Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Nails: Candy Apple Festive Red!

I' ve already told you how much I love the China Glaze Snow Globe glitter nail polish and I've been layering this on top of various nail lacquers (HERE you can see it on its own) and the most festive combination so far  is this one:

I've used one layer of the Erre Due Last Minute nail polish in #08.
It's a red color a tiny bit on the cooler side and that side becomes more apparent when I use two layers of it. When I use one layer (like in the photo) it's like a candied red apple, very fresh and pretty.
On top I used one layer of the China Glaze Snow Globe nail polish.

Here's a close up, please bare in mind that I'm a total beginner in manicure so my nails are not in the optimal condition for a photo, but I wanted to share this combination with you!

PS: If you have thin, soft nails (like mine), a good idea is to try the Erre Due "Hard Attack" nail strengthener.
I got it on a whim 6 months ago (I usually purchased the Mavala one) but I'm really happy with this, I use it twice a week and my nails don't brake and don't split anymore.

What's your favorite festive nail polish/combo?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

November Favorites: Part 2

Roc night cream with Retin-Ox. 

The truth is that I wanted to try a cream with retinol because I've heard a lot about the beneficiary characteristics of retinol (it improves the skin by removing the dead cells at a faster pace), and I was determined to buy the Avene Retrinal but I discovered that it's not available here, so I got the Roc one instead. 
I started using this every other night for the first week because I didn't know how my skin would respond to it and after that I use it every night. It became my favorite because it really helped my skin to become brighter, it improved discolorations, sun spots, etc. I can't tell about the "wrinkle correction" part because I don't have real wrinkles as yet but I think that it faded a bit the minor expression lines I have on the sides of my mouth. 
If you want a more drastic approach, you could ask your dermatologist for a Retin-A cream, it's a medicine you can only get with a doctor's prescription and I heard it does wonder to the skin (retinol creams on the other hand contain a minor dose of retin-a and can be purchased at a cosmetics store). 

Embryolisse moisturiser - 75ml - €34 on ebay (shipping included).

It has been patiently waiting for two months in my drawer because I first wanted to finish the Korres Thyme Honey cream (smells wonderfully but too heavy and thick for me). The Embryolisse is a really great moisturising cream because it really does what it's supposed to but at the same time it is light and when it gets absorbed into the skin I can feel it supple and baby soft without being sticky to the touch. It also takes only a half pea size of it to cover my face and neck, so the tube will probably last me for ever!
I use it in the morning and also at night, after the Roc cream.

Korres and Eos lip balms

I love Korres lip butters, this is the Purple one. I also prefer them in the tube than in the pot, the idea of sticking my finger in it seems not very appealing to me, or sanitary. As for the color, it's not really purple on the lips, but it does give a little color, like a deep muted raspberry tint.
The Eos one is the Strawberry Sorbet, I got it out of pure curiosity. I can't say that I understand all the craze, but it's a nice lip balm nevertheless, it really smells like strawberry, it is cute to look at (it stands on my bed stand). I don't think that I would repurchase though.

Moroccanoil Light - 100ml - €30 on ebay (shipping included).

This product was a revelation for my dry, light and thin hair! 
I've never used an oil hair treatment before, so I can't really say if it is this specific product or this kind of product in general, but my hair is soooo happy! I use it on wet hair because it untangles like a breeze but I also use it on dry hair when I feel like I need a little more moisture. It also gives my hair a nice shine. 
I chose the Light version because I think it suits better my type of hair, but there is also the standard one, I imagine it will be a little heavier and more dense.
After I finish this, I might try the Kerastase Elixir Ultime, I've heard so many good things about this one as well.

Kings & Queens Cinnamon Orange set

I always saw them everywhere (supermarket, cosmetics stores, etc) but I was never intrigued by them, until, one day I saw an offer (buy one - get one free). So, I started smelling these and this one instantly caught my attention (I think that November was the cinnamon month to me, you'll see why). I LOVE this scent, I even wash my hand with this, I was never that crazy about a body product. 
I also got the body cream on the same deal, it smells awesome too, the only drawback is that the cream is a (very) shimmering one. I use it but not on my arms because I still wear a lot of short sleeved clothes and I don't want to look like the disco queen of winter (LOL!).

