope that this will never really happen to me ... it's nice to have a game plan just in case! And if you couldn't tell, I'd be relying heavily on Wet n Wild if it did happen, so a lot more stores should stock them (ahem! ahem! get on that, CA drugstores)!

What are your $20 challenge items?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HUGE July giveaway at Miss Fashion Beauty

As I've mentioned before, I follow a lot of blogs. Over 300, maybe 400 at this point, I add more and more to my GoogleReader subscriptions every day. And I actually read all the blog posts every day, too, which is how I hear about awesome stuff like:

Click to go to the giveaway!

Miss Fashion Beauty's July giveaway! She is starting it early, so you can enter now even though it's still June, and there will be THREE winners. The first place prize is epic, the 2nd place slightly less epic, and even the 3rd place prize looks awesome to me, really!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Duping MAC Velvet Teddy

Who doesn't love a good dupe? Whether it's a drugstore bargain identical to a high-end item, or a more easily available version of a hard-to-find limited edition item, a dupe is worth its weight in gold to many of us. 

Yesterday I went on a mad lipstick swatching rampage, and the MAC counter at Nordstrom was my victim. One of the colors I was interested in was Velvet Teddy, because I happen to own the Silk Naturals clone, Negligee.
Velvet Teddy is described as "deep-tone beige (matte)" and appears to have a slight pink undertone. The finish is a true matte, slightly dry, smooth texture. In contrast, Negligee is described as a "slightly warmer peachy caramel color" which is a much more helpful color description, at least in my opinion! It was formulated to be a dupe for Velvet Teddy. It is also called a matte finish lipstick.

So how do they compare? Let's take a look ...

Left: no flash - Right: Flash
You can probably tell that the texture is different. The MAC original is very, very matte, and the Silk Naturals dupe is much more creamy and has a bit of a gloss to it. I actually prefer Negligee's formula, which is as moisturizing as a lip balm but still looks fairly matte on the lips, but someone looking for a true matte would probably pick Velvet Teddy instead. Aside from that, the color is a near-perfect match!

And the cost is quite different: MAC lipsticks contain 3g of product and cost $14.50 in the US, while Silk Naturals Vegan Lipsticks cost $5.75 and come in small, slim tubes (I can't find the size information anywhere). There is a points system at Silk Naturals that allows you to earn rewards for shopping there, and orders over $10 always get a free gift with purchase. 

Overall, I definitely recommend this dupe! I think the color is a perfect match and while the finish isn't completely matte, it is still very natural-looking, and will not dry out your lips the way a true matte would.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Obsession: OPI Nail Polish

We all have our favorites, our addictions, and the occasional obsession. Here's a peek into my obsessive hoarding collecting!

OK, so actually, I don't have as many OPIs as I was afraid I did! 10 polishes, that's not so bad, right? Ignore the fact that most of them cost $8 each ...

OPI is my favorite polish to use. The formula (generally) is the best in my opinion, easy to apply, no bubbling or peeling or chipping, and it wears so well. There are always exceptions, and I'll note which ones in my collection are a bit less awesome, but for the most part it's safe to say that I ♥ OPI!

Here are my 10 bottles. If you can't read the labels in the pic, here are their names:
Top L-R: Coney Island Cotton Candy; You're a Doll!; Done Out in Deco; Black Cherry Chutney; Don't Mess With OPI
Bottom L-R: Kangarooby; 25 Colorful Years; Ladies & Magenta-Men; Give Me a Coral Sometime; Flashbulb Fuchsia

Swatches! In the same order as the above photo:

Clockwise from top L: Coney Island Cotton Candy; You're a Doll!; Done Out in Deco; Black Cherry Chutney; Don't Mess With OPI; Kangarooby; 25 Colorful Years; Ladies & Magenta-Men; Give Me a Coral Sometime; Flashbulb Fuchsia
Top: no flash - bottom: with flash
I will say that Coney Island Cotton Candy looks more pink IRL than it does here; that one, You're a Doll!, and Give Me a Coral Sometime are more sheer than the rest, which could easily get away with only 1 coat, as that's all I applied in the swatches for Done Out in Deco (which just came today and I love it), Black Cherry Chutney, and Don't Mess With OPI. Black Cherry Chutney is very dark, but doesn't look quite as black in person, you can pick up on a deep wine shimmer when you catch it at different angles. I LOVE 25 Colorful Years (halfway between red and pink) and Flashbulb Fuchsia for summer pedicures!

So there's my OPI obsession collection! I know they're pricey, and a bit controversial as a company, but ... I really do love the product. I just have to try and get them on sale!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Duping Zoya Adina

Who doesn't love a good dupe? Whether it's a drugstore bargain identical to a high-end item, or a more easily available version of a hard-to-find limited edition item, a dupe is worth its weight in gold to many of us.

