Monday, April 30, 2012

China Glaze Prism Swatches/Review

Recently, China Glaze released the Prismatic collection.. a gorgeous set of duochrome glitter nail polishes. This polish, Prism, is from that collection. Prism is a complicated, unique, and gorgeous shade- Purple shifting to blue holographic micro-glitter interspersed with larger multi-colored glitter. I told you it was complicated! Better to just take a look at it, I think... 
I tried to photograph this shade in different lighting situations, as it really changes depending on the light. However, pictures don't do it justice! It is a luminous, gorgeous polish that you NEED to have.. its spectacular in person! Totally opaque in two coats.. shown are two coats with a topcoat of Seche Vite. I have the whole collection and they are all lovely, but I gravitate towards blue/purple polishes so I chose this one to show to you.
What do you think of this color?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this polish myself for review :o)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Zoya Blogger Collection by Birchbox

Recently, Birchbox and Zoya teamed up with 3 top beauty bloggers to create a set of nail polishes. This limited-edition set consists of three custom shades inspired by mood boards that were created by Eleventh Gorgeous, The Small Things, and Capitol Hill Style.
The three shades are Belle, a pink with gorgeous orange shimmer, Coraline, a sheer hot orange, and Kate, a sheer hot pink. Obviously, the shades coordinate beautifully! I decided to do a "funky french" with this set, alternating Kate and Coraline on my nails and then painting the tips with Belle. The tips are subtle, and I think this is a really perfect Summer manicure!
I'm really happy I snagged this set.. If you want to get it, too- do it soon! Like I said, it is limited edition.. So get it before its gone!
What do you think of the blogger collection?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this set myself for review :o)
Also, the link to Zoya provided is my referral link.. If you sign up for a new account using that link, I get "Share the Love" points, and you get a free Zoya polish! Just go to the "My Promotions" tab under the "My Account" page after you sign up through that link..

Welcome everybody from F Yeah Nail Art!

I was lucky enough to get featured on F*** Yeah Nail Art today, and I see that a lot of people are making their way over from there! Thanks so much for checking out my blog, if you click the "nail art" category you'll see a lot of other designs I've done. Follow me on GFC, e-mail, or stick around some other way because I post nail art at least once a week, plus a ton of other stuff.. Thank you!! :o)

Dot and Elmer aren't super interested in whether you read my blog or not.. but I am!! 

Swing by Pretty & Polished!

Today I have a beautiful indie polish to show you- Swing by Pretty & Polished. Swing is a deep red jelly packed full of black and white glitter of varying size. The red jelly base, however, makes some of the white glitter look pink! It is a really fun, interesting, and different polish.
I think this is a really fun take on the "classic" red polish. I absolutely love many of the polishes that indie makers are coming out with lately and this is no exception. Chelsea, the girl behind Pretty & Polished makes a lot of awesome shades and this is just one of them. What is also nice is that she is constantly coming up with new ones! They are in really high demand so her shop sells out quickly, but its worth the effort to stalk her Etsy shop and snag these pretties when you can!
What do you think of this color?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this polish myself for review :o)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My International Beauty Swap with Heather of Sugar and Spice!

Recently,  Rachael of Island Girl Insights ran a blogger-only swap.. This was an opportunity for members of the beauty blogging community to meet up and trade favorite beauty products with each other. I was lucky enough to be paired up with the lovely Heather of Sugar and Spice. This was a really lucky pairing for a few reasons: First of all, Heather lives in England and I live in the U.S-so were able to swap for things that aren't available in our respective countries. Secondly, it turns out that we share pretty much the same tastes in makeup and also have very similar complexions- so it was really easy to shop for each other. Lastly- Heather is just a sweetheart! She was a pleasure to deal with and it was easy as pie chatting and working out the details of the swap. I had a ton of fun shopping for her and putting together her package, but she hasn't received it yet so I won't talk about it here and spoil the surprise!
Lucky for me, I have gotten mine already and it is amazing! I'm really excited to share it with you all.
Heather obviously took a lot of time and care putting this swap together. We asked each other some questions about what brands/products/shades we would like to get, and she was definitely paying attention! Here is what she sent me:
Sleek Au Naturel Eyeshadow Palette
17 Lipstick in Honey Blossom
Berry Crush Lipstain in Sleepover
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer
Collection 2000 Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in Purple
Barry M Dazzle Dust 
Barry M Nail Polish in Raspberry
Barry M Nail Polish in Gold Foil Effect
Max Factor Nail Polish in Fantasy Fire
And.. A bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.. my favorite!
Plus, a sweet handwritten note telling me what she had chosen to send and why.

This was such an amazing package to get in the mail! A box full of goodies from the other side of the pond. I have been dying to get my hands on a Sleek palette, I've heard so many good things about them and like all the other great items Heather sent, they aren't available here! From the lovely polishes to the lip products.. Everything she sent is so special and thoughtful. I love doing swaps but sometimes they are tough because you don't know who you will be paired with, if it will work out, etc. Rachael obviously put together a great group of girls, and I'm so grateful that I got paired up with Heather.. She even sent everything in a darling little box that she spent an hour wrapping in pretty paper! Clearly a lot of time and effort was put into sending me this swap and I am so happy to have recieved it. Thank you so much Heather, and Rachael as well for putting the swap together! 
What do you all think of the package I got? Are there any products in it that you'd specifically like to see me review here on the blog?
Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica


Friday, April 27, 2012

Glo Essentials Re-Energize Dry Shampoo

Up for review today is Re-Energize dry shampoo in Brunette from Glo Essentials. I usually steer clear of dry shampoos as they tend to give me that "powdered wig" look because I have dark hair. This one, however,  is made specifically for brunettes like me and contains NO talc! (don't worry, if you have light hair Glo also makes a colorless dry shampoo)
I went without washing my hair for a few days, lets pretend it was specifically to test this product and not because I'm lazy, okay?
As you can see in the photo below, my hair was starting to get a little greasy looking.