Humanity Leather Bracelet Wrap - Serenity Prayer - Grey - €17 on ebay

I came accross this type of bracelets on Youtube, I saw Michele1218 (I really like her videos) wearing one of these and after some online search I got this one. It's in antique grey color, with studs and the Serenity Prayer line has in silver letters the "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference." I don't know where it's from but I really like the meaning of it. I love this bracelet soo much that I wear it every day since I got it, I will definitely get another one, there are all sorts of colors and messages. I've actually seen a tan one that will be mine at some point!

Bath & Body Works - Scentportable - ebay

I wanted to try Bath & Body Works products for ages because everybody is raving about their scents, but, most of them (especially candles) are very heavy and the shipping cost is prohibiting for me. I was also looking for a car scent for ages, because I was dissapointed by the majority of the scented products sold here.
So, when I saw that B&BW had:
  • portable devices (that you can put in the car, closet, drawer, shoe rack, etc)
  • in great variety of colors, shapes, etc
  • working in combination with scented inserts (refills)
  • which scented refills also come in a great variety
  • they require no heat or electricity
  • the scent lasts a long time but it's not overwhelming 
I was thrilled! The only disadvantage is that you can't smell them prior to purchase, but, I think that the scent descriptions on the B&BW site are quite accurate. I just wish that someday there will be a B&BW store in Athens!

So, I got two devices, the cutyyyy little Frosted Cupcake (for my closet) and the cutyyyy little Pink Penguin (it's in my car) and a few refills (they come in two per package) in Cinnamon Clove Buds and Leaves. Each device had one insert inside as well, Carribean Escape and Frosted Cupcake.
I think that with 6 refills I'm good until February/March (they're supposed to last 4-6 weeks each).
The best part ? I LOVE the scents! I now have the Cinnamon Clove Buds in my car and in my closet, I'm talking about complete cinnamon takeover! The other scents are really yummy as well.

Now, how pretty is this???

Yankee Candle in Christmas Cookie - €22 - Omonoia square (only) Hondos Center

In my search for a home scent (I don't know what possesed me - LOL - this month, it's the first time I got intersted in home fragrances) and given the impossibility to order them from abroad because of the too high shipping costs, I heard that the Hondos Center at Omonoia square had Yankee candles.
So, one day that I was close by I decided to take a look and I found that they do have - a few -and after sniffing each and every one of them (the sales assistant was giving me weird looks) I decided to get this one. It certainly smells like sweetend dough, kind of bisquit, very heart warming and sweet (not overly sweet, I can't stand too sweet scents). It's not cheap but it will last me probably until Christmas (I don't burn it for many hours).
Do I love it? You bet! (How many cups of coffee did I drink today????)

What were your November favorites?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

November Favorites: Part 1

November is gone (what happened to 2011? It vanished in thin air!) and here are my favorites.

Sigma F84 Angled Top Kabuki Brush: It's been a while since I got this excited over a brush, but I just love this one:
  • Excellent quality: exremely soft but at the same time firm and dense, no shedding, sturdy construction.
  • It applies my foundation (Mac Face & Body) flawlessly and quickly. I just stipple it on my face and because of the size and the density of the brush the result is lovely in no time!
  • The shape makes it also perfect for small nooks, for example arround my nose etc.
  • It applies my foundation a little heavier than my Mac 187, but, F&B is quite sheer, so I actually prefer it this way. 
  • Sooo affordable (at least compared to a Mac face brush)! 
  • The only disadvantage is that it requires two times washing to get clean and it takes almost 2 days to dry.
I love it so much that I've already ordered the Round Top Synthetic Kabuki - F82 and the Precision Tapered - P86 (using the Black Friday free shipping, it took me quite a while to manage to make that order, the site was up, then down, then up, then down, LOL!), as soon as I receive them I'll let you know what I think of them!

