A Nail Frenzy.

What's been on my nails the past few weeks....
L to R:
Revlon Vixen
Essie Absolutely Shore
Essie Topless and Barefoot
Zoya Blair

I know I've seen Revlon Vixen at the drugstore many times before, but I've always passed by it without giving it a second thought...until I saw it on Anna in one of her videos. I really enjoy vampy nails, especially in the fall and winter, so it was only a matter of time before Vixen had to be added to my collection. I like that it's a true deep maroon shade that isn't too brown and doesn't have any hint of purple whatsoever.

After Vixen, I was in the mood for something a bit more bright and cheerful, so I turned to Essie Absolutely Shore, a pale mint green. Though Essie Mint Candy Apple was my go-to mint polish and still continues to be a favorite in my collection, I'd have to say Absolutely Shore has Mint Candy Apple ever so slightly beat right now.

I'd been meaning to pick up Essie Topless and Barefoot for a looong time now, and I only just got around to it last week when I was at Ulta. Though it's no surprise Essie polishes can often be hit or miss in terms of formulation (especially with their paler shades), I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that Topless and Barefoot became milky, pinky nude perfection in only two coats.

The last polish, and the one that is currently on my nails, is Zoya Blair, a deep, metallic red. I recently received Blair, along with two other polishes, when Zoya was offering a promotion where you could receive 3 free polishes and only pay the $10 shipping fee. Now that I think of it, I think I've gotten all of my Zoya polishes through promotions like that in the past :P I chose Blair after doing a bit of research online for a polish that was similar to the gorgeous Chanel Malice. Drool. Since I don't own Malice, I can't say how similar they actually are, but it is undeniable that Blair is beautiful in its own right. I've only had it on since last night but have already received a few compliments from friends and strangers :)

I also started using OPI Nail Envy last week. Has anyone tried it? I'm not really into long nails so that's not the goal, but I quite like the look of short to medium length square nails, but my nails are so thin and weak that the edges always chip off before I can get them long enough to shape them. Fingers crossed Nail Envy is as amazing as everyone makes it out to be!

What's been on your nails?


The Switch-Up.

As I wrote my last post about the products I was currently wearing, I realized how boring and monotonous my routine had gotten