Per the instructions, I sprayed on the dry shampoo and then brushed my hair after waiting a few minutes. I could really feel the difference, the shampoo soaked up the excess oil and made my hair look and feel much cleaner. It smelled freshly washed, too. I didn't look like I had JUST washed my hair, but I certainly looked like I had washed it the day before (not ::cough:: three days ago). This is a great product to extend your time between shampoos.. like if you are traveling or wanting to extend a great salon blow-out before washing.
It is certainly the best dry shampoo I have used for my dark hair, the only one that has been completely invisible after use. As an extra bonus, like all Glo Essentials products this shampoo is free of parabens and sulfates.
I was lucky enough to be provided with some Glo products for review at the International Beauty Show, so this is the first of several I'll be featuring. I've been really happy with everything I've tried so far.. the products are all so effective and beyond salon-quality! But more on that later.. You can find this and other Glo products at http://www.gloprofessional.com/.
Do you use dry shampoos regularly?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by PR for review. As always, I am committed to giving you my honest opinion. :o)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Naked Cosmetics Urban Rustic Collection

An amazing, new-to-me company that I found during my recent trip to the International Beauty show was Naked Cosmetics. Naked Cosmetics makes beautiful mineral makeup, made of 100% pure pigment. All of their shades are made from oxidized mica and are absolutely gorgeous! They can be used alone as eyeshadows or mixed with other mediums for use on eyes, lips, body.. even hair! I really love multi-purpose products.
The pigments can be purchased individually, or in collections of 6. Today I am reviewing the "Urban Rustic" collection, a gorgeous set of rich, sparkly colors in a range of autumn type colors. The colors are numbered 1-6, and have been photographed/swatched in that order. Shown on my arm are the colors swatched without primer.
These pigments are so incredibly...pigmented! A little goes a very long way. These shadows are so rich and multi-dimensional, you can create a beautiful look using just a tiny bit of one color. The eye look shown was done using only shade #6, the beautiful sparkling brown. After applying Tarte's eyeshadow primer, I just blended a bit onto my lid, then mixed a tiny bit with some of Meow Cosmetics' eyeliner sealer and used that to line my eye with a little cat-eye flare at the end. Finally, I used what was left on my dry brush to lightly dab some along the lower lashline. A little mascara (Nuance by Salma Hayek Ultra-Volumizing) and some brow powder (Lancome Le Crayon Poudre) and the look was done- easy as pie! Obviously, you can create much more dramatic, complex looks with this set as well. I really love the versatility!
You can find these and a plethora of other shades on nakedcosmetics.net
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased all mentioned products myself for review :o)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MaaDisha Soap5 Ayurvedic Organic Soap Review

Up for review today is Soap5- the line of all-natural, ayurvedic soaps by MaaDisha. What does "Ayurvedic"mean, you ask? According to the MaaDisha website, all of their products are "based on Ayurvedic principles, which focus on the balancing of the three life forces/energies (the three doshas: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha)"
According to Wikipedia (Hey, I'm not in school anymore- I can use Wikipedia as a source!!) a "Dosha" is:
"one of three bodily humors that make up one's constitution according to Ayurveda. These teachings are also known as the Tridosha system.
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
  • Vāta or Vāyu (wind) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc.[1]
  • Pitta (bile) is the bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; its chief quality is heat.[2] It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism into the venous system.
  • Kapha (phlegm) is the body fluid principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients into the arterial system.
All Ayurvedic physicians believe that these ancient ideas, based in the knowledge discovered by the Rishis and Munis, exist in harmony with physical reality."
Ok, after that little venture into Ayurvedic research I think we are primed and ready to talk about this soap! Like I mentioned, these soaps are all-natural and organic. They have a very simple, wholesome list of ingredients which is something I really like. The three soaps- Orange, Neem, and Lavender, all share the same base ingredients: Sunflower oil, safflower oil, palm oil, coconut oil, aloe, lime essential oils, and turmeric. Each soap is made different by the addition of ingredients that read like a menu from an exotic eastern apothecary! Orange essential oils, lavender essential oils, comfrey roots, neem, wild ginger, olive oil, and holy basil oil are chosen for their healing and nourishing properties and added to their respective soaps. 

All three have a subtle, natural fragrance. The neem soap is the most subtle of the three, the orange soap has the brightest and freshest fragrance, and the lavender soap has the strongest (yet still subtle) scent. The lavender soap is my favorite, the scent is natural and relaxing without being overwhelming. What I also like is that unlike some bath products, these have no "chemical-ly" or overpowering fragrances... because they are made without chemicals! 
These soaps all have a really creamy lather, and they leave the skin feeling clean yet moisturized. I felt like they did not strip my skin of all its natural oils. I love natural, organic products... especially when they are efficacious! These soaps fulfill that requirement. I also love the idea behind these soaps, that they are based on Ayurvedic principles meant to optimize health and vitality. 
These soaps are available at maadisha.com 
What are your favorite natural/organic products?
Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica

Disclosure: These products were provided to me by PR for review. As always, I am committed to giving you my honest opinion. :o)

Artsy Wednesday: Shoes!

Its Wednesday again, and that means it is time for another nail art challenge for Artsy Wednesday! This week the challenge was to create a manicure inspired by a pair of shoes that you own. I wanted to do something funky, so I chose one of my most interesting pairs of shoes... custom Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops!
I used Sinful Colors Why Not (It was really a perfect match for the main blue of the shoes!) and Milani White on the Spot for the base, then added decoration inspired by the designs on the shoes using nail art pens and Sally Hansen Parrot. The design on the pinky and ring finger is meant to mimic the contrasting bright green stitching. What do you think? Do you have any shoes that would make great inspiration for a manicure?
Be sure to check out the awesome manicures by the other bloggers participating in Artsy Wednesday!



Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased all products mentioned myself :o)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barielle Shades Buddha-Ful Swatches and Review

This past weekend at the International Beauty Show I had the opportunity to meet the team behind Barielle, the legendary nail care company. Not only are Barielle's products amazing (I've been using their nail strengthening cream for years), but everyone I spoke to at the company was incredibly pleasant, kind, and gracious. It is really great to buy from a company that you know is made up of nice people!
I was lucky enough to be sent home with some goodies, which I will be reviewing over the coming weeks and months.
First up is Buddha-Ful, a unique and beautiful shade that immediately caught my eye. A lovely, sheer pink-ish nude to begin with, Buddha-Ful is taken to the next level by the dense iridescent green flakies floating in it. This polish is amazing... funky and demure all at once.
It is hard to do this polish justice in pictures.. The flakies shift and shimmer as you move your hands in the light, changing from nearly invisible to bright glowing green. A truly dimensional polish, and totally unique in my stash. I have a frightfully enormous polish collection, so that is saying a lot! I'm looking forward to experimenting with layering this polish, but I already love it on its own. Shown are three coats. This would be a great polish for someone who usually wears nude or "reserved" colors and wants to branch out a bit into something a little different. Formula-wise, this polish was easy as pie. Simple to put on and it had a reasonable drying time.
Have you ever tried Barielle polishes or treatments?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by PR for review. As always, I am committed to giving you my honest opinion :o)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reader Beauty Secrets!

Recently, I asked my readers on Facebook to submit beauty tips and secrets that they would like to share on the blog.. I got a great response! You lovely ladies sent in some amazing tips... everything from home recipes to wonderful words of encouragement that we should remember BEFORE we put our makeup on each day. Below are the tips that were sent in- some are from fellow bloggers, I have included their links as well so you can check out their blogs and collect even more great beauty info! 


Amanda from Berry Polished writes:
"Here is my best beauty tip:  Everyone needs to start polishing the "free edge" of their nail!  It's the part of your nail that you run your file across.  When I started doing this it rocked my nail-polishing world because it drastically increased how long my manicure lasted :)
My blog is Berry Polished at www.berrypolished.com or my facebook page is BerryPolished.com atwww.facebook.com/BerryPolished. "

Mandie from Mandie's Manicures writes:
"Here's a beauty tip from me for you to include if you'd like: Patience is a virtue. If a polish is incredibly sheer, work with it slowly. Don't use thick coats to get it to be quickly opaque because it will not dry properly, which may cause dents. It is better to build up the polish with four or five thin coats rather than two thick globs of polish."

Lisa from Cosmetic Sanctuary writes"
"Make sure to paint the very tippy top of your nail (or as most say 'wrap your nail') for a longer lasting manicure!  Wrap the very tip with base coat, polish color as well as top coat!"

 Heather writes:
"Ok, So I wear eye make up..  eye shadow (usually 2 to 3 shades of the same color), mascara(water proof), eye liner, and sometimes I glitter it up! I used to spend my money on all kinds of eye make up remover.. UGH!!!!!!   What a waste... Every kind of make up remover I have used, it was getting costly. See, they would always leave that part of my face oily, and gritty, and make me break out right near my eyes, and half the time it wouldnt take ALL of the make up off..which was freakin annoying. One day I was out of stupid remover and I had my Jergens Unscented lotion that I got from Wal-Mart for like 2.97, I put some on my lids and took some toilet paper (yes, the best to use to take maku-up off) and rubbed it off my eye (of course close them..LOL) and in 2 to 3 wipes, ALL MAKE UP WAS GONE.  PLUS it didnt dry out that area, it was oily, and gritty, and I didnt break out. infact it makes my eye area look great and moiturized up! (i dunno if that makes sense..lol)

Im 29 yrs old and have been using this technique for at least 10 years.. no issues.  Heather L, Rochester, NY "

Samantha F. writes:

"I have combination skin that tends to break out easily. I was using Clean & Clear sensitive foaming face wash followed by an apricot scrub for years, but I switched to Olay foaming face wash last year (blue bottle), it does not have the acne ingredients that Clean & Clear cleanser did and I follow with an apricot scrub every other day. My skin definitely does not break out nearly as much as it used to, and doesn't get oily as easily. So my cleanser advice is to go with the least ingredients you need in a product, because using one with too many things your skin doesn't actually need can make it in worse condition."

Lyndsey of Nails by Ms. Lizard writes:
"I keep my face clean and clear by using an electric toothbrush with my fav. cleanser usually something with tea tree. I then take a warm green tea bag and rub it on my face and eyelids. I close my pores with an ice cube. I like to use a black head tool on my nose. I hate the pores on my nose!"
http://nailsbymslizard.blogspot.com/




Becky from Naked without Polish writes:
"It's actually for storing lipsticks. 
I took notebook paper and cut strips by using the blue lines as markers. Then I cut the strips into little squares. I mark a square with a little bit of lipstick. Then I take Scotch tape and I tape it to the lip stick tube. Now, I can store the lipstick in a drawer or container or whatnot and I can see what color it is and not have to open and close several tubes to get the one I want! It's been super helpful! 


Becky even sent in a photo to illustrate!


Heidi writes:
"I use 2 body scrubs like it was a religion!