Mac Prep+Prime highlighter in Radiant Rose (€22, I got it €15,40, at 30% off, with the Glamour card).
I got frustrated with the Erase Paste by Benefit because of its texture, I felt that it added ages to my eyes because it is quite thick and dense, although soft and creamy. I tried it on top of a silicone primer and it was better this way, more manageable, but too much work for everyday application. So when I visited my local Mac, I decided to try this, although my prior experience with a similar (?) product a few years ago (YSL's Touche Eclat) wasn't very satisfactory (maybe I didn't know how to use it back then?). 
So I just got this one out of pure curiosity, without expecting too much. Imagine my surprise when this little thing actually worked! Of course I have to clarify that I don't have really dark circles, but my under eye area is darker than the rest of my face, and after using this product I realized that I didn't need cover that much as I needed a highlighter.
I love it because:
  • it does light up the under eye area
  • it has a pinkish shade so the result is very natural (I don't really like white stripes under my eyes, LOL!) 
  • it can also be used on the bridge of the nose or anywhere else I want to highlight in a discreet way (without using a shimmering product etc)
  • a little goes a long way
  • it lasts all day without a setting powder.
  • The only con is that it is a bit on the dry side, but nothing that I can't handle (with a little more moisturizer underneath it).

Wet 'n Wild Idol Eyes shadow pencil in Pixie: it's a smooth champagne eyeshadow, no great lasting power though, so I mainly use it under a powder eyeshadow, especially when I want to make the eyeshadow color less vibrant, more muted. If I want to use it alone, I just add a tiny bit of translucent setting powder on top.

Korres #5 Olive Green eyeliner pencil: I got it mainly because I love the color and thought I could use it as an eyeshadow, but it is a little hard to apply it since it's not very soft. What I do is that I rub it on my hand, so as to warm it a little bit. I also wear it on top of the Wet 'n Wild Pixie pencil, because it is easier to apply it this way and it also turns into a gorgeous grey-silverish-frost light green color!

Swatches: Wet 'n Wild Pixie, Korres #5 Olive Green, Olive Green on top of Pixie.

Mac Smolder Eye Khol: I love this pencil for the upper waterline because it is dark and buttery soft. I wouldn's use it anywhere else though because it smudges a bit (I prefer gel eyeliners, Mac's Avenue is my favorite).

Mac Sheertone Blush in Breath Of Plum: I got this blush a while back because I didn't have anything in the plum family, but I didn't use it that much, until November, when it became my (almost) everyday blush. I use my Mac 187 with it because it gives my cheeks the subtle, a little muted and sophisticated result I'm looking for when I'm going a little heavier on the eyes, especially with smokey looks.

Mac matte lipstick in Ruby Woo and Love Alert Dazzleglass: Ruby Woo is my first (and only one so far) red lipstick and I chose this shade because it has a retro appeal, especially if used light handed over a lip balm, it's sooo pretty that I don't need anything else (apart from mascara, defined brows and a smidgen of blush, to be accurate, LOL!). If I want to spice it up, I use a tiny bit of the Love Alert dazzleglass on top. There is one major default though, it is verrrry dry, but I never wear full red lips, I always layer this on top of a bit of lip balm, so I don't mind. Although, if used without the lip balm, it would probably stay on my lips ALL day long!

Swatches: Ruby Woo (blended out on the right), Love Alert, Love Alert on top of a little of Ruby Woo.

I have a few more favorites but since I don't want this post to go on for ever, a part 2 will follow!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mac Holiday Collection: Part 2

Well, as the killer returns to the crime scene (LOL), I returned to my local Mac to get a few more things and also to get 1-2 items from the permanent collections using the 30% off card from the Glamour magazine.