Ever since I got a package from a friend which included Sinful Colors nail polish in 815 "Let Me Go," I became obsessed with finding a way to dupe Zoya Adina. This Sinful Colors polish has the same lavender-green shift, but is much more sheer - in fact, it's a gorgeous layering polish, and I loved it over Revlon's "Gum Drop" for Easter - than Adina. I tried it over all the purples I owned at the time in an attempt to match Adina, but was unable to come close enough.

UNTIL NOW!!! I finally spotted the Adventure Island Collection (rumored to be a copy of the OPI Pirates of the Caribbean collection) at my local Rite Aid, and was drawn to two colors: 5158 "Rise and Shine" and 5161 "Verbena." Actually, Verbena is a permanent shade, but I never noticed it until I saw this display. And when I got it home, I decided to try layering Let Me Go over it. Finally, I was satisfied with my franken-dupe! The combination is so close to Adina, I doubt anyone would be able to tell you weren't wearing the $8 Zoya polish - and oh yes, each of the two Sinful Colors polishes needed cost $1.99 each and are permanent shades, so getting this look will cost you almost exactly half the price of Adina! That's even without the coupons and/ or sales you tend to get with drugstore brands :) PLUS you get twice the use out of it, because you can use Verbena and Let Me Go separately too!

Photographic evidence:

Verbena + Let Me Go = Adina?

1 coat Verbena + 1 coat Let Me Go ~ 2 coats Adina

Left: SC Franken-dupe; Right: Zoya Adina
As you can see, the base purple is slightly more red-toned on Adina, and the green flash is a bit lighter with the Sinful Colors version. But I honestly doubt anyone would be able to tell that you weren't wearing Adina just from that!

Plus ... and I know this is a bit controversial. Everyone in the world loves Zoya ... but (at least with the four colors I own) the formula is so obnoxious! It's so runny, it shows brush marks horribly, and it does not play well with Seche Vite a.k.a. "the only way I can even do a manicure." I much prefer Sinful Colors formula, and Verbena is a GREAT example - opacity in one smooth flawless coat? Yes please!

Is it just me (or my poor choice of colors)? Is Zoya really worth the hype (and the $8 + shipping price tag)? I really want Pandora from the Touch collection, but I just know that if I ever did feel okay with spending $8, plus shipping, to get it, I would inevitably be disappointed by it ... (and if anyone has a dupe for that color, I'd love to know :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Care package/ Europe haul!

A while ago, I had a bad case of tonsillitis, made much worse by NEGLIGENT DOCTORING, AHEM KAISER PERMANENTE ...

Let me start again. A while ago, my wonderful manfriend (who lives in England, sadly for me) went to Holland with his friend Ri to visit their friend Suzy of and Dottilicious fame. Since he is a guy, I figured he might prefer handing off my wishlist of Sleek* and other UK beauty items to the ladies to take care of, rather than having to go into shops himself at home to get my goodies before his next visit in August ... and he swiftly agreed. (Come on. Shop assistants know you're buying that stuff for your girlfriend, they're not laughing at you or thinking you're a cross-dresser, or anything ... sigh, men!)

The gang went out shopping and had lots of fun, apparently - or if you ask me, they had way too much fun. Since Sleek isn't available in stores near Suzy, my list was pretty tiny, and yet ... fast forward a week or two, and I get this huge box FULL of goodies:

It arrived when I was in one of the worst parts of my illness - the fever-all-day-and-night part - so please excuse the dark, blurry cellphone picture ...

Now, I intended for my boy to just bring the stuff with him in August, but Suzy happened to have an extra HD webcam sitting around that she wanted me to have (!) so they packed it all up and sent it out to me right away. The box came covered in cute stickers and taped with red-and-white hearts, sadly I don't have even a semi-decent pic of it to show. Each little item inside was wrapped up in cute paper and had more stickers on it!

I wasn't going to post about this, but then I thought, some of my readers might be in the UK/ Europe and have access to these brands so why not? And there's always evilBay!

I'm not going to show you the camera ... it's just a camera, you know what they look like ... although that was definitely the man's favorite part of the package! It does make a HUGE difference, honestly, compared to the ancient webcam and not-so-great microphone I had been using. Apparently, I now look like a real person on this camera, so big thanks to Suzy!

Silly car-shaped gummy snacks! I love the name, "Total Loss" - like I said, I was really sick when I got this, so I needed the laugh out loud that gave me. Since I couldn't read the descriptions I took a chance on the flavors, and most of them were yummy ^.^

Then we get to the makeup, etc. The things I had asked for included Essence nail polishes and gel liner (not pictured) and Catrice lipgloss. The things Suzy and Ri decided to buy me include:

Two Catrice nail polishes in Hip Queens Wear Blue Jeans! and Sold Out For Ever. I love the names, and the colors are gorgeous too, unlike any of the colors I currently own. If you click on the picture, you may be able to see the subtle shimmer in the polishes:

Top: no flash - bottom: flash
The gloss, Catrice Colour Show in Pink Me Up, was something I had seen on Witoxicity and fallen in like with, and I'm happy to report that it's just as great in person as it sounded on her blog post! It's sort of a "my lips but better" shade on me, not too sticky, lasts a decently long time ... I'm horrible at reviewing lipgloss, just go read the review I linked!
Yes. Yes I did just stick my finger right into it.
This gel liner is in a separate photo because I JUST found it a few days ago! I was pulling out some of the Styrofoam peanuts to make room for stuff I was packing to send to Malaysia, and when I was done, I found this pot sitting on the ground. It was like magic (the kind that brings makeup, aka the best kind EVER)!