One is Sea Salt/Citrus Body Scrub
1/2 cup sea salt 
1/4 cup sweet almond oil or olive oil or coconut oil (I prefer coconut oil)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/2 teaspoon orange zest 

I mix everything in a small mason jar and just swirl it with my fingers when ready to use. (After bath, shower) Rub all over skin, rinse, blot dry with a towel. It is enough for about 2 showers.

Second is Brown Sugar/Oatmeal Face Scrub


  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs jojoba or coconut oil
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs oatmeal
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime


Mix together, massage over cleaned face, rinse. 

I can not be without those 2 scrubs!!! I have been using them since I am a teenager and have not used anything but some loose powder on my face as far as 'foundation' goes. 

Another thing I do is rub coconut oil into my skin before I go to bed. (Once a week or so) I get the refined stuff because it has no smell to it! My skin is very sensitive and chlorine in the water makes my skin dry out and crack. The coconut oil has been a life saver for me! 
ALMOST FORGOT!!! 
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs Sea Salt 
1 tsp coconut oil
1 slice of lemon 
make a  nice nail soak. I keep my cuticles soft with a dab of coconut oil.... 
I AM IN LOVE WITH COCONUT OIL <3

hope this helps.... 
Heidi P. "

and finally, this wonderful tip from Carrie:

"Mine is less of a tip and more of a word of encouragement. I wish people would be more open to embracing their bodies- expecially faces. Love your freckles/moles, etc. Cindy Crawford and Marilyn Monroe are two famous ladies who have embraced their differences (that signature fcace mole) and freckles can be beautiful too.

Also- experement with making your own makeup! There's lot of websites that show you how to custom blend eyeshadow, lipgloss and more.You can dupe way more than just polish! A personal favorite? Making my own bath soaks. Dr. Teal's Lavender epsom salts, calgon bath beads, oatmeal and powdered milk are the ingredients in my concoction. I bag it up for gifts too!

I guess that's it for me- I love your blog/facebook by the way. You're so genuine; keep it up. :)

Carrie "crunchypeanutbutter"" 

Are these tips amazing or what?! I was so thrilled with what was sent in... a great, diverse collection of beauty tips from real girls just like you and me. Are there any tips that really caught your eye, or that you are looking forward to trying? Also, if you didn't have a chance to send in your best beauty secret, feel free to leave it in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica



Sunday, April 22, 2012

International Beauty Show Day 1 #ibsny

Today was the first day of the International Beauty Show at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. I arrived at about noon, picked up my press pass, and was off! I was lucky enough to be invited to be an official IBS NY Beauty Blogger- complete with my very own badge! In this capacity I will be live tweeting from the show as well as blogging about my finds from IBSNY.
The convention floor was jam-packed with makeup, hair, and skincare companies showing off their latest and greatest. The IBS is enormous, and is presented in conjunction with IECSC NY, the International Esthetics, Cosmetics, and Spa Conference. There was so much to see at IBS that I didn't even make it downstairs to IECSC today.. I really barely scratched the surface! I will be catching up and checking out what I missed over the next two days of the event.
There are some awesome brands represented there- some of which I know and love and some that I am discovering for the first time. The brands there range from well-established to brand new, everything from Essie Nail Care to Hipsy (a brand new company that makes the most amazing, unique headbands!).
I met with a ton of great companies today, learning about their product lines, new trends, and all the latest in beauty.
In the upcoming days and weeks I will be posting a ton of news and reviews about the brands I had the opportunity to learn a little more about. I picked up some amazing new products and saw some hot trends unfold! I'm really looking forward to sharing it all with you. Here is a sneak peek of some of what I saw today:



As you can see there was a lot going on- makeup demos, products for sale, and much more.. I will elaborate further over the coming days- right now its bedtime because I am headed back to #IBSNY for day 2 bright and early in the morning!
Thank you so much for reading,
All the best,
Jessica

Friday, April 20, 2012

Floam by I'm Feeling Nail-Venturous

Floam is one of the most elusive polishes on the indie scene lately. Since it is so unique, polish lovers are positively scrambling to get their hands on it. Made by Amy at I'm Feeling Nail-Venturous, Floam is sold at her her Etsy store, as well as ninjapolish.com. However, you'll find it in stock for about 30 seconds before it sells out!
I had signed up to be notified when it came back in stock on NinjaPolish.. Lucky for me, I happened to already have my e-mail inbox opened when the notification popped in. Wasting no time, I immediately went to the site, added Floam to my cart and checked out! From the time the e-mail arrived in my inbox to the time I was checked out couldn't have been more than 90 seconds.. I was on my game! Good thing, as it sold out in just a few minutes. So, at last, Floam was mine. Ninja Polish shipped SUPER quickly, and of course I put it on as soon as it arrived!
Even Elmer likes this polish
Floam is made up of neon blue and green matte micro glitter densely packed in a clear base. It is a little tough to work with, but so unique that the little extra effort it worth it. Shown is three coats. It really does look just like the classic 90's toy, Floam.. do you remember it? I used to love those Nickelodeon products.. Floam, Gak.. I even had an orange Nickelodeon knit hat with an enormous pom pom on top for the winter. I definitely grew up with early Nick... Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, etc. Obviously, this polish makes me nostalgic!
It is a definite pain in the neck to remove, but what dense glitter polish isn't? Just use the foil method for glitter polish removal (google it!) and you'll be fine.
Like I said, this polish is tough to get your hands on right now... but certainly worth the search!
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this polish myself for review :o)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 2012 Birchbox

The theme for this month's Birchbox is "Natural Wonders". Birchbox has selected a set of samples that in their words, "take inspiration from the world around us". They chose this theme, presumably, to celebrate April's Earth Day.
Birchbox also included their Environmental Policy printed on the info card in each box this month. It includes information on how the boxes themselves are totally recyclable, and made with recycled and sustainably sourced material. They also mention that they offset all carbon emissions from their shipping. I  love hearing things like this! Imagine how much shipping a company like Birchbox does every month... I think it is wonderful that they are trying to reduce their environmental footprint.
Here is what I got in this month's box:


.25 oz mini bottle of Zoya nail polish in Bevin
Befine Skin Care Sampler (Consisting of 5 .34 oz packets of their Exfoliating cleanser and Daily Moisturizer)
.04 Vial of Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Eau de Parfum
5 gr. packet of Lulu Organics Hair Powder
Package of 8 Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes

All in all a really nice Birchbox! The mini Zoya is adorable, and I'm looking forward to trying out the Befine skincare. I have a Befine lip serum that I really love!
I love Birchbox because even though I like some month's boxes more than others, I always feel like I've gotten my money's worth. Are you a subscriber?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this subscription myself for review :o)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Flowers!

The theme for this week's Artsy Wednesday blogger challenge is flowers. I wanted to do a very feminine, "shabby chic" sort of manicure, and I think I achieved that!

Over a basecoat of Milani White on the Spot,  I added splotches of China Glaze Ruby Slippers and painted tiny leaves with Wet n Wild Undercover Graffiti. I let this dry thoroughly, and then added the black detailing with a Kiss black nail art pen. This was actually a really easy manicure to do! I love the result.. this week's theme was really fun! What do you think of it?
Make sure to check out the floral creations of the other bloggers who participate in Artsy Wednesday!


Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica 

Disclosure: I purchased all mentioned products myself. :o)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 2012 Beauty Army Kit!

It is no secret that I LOVE Beauty Army.. My review last month was pretty much like a 13 year old girl talking about Justin Bieber. I had nothing but positives to say.
Unfortunately, this month.... just kidding! I STILL only have positive things to say! I am, as ever, an unbiased reviewer. I have no affiliation with Beauty Army.. but I know and appreciate a great company when I see one. My impression of Beauty Army is that they are an ever-evolving organization. They don't stagnate- they listen to the customer, learn from mistakes, grow and get better each and every month.  I am continually impressed by them. Subscribers asked for a rewards program- Beauty Army introduced a great one. Subscribers asked for the option to skip a month- Beauty Army introduced that feature this month, too. None of the other beauty sample services I subscribe to even come close to having the level of customer service and attentiveness that Beauty Army delivers. Most importantly, they deliver amazing samples!
This month's sample selection was great.. a variety of skincare, haircare, makeup, even tools. I had a hard time narrowing it down to six samples, but here is what I chose this month:
5.1 fl oz Joico K-Pak Reconstruct Deep Penetrating Reconstuctor for Damaged Hair
0.16 fl. oz Cover FX Skin Prep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum
0.13 M.A.D Skincare Eye Defense Shielding Serum
Babor Cleansing Hy-Ol and Phytoactive Base (10 ml Each)
2 fl. oz. Indie Lee Lemongrass Body Lotion
1 Karuna Brightening Treatment Mask



These samples range from decent-sized to ENORMOUS! The K-Pak conditioner is huge! The Karuna mask is a really fun kind of sample that I haven't seen before. This is the style of mask that is really popular in Asia right now (this one is made in Taiwan), a cloth mask imbued with beneficial ingredients that you leave on your face for a while to nourish and refresh. I can't wait to try it, but I'm trying to find a quiet moment where I can really relax and enjoy it- I don't want to waste it!
The Indie Lee body lotion is lemongrass scented and smells absoultely amazing..it absorbs fast and feels so nourishing.  But I wasn't expecting anything less from a brand that I've come to know as consistently wonderful!
I'm looking forward to trying the Babor cleansing system, I like samples like this a lot because it is a new/different product to me and not something I would buy right off the shelf without the opportunity to try it first.
Another great box from Beauty Army.. I am already looking forward to the next one!
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Monday, April 16, 2012

Essence Get Big Lashes! Volume Boost Waterproof Mascara

Today I'm reviewing Essence Get Big Lashes! Volume Boost Waterproof mascara from the new Spring/Summer 2012 collection. I'm going to start with a little background on the brand, because you may not have heard of Essence yet if you live in the U.S... but they are HUGE in Europe! Right now, they are sold at Ulta, HEB, and Fred Meyer but the brand is expanding in North America in a big way.
Essence is a value cosmetics brand.. they offer really high quality products at incredibly low prices. Recently, Essence sent me a few products from their new collection for me to review. I was really impressed with the items I received..(apparently I'm not the only one who is impressed.. I did some light reading on the company and I found that they are the #1 value cosmetics company in the world) The quality is awesome- from the packaging to the products themselves, and you would never guess they retail for what they do! I plan to review all the products on the blog over the next few weeks, but let's get to the first one- Get Big Lashes! Waterproof Mascara.
Below is a shot of the mascara, as well as a shot of my eye before and after application.
Shown is two coats on my top lashes and one on my bottom lashes. As you can see, the mascara really did give me a "Volume Boost"! I really appreciate a volumizing mascara that doesn't clump.. I was happy with the application of this one. It also dries very fast, meaning you won't get mascara marks all over your eyelid and brow bone after application. This is just what it says.. a volumizing mascara. If you are looking for length more than volume then this probably isn't the right product for you. I am lucky enough to have my mother's long lashes, so volume is what I personally value most in a mascara.  I don't usually wear waterproof mascaras- I don't know why, I guess its just out of habit.. I've never bought them before. Now that I've tried this one, I wonder why I never have..this stayed put all day, with no smudging or "raccoon eyes".
Mascara is my absolute number one beauty product.. I never leave the house without putting it on. For some girls it is lip gloss, for others, blush, but I'm a mascara girl- you will never catch me without it! (Okay, you caught me without it in the above picture.. but you know what I mean!) This mascara definitely passes the test, and I will be stashing it in my "permanent collection".
I am really happy with my first Essence product, and can't wait to share the other ones I have with you!
Oh.. and guess what.. this mascara costs $3.49! I'm excited for this brand to expand more into the U.S, I have a feeling it will be really popular here in the coming years. Have you ever tried any of their products?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: This product was sent to me for review. I am committed to giving you my honest and unbiased opinion, always!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Wet n' Wild Limted Edition Chrome Collection in "Hog-Quartz School"