First thing first: I wanted to buy the Uncoditionally Fabulous nail polish from the Glitter and Ice collection from the day I saw the first swatches online. But, at €15, it seemed quite expensive to me since I hardly ever wear glitter nail polish. So, instead of buying it, I decided to order the China Glaze Snow Globe, because a lot of people said that it was very similar. I got it for €5 (shipping included) on e-bay and, I've been wearing this since I received it (5 days ago) because... I just love it! I wear one coat, over a semi-transparent pinkish-beige base, and I named this combo the snow princess manicure, it's sooo freaking fairytale like!

Unfortunatelly the picture doesn't do it any justice, because, in real life, as I move my hands, the light catches all the different colors and they sparkle sooo beautifully! I was also impressed that only with one coat, the distribution of glitter is even all over my nails, there are no gaps, etc.

From Mac, first of all I got a few lip products:

Whirls & Twirls lipstick (LE, Glitter and Ice collection). I picked this one because I'm afraid of nude lipsticks and this one, while being almost nude, it has a pinkish tone and a little shimmer, so, it is perfect for the days when I want to keep my lips discreet (with a twist!).

Pleasure Principle dazzleglass (LE, Glitter and Ice collection). I don't have any dazzleglasses but I decided to get this one because it's a lot like the glitter nail polish in a dazzleglass! Love it!

Love Alert dazzleglass. After seeing swatches of it online I loved the strawberry pink shade. It is also part of the Glitter and Ice collection but since it is also in the permanent line, I decided to get it from the permanent line, because of the 30% off with the Glamour card and because I can back to Mac this one.

Here are the three of them together: Pleasure Principle, Love Alert, Whirls & Twirls.

One thing I really needed was a warm blush. I came to this conclusion after looking at my blushes and realized that they all leaned to the pink/raspberry/plum categories. So, after some online searching I had narrowed the list to 2-3 shades and after swatching them in store, I decided to get Sunbasque. Mac describes this as "gilded peach with pearl" (huh???) but in real life it is like a peachy-rose-bronze, really pretty. I also realized that the sheertone shimmer is my favorite finish (next to the satin) because of the discreet and totally wearable shimmer that gives my cheeks a little pizzazz in the quick, without the need to use any other product on top. I used my mac 187 brush, it's a pair made in heaven!

On the left I swatched it with my finger and then I blended it out on the right part.

Last thing I got was the Make it Perfect Brush Kit / Special Edition (€56 - Ice Parade Collection), I just couldn't resist it because I already have 3 of them in ful size and I love them (168-239-217) and the mini version with the sparkling handles is totally adorable (LOL) and travel friendly! The kit has five brushes totally:
  • 167 SE blush/powder brush
  • 168 SE angled contour brush
  • 239 SE eye shader brush
  • 217 SE blending brush
  • 212 SE flat definer brush 
After washing them, I was really impressed with the softness of the bristles (not being handmade etc).

They come in this pouch, I don't like it very much but the plastic is of good quality, really sturdy.

I also took some photos in comparison to my full size ones (on the right), you will notice that there are minor differences, but I haven't tried them as yet so I can't tell if they will affect the actual performance (probably not).

The 217

The 239

The 168

All of them together

PS: have you managed to find here in Greece the Let's Skate painpot, Winterized eyeshadow and Snow Globe powder? I can't find them anywhere and the mac assistants don't have a clue if and when they will be available. I've also emailed mac but I haven't heard from the as yet...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mac Ice Parade Holiday Collection: it's here!

It's been almost a week that my local Mac store is decorated according to the holiday themes (Glitter & Ice etc.) but no products yet!

So, this evening, while passing by on my way home,  I was pleasantly surprised because I accidentally noticed that they had already positioned the Ice Parade testers.
It goes without saying that I stopped by to get the few things from the Glitter & Ice that I had planned to buy. Instead, the assistant told me that they didn't have the Glitter and Ice as yet but they already had the Ice Parade and the Holiday Viva Glam kit. Momentarily, I got dissappointed, but then (surprise!), I decided to take a look at the available collections, although I knew that I wasn't planning to get anything from these.