Left: no flash - right: flash
I LOVE this product. It's incredible. The color is a deep burgundy-brown with jewel-toned shimmer, and it dries quickly and does NOT budge. I'll be showing it in use later this week, and raving about how fantastic it is :)

I actually did specifically ask for this brush. It's a "smokey eyes" brush in black and PURPLE! Obviously I just wanted it for the color ... but it does work well, too, and is nice and soft. It has faded a bit in washing, though. Now, Essence is a European brand as well, but evidently you can find some of their products in the US these days too ETA: including Ulta!!! So if you see them anywhere, definitely check them out, the nail polish I got is really cute too and they even have their own stamping polishes (called "stampy polish" - cute)! I also asked for one of their gel liners, in color 04 "I Love NYC" (teal), which will be coming in August :)

From GOSH, a brand I've heard a lot about, they picked up two Effect Powders in Bluebell and Azure, and a lip balm which I haven't yet tried out, but will!

The Effect Powders are like loose shadows but with way better packaging! Instead of the standard sifter that leaks product into the lid, it has these little plastic fingers that plug into the sifter holes, sealing it until you open it next. I think that is so clever!

They are both such pretty colors. I swatched them over NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Pots and Pans just for fun, and as you can see, they look great on that silver base.

The worst (or best, depending on your perspective) part of this whole situation was that the boy would not allow me to pay him back for the stuff I requested - he wouldn't even tell me how much it was. So I felt guilty (for demanding all that stuff and costing him money, plus costing Suzy and Ri money too) and excited (to GET all of it) at the same time! Oh well. People are just way too good to me on a regular basis, and I need to try to get used to it (but it's hard! I have such a hard time accepting gifts! Arrrg)

I think that's everything ... if I left anything out, I apologize, this was an overwhelming post to create which is why it's only just now going up ^_^;

So in conclusion: Big huge thanks to the sweet and generous Boyface, Suzy and Ri for being so awesome and sending me sparkly goodness!

*Sleek is a company whose products are much-loved but whose customer service is reviled, leading bloggers to compare the recent NYX FailSale to the original Sleek FailSale. In order to get their stuff without actually giving my money to them, I am having my manfriend buy it for me. Cheating? Yes. Making a stand? No. But I really do want to try some of their products, sorry!

Megadeal: My Pretty Zombie on Heartsy!

My Pretty Zombie is a company I've only had limited experience with because of my awesome friend mNg sending me gifts from them! I love the colors I have, Gangrenous and Violet; they are really complex and gorgeous.

And as you may have heard, My Pretty Zombie (MPZ) is going to be featured on Heartsy tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8th!* The deal is going to be $6 for $17 store credit (or $27 store credit if you're a Heartsy VIP; you can also buy this deal today if you are a VIP). Since shadows are $5 each, and shipping to the US is $2, that's essentially 3 shadows for the price of one!

You can find swatches of their colors at Toxid Lotus, more from TL, I'm Not Skinny, So What?, and The Raven and the Rose, among other places. They also sell nail polish, creepy zombie Barbies and jewelry! Not exactly my style, but I still think they're really cool!

If you do take advantage of this fantastic deal, let me know what you get!

*Disclaimer: This should be an affiliate link if I've done it correctly, so I would in theory get credit on Heartsy if you sign up through this link and buy something. Thanks in advance if you do, otherwise just go to if you'd rather not use my link!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Insane Urges

Once upon a while ago, I caught a glimpse of this odd but exciting product on The London Beauty Review ...

... and it was confusion and love at first sight. What is it? What does it do? How does it taste?! Because it seriously looks like Jell-O in lipstick form, and that's just too cool. My brain can't even handle it.

Well, that's a product Clarins released last summer that you can still see on their website, and apparently it started a bit of a trend:

DuWop Iced Tea Lipsticks came in four colors, all with that delightful transparent-gel form. Though they're no longer stocked on their website, Sephora, or ASOS where they were originally sold, you can buy them online through several sites.

These two beauties are limited edition. They're also by German brand Catrice, which is only sold in a few countries ... in Europe.

So basically I'll never own any of these, which is fine, because from what I can see in reviews they don't add much color and are mostly just gimmicky lip balm in lipstick form! Repeat with me: "Do not need ... do not need ... do not need ..."

Did you get any of these when they were first released? If so, spill! I want to hear if you like it or not!
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