While browsing through my local Rite Aid I happened upon an untouched display of the new Wet n' Wild Limited Edition Chrome Collection. They are a little pricier than most Wet n' Wild polishes usually are, but they looked gorgeous so I bought one. I chose the purple in the collection. For all you Harry Potter fans, it is called "Hog-Quartz School".


This polish is an intense lavender with a subtle gold microshimmer dispersed throughout. It was opaque in two coats and really lovely! The formula was a touch on the thick side, but manageable.. and I think the color payoff was worth it. Like I said, these polishes are a little expensive for Wet n' Wild, 3.99 for a small (.29 fl oz) bottle. Per ounce, that is nearly the same price as an OPI or Essie. While I buy those polishes all the time, I expect a much lower price from Wet n' Wild (that is their THING, right?). For example, a .5 fl oz Essie retails at Rite Aid for about 8 dollars, making it 16.00 an ounce. These Wet n' Wilds cost 3.99 for .29 fl oz, making them 13.75 an ounce. Not a huge difference, and I think of WnW as being a discount brand.
So, what is the verdict? The color is GORGEOUS, and I am happy I bought.. That being said, be prepared to spend a little more than you usually would for a "bargain" polish!
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this polish myself for review :o)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Art Inspired Manicure #1: Watercolor Nail Art

I am an artist by training, and I wanted to do a series of manicures inspired by the different materials I have in my studio. I am starting with one of the most delicate, lovely mediums available to artists- watercolor!


I went for an abstract look, brushing very thin splotches of various colors over two coats of Milani White on the Spot. I overlapped the splotches to give the effect of layered paint. The colors I used were Milani Dude Blue and Rad Purple, Wet n' Wild Waves of Enchantment, a green franken I made, as well as Wet n' Wild Sunny Side up and Color Club Psychedelic Scene. I really love this manicure.. You can do this look with many colors or just a few, brights or pastels, etc. It reminds me of dyed silks, and I think this particular color combination is really bright and fun for Summer.
Is this a look you would try out?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 2012 MyGlam Glambag!

I have been subscribed to the MyGlam.com beauty sample subscription service since January. If you read my review of the March bag, you know that I have not been very happy with the service so far. If you haven't read it, allow me to tell you- I haven't been very happy with the service so far!  I would have cancelled my subscription, but I kept it if only to review it each month.
When my Glambag arrived this month, my expectations were not very high. Well, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised! After countless complaints from many subscribers about tiny sample sizes, too many skincare samples, not enough makeup, etc.. it seems that the MyGlam crew listened to the consumer and tried to make this bag a really good one. My biggest complaint about the last bag was actually the overpowering smell that the whole thing was enveloped in- a "toxic glue" sort of smell as I saw one Facebook commenter put it. I am happy to report that this bag was free of that unwelcome fragrance!
Here is what was included:
0.03 oz Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion
0.21 oz DermStore Lip Quench Moisture Infusion Lip Treatment
Pair of All-Belle False Eyelashes
MyGlam All-over Eyeshadow Brush
MyGlam Eyeliner Brush
Pink metallic makeup bag


So, they obviously took care of the "no makeup" complaint by including a great, useful product from a very well known makeup brand- Urban Decay. Also, the lip treatment looks to be a full size. I've only had the chance to use it a couple of times, but I really like the scent and find it very hydrating.
The brushes are of surprisingly nice quality. Last month's bag included a blending brush, and although I had to wash it a few times before use due to the aforementioned smell, I have found it pretty useful in the past month. So, with these two brushes I have a collection of three. I wonder if MyGlam will include more in the future? The lashes are a fun extra.. I never wear fake lashes, but I know lots of gals who do and I will be passing these along to one of them :o)
In short, this bag has renewed my hope in MyGlam. If they continue in this direction, I will really look forward to that bag in the mail each month..I hope that the disappointing first few bags were the result of a new company working out the kinks, and that future bags will be more like this one!
Do you subscribe to MyGlam? Did you find this month's bag was better than the rest or have you been a pretty happy camper all along?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Thursday, April 12, 2012

EOS Cucumber Everyday Hand Lotion Review

Most of you are probably familiar with EOS lip balms- those adorable, spherical, fruity little lip products. The packaging is so attractive, and the balm itself is great too. Did you know EOS (Evolution of Smooth) makes hand lotion, too? Neither did I! Here it is:


While shopping at Target I came across this hand lotion, and once again the packaging caught my attention. I have a myriad of hand lotions at home, but really nothing in a good size for my purse. I thought this one was a great size (1.5 oz), and since I really like their lip balms I decided to give the lotion a try.
This lotion is lightweight and totally non greasy.. It spreads and absorbs really well, so you only need a little bit to rub into your hands. I found it nicely hydrating.. but not too much so. Perfect for multiple applications during the day; after washing your hands, for example. I like a heavier lotion at night before bed, to really sink in and hydrate my hands while I sleep. This is not the lotion for that, but like I said it is perfect to keep in your purse for daily use. I can't use anything too heavy or greasy on my hands during the day as it interferes with daily tasks like typing, etc. The packaging is cute and ergonomically-designed.. It fits in your hand easily and the flip-top is really convenient too. It is a great size, too.. You could even carry it in your pocket, yet it has more product than a "travel size" item.
The scent is a pleasant, fresh, classic cucumber fragrance. Its nice and refreshing but not so strong where I feel it competes with whatever perfume I am wearing. The verdict is.. another great product from EOS! I am looking forward to seeing what they release next.
Have you tried their lipbalms or lotions yet?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this product myself for review. :o)



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Stripes!