Well, you know how that goes: a few swatches is all it takes to buy something that you've convinced yourself you don't need. The item that managed to brake my resistance was the Festive Kit in Wintercool . After a lot of inner struggle (the plot goes dramatic, LOL!) I decided that, although I definitely didn' t need it, it was actually a value for money kit. The reasons are that at €56 you get the following, full sized products:
  • a frost lipstick (Hot Gossip), a very pretty and wearable medium pink
  • a lipgloss (Emancipation), a light pink without glitter etc,
  • a matte blush (Mocha), a lovely medium pink-plum shade
  • four eyeshadows
    • Phloof!, a frost white a bit on the pink side
    • Quarry, a matte medium pink-plum-brown
    • Dance in the Dark, a matte dark brown-black 
    • Brun, a satin deep grey brown
  • three short handle brushes
    • 129SE, 
    • 266SE,
    • 275SE
  • a clear plastic bag with a silver pocket on the outside
All the shades (I think that) they are permanent, but, the fun part of being a recent Mac convert is that, with the exception of Quarry, I didn't have any of them, so that was a plus to me.

As for the three included brushes, I don't have to tell you that they're inferior in quality compared to the full sized ones, BUT:
  • they're not that bad as some beauty gurus say, meaning that I will definitely use them and they will be quite handy in my everyday makeup bag or in my travel bag, etc. I'm not a makeup artist thus not an expert, but, for personal use, they're acceptable. 
  • also, let's say that you're a total beginner, or that you don't want to invest 20-30-40 euros to get one mac brush. In that case they have separate holiday brush kits that seemed very soft to me, even for everyday use, that I would buy in a heartbeat if I could justify the expense (since I already have the full sized ones that I need).
Now, the right part of my brain (LOL), says that I don't have to stress out the cuteness of every item! I really love the white, sparkly theme, everything is so tacky but alluring at the same time!

Enough said, photos please!

What do you plan to get from the holiday collections?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Beauty Gadgets

I must confess that I love gadgets, beauty gadgets even more!

The first one is a nail polish remover by Sephora, and I must thank christina77star and many other fellow beauty bloggers for bringing this item to my attention. I have only one thing to tell you: go get this!
It's awesome because it removes my nail polish in a second, no kidding! I have this almost for a month, an it is still going strong. It is very easy to use, no cotton pad required because inside it there is a sponge, I just dip my finger inside it and move it in semi circle, left and right, until it is clean.

Next beauty gadget is the Model Mirror, I saw it on You Tube and instantly loved it! It is a little mirror, baterry operated,  with lights (so that I can easily pluck my eyebrows in the dead of night, without disturbing anyone, LOL!). It cost me €27 (postage included).

I got the pink one with the black bow and appart from the cute design, the material is rubberized, so it doesn't slip off my hands (everything else does!!!). It also comes with a little drawstring pouch (it could use some washing now that I see it, duh!)

Last beauty gadget is a Unii  empty palette, I saw this too on You Tube and I had to have it, although at €27 (postage included) it is quite expensive.
The reasons that I really like this palette are:
  • sturdy construction
  • secure clasp
  • perfect travel size, for a blush or two and a few eyeshadows, not too big, not too small, easy to carry
  • it comes with a sheet of adhesive magnets so that I can cut it in pieces and magnetize pans
  • it has a big mirror
  • I chose the white, a beautiful pearly shade, but it also comes in a variety of colors

The inside of the packaging has useful instructions about the palette (adhering the magnets, etc)

The little square cube on the left is supposed to facilitate holding the palette, it is also movable so that you can put it anywhere it suits you (or remove it altogether). Here you can also see the adhesive magnet sheet.

See? LOL!
BTW, the nail polish is OPI "My address is Hollywood", I really like it.

Here I put it on top of my mac palette, for comparison.

Another photo next to my mac one.

Here I added a few mac eyeshadows and a mac blush, so as to give you an idea. I could probably fit a small flat brush inside it as well.

What's your favorite beauty gadget?
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