Its Artsy Wednesday again! This week, the challenge was to do a manicure incorporating stripes. Naturally, my first thought was to do a Bill Murray manicure...... Come on, STRIPES, get it?!
image credit: moviepad.com

Anyways, the Bill Murray mani is for another day.. I don't want to be *too* cheeky! So, I decided on a fun tiger stripe manicure.


The base color is Essie Orange, its Obvious! and I did the stripes freehand with a black Milani nail art polish. This manicure is pretty simple, but I love it! I think its really fun.. what do you think?

Please be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in the weekly Artsy Wednesday challenge, these ladies are great! 


Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica 

Disclosure: I purchased all mentioned products myself. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gnome Manicure! My Entry for the Neverland Nail Blog contest

Lindsey over at the Neverland Nail Blog is holding a nail art contest that ends April 29th. I absolutely love the theme- you must create a manicure that incorporates something magical! Some ideas Lindsey suggested are fairies and wizards... but I of course chose to do a GNOME manicure! I do love gnomes, after all.. Have you ever noticed the name of my blog?
So, here is what I came up with:
Click to Enlarge
What do you think? I hand painted the whole thing using just nail polish, as per the contest rules. Here are the colors I used:
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda, Model Behavior, and Parrot
Milani White on the Spot
Maybelline Racy Red
Essie Sand Tropez
Milani Black Nail Art Polish
Wet n Wild Sunny Side up
The Nail Junkie Daffodil Yellow
Wet n Wild Undercover Graffiti

I'm happy with how it turned out.. I absolutely love gnomes and woodland themes in general. I was thrilled to find a nail art contest that allowed me to incorporate those ideas!
Wish me luck, and thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased all mentioned polishes myself.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Target Beauty Bag!

Today I got an unexpected surprise in the mail.. my Target Beauty Bag! I knew it was coming, of course, but I didn't realize it would get here so fast.
As many of you know Target has been offering a free Spring Beauty Bag, filled with samples, as a gift with purchase as well as through a widget on the Target Style Facebook page.
I was lucky enough to snag one, and now that it has arrived, I will share it with you!
Click to enlarge! 

The bag contained the following:
1 Schick Hydro razor
Small sample of L'oreal Magic Lumi primer
0.5 oz. Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
1.7 oz. Pantene Flat to Volume conditioner
Book of Target Beauty coupons
Pink striped cosmetics bag
Pack of 7 Simple cleansing facial wipes

The bag was pretty great! It had some things I've been wanting to try (like the Simple wipes) as well as some ever-useful items (like the razor). Best of all, it was free! Were you able to scoop up one of these free beauty bags?
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blue Lagoon Nail Art

Today is a gorgeous, sunny Sunday here on the East Coast, and it had me thinking about warmer weather. I wanted to do a beach/water inspired nail art theme, so I got to playing around with some of my blue and green polishes.
The result is what I call my "Blue Lagoon" nail art!

Click to Enlarge! :o)
I started by painting my nails with one coat of NYC Mint Macaron. After this dried, I splotched on little bits of color using a brush with very little polish on it. I used a variety of blues in different finishes and textures to create a multi-dimensional manicure. The technique I used was similar to that of my Galaxy Nails, however I did not use a sponge this time, just the brush in the nail polish bottle. While the polish was still wet I added a couple coats of top-coat, smudging the polish with the brush as I went to get everything blended together with a watercolor-like result.
I love blue and green polishes, and this look allowed me to use a bunch of them!! I used Deborah Lippman's Mermaid's Dream, Jinx by Enchanted Polish, Why Not? by Sinful Colors, and Navigate Her by Essie for the "splotches".
Do you like colorful nail looks? If you are new to nail art, this is a good design to try as it has a lot of "wiggle room"!
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Friday, April 6, 2012

American Apparel Glitter Topcoats

I popped into American Apparel yesterday to get a simple, lightweight scarf for the Summertime. What did I walk out with? Three bottles of nail polish! Ok, the scarf too.
I was really impressed with these polishes when I saw them.. I love glitter topcoats and there were a little different from others I have seen. Meteor Shower consists of irregular chunks of gold glitter suspended in a clear base.. I think I like this one the best, it really looks like gold leaf! Galaxy is a multi-colored glitter. There are a lot of these on the market, but what makes this one stand out to me is the size of the glitter.. I really dig it! Lastly, Constellation is a pretty unique silver bar glitter.. the pieces are really long!

Shown are two coats each over Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Model Behavior. Application was good on all of these with the exception of Constellation. I really had to play around with the brush, working quickly, to get an even coat of glitter. They took a little longer than usual to dry, but a quick coat of Seche Vite or the like would take care of that. What I liked about these was that all three of them really laid flat on the nail.. no awkward pieces of glitter sticking up or out. The middle polish, Galaxy, looks like it is bumpy in the picture but it is just the way the light hits it. I like collecting glitter topcoats as they can really transform a base color! 
What is your verdict on these? Would you wear any of them?
Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica 

Disclosure: I purchased these myself. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters in Sweet Tart and Tutti Frutti

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters have been getting a ton of buzz in the beauty world lately. Some think they are amazing, others don't think they live up to the hype. I happen to like them, I think they are hydrating and very wearable.. a great way to incorporate a subtle pop of color.
Brights are very "in" in terms of lip color right now, and these two shades are a great way to wear them. Sweet Tart is a pretty, bright pink and Tutti Frutti is a lovely coral orange.
If you are mainly a clear gloss/lip balm wearer, like many girls I know, these are a great introduction into the bright looks you can get from lipsticks. I know when I started wearing lipsticks I was a little hesitant, as it can be a bold look if you aren't used to it! These would be a great transition. However, I think even the most season lipstick connoisseurs would enjoy these... they are pigmented yet sheer and luminous, and come in a wide range of lovely colors. Also, unlike a lot of lipsticks, they don't dry out your lips or flake.
Do you have any Revlon lip butters? Do you think they live up to the hype?
I'd love to know what you think! Thanks so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sneak Preview!! New release from Enchanted Polish!

Chelsea of Enchanted Polish just opened up her shop recently, but has already been making some of the most stunning indie polishes I've seen! On her Etsy page, she has hinted and alluded to having some amazing things in store for her next shop re-stock this Friday, April 6th. The suspense was killing me (I'm not the most patient girl) so I asked her if I could have a sneak peek to post here on my blog. Happily, she obliged!! Her newest creation is called Austin Powers (lol!) and it is GORGEOUS! She describes it as a gold/copper shimmer-glitter linear holo... WHAT?! So much going on in this beautiful polish. Here are the photos she sent me:


Is that beautiful or what? I'm excited to see what else Chelsea has in store!
You can find her polishes at her Etsy shop, Enchanted Polish. Again, she is restocking on Friday.. I'll be in line to get my hands on this one! :o)
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Enchanted Polish, I'm just a big fan! :o)

Artsy Wednesday: Easter Manicure

Hi there!
Time for another nail art challenge from the Artsy Wednesday group of bloggers! This week, our theme was Easter. For my manicure, I decided to do a little scene across my nails.. with a bunny hiding eggs in the grass! I started with a base of the gorgeous satiny yellow from The Nail Junkie's Spring Collection, and added detailing with the pink from the same collection, as well as Sally Hansen Parrot, L.A Splash Sparkling Stratosphere, a white from Sally Girl, Milani Dude Blue, and a black nail art pen from Kiss.
Here it is!

What do you think? I'm happy with how it turned out.. I like the little bunny best! 
Check out the manicures from the other bloggers participating.. its a really creative group! 


Thank you so much for reading! 
All the best, 
Jessica 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My feelings and blog policy on animal testing

Just a quick post to address something that has been a hot topic in the beauty community lately (and for a long time!).. Animal testing. With Estee Lauder and Mac recently deciding to sell in China, where testing cosmetics on animals is required, those companies can no longer be considered cruelty-free.
I just want to let you, my wonderful readers, know that I can not and do not support any company that isn't cruelty free. This means no reviews, swatches, posts, whatever on any companies that test on animals. I respect the opinions and decisions of others, but my heart tells me that I can't use products from a company that engages in such a cruel and unnecessary practice for the sake of sales.
If you ever see a product on this blog that you know not to be cruelty free, please let me know immediately. I will do my research before buying a product, but I am susceptible to human error like anyone else.. so if I get something wrong, or if a company changes its policy and I don't know about it, please give me a heads up. There are so many companies that offer wonderful products in a cruelty-free way, I hope you choose to support them!

I will leave you with some photos of the animals in my life :o)







Thank you so much for reading :o)
All the best,
Jessica

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring 2012 Nail Polish Collection from The Nail Junkie!

Aleta, of the blog thenailjunkie.com, has just released a gorgeous Spring nail polish line. This is her first foray into making her own polish, and the results are quite impressive!
Aleta released these polishes in a limited edition set, including 3 lovely pastel shades (a pink, purple and yellow), a green glitter topcoat, and a clear matte polish. She also included some free items with the purchase of the polishes.. felt glitter removal wipes, rose scented wax melts, lilac oil spray, and a jasmine sugar 
scrub. This was a really nice package to get in the mail, it was presented so
 nicely, and of course- full of goodies! Here is the package before I unwrapped it:
Isn't that adorable? One of the nicest things about buying this collection was how personal the whole experience was from start to finish. Aleta e-mailed me right away, letting me know when she would ship, and kept me informed along the way. She let me know when she had dropped the package off at the post office, and even e-mailed me a picture of my box all set and ready to go! The set even comes with a personalized certificate of authenticity. It was just really... nice! Also, 5 dollars from the purchase price went to charity, specifically http://www.womenforwomen.org/ . What a lovely gesture.

Here is what was inside the package:

I think that all the extras included were really thoughtful, and the whole thing was protected with Easter grass, so when you opened it up it was like a little Easter basket! The colors themselves are gorgeous... incredible pigmented, opaque in two coats, and they have such a beautiful, satiny finish. The green topcoat is a nice accent for all of the pastels. Swatched below are two coats of each color, one with and one without the glitter topcoat, as well as a swatch of just two coats of the glitter topper. All are topped with the clear matte polish that was included.
Click to see larger
These colors are wonderful.. They are soft and delicate but they each have a very subtle and interesting shimmer to them. I was also SO impressed with the yellow. I usually hate yellow polishes because they look terrible on me and apply awfully. This one applied like butter.. opaque in two coats and such a beautiful, flattering daffodil yellow. Below is a nail look I created using all of the polishes, plus a black nail art pen for the black detailing.
I love the finish on these, it is like a beautiful satin ceramic glaze. These are really wonderful, high quality polishes. I am so happy that I was one of the lucky few to be able to buy a set, and I am so excited to see what Aleta comes up with next! You can keep up with her at The Nail Junkie.
Thank you so much for reading!
All the best,
Jessica

Disclosure: I purchased this set myself for review :o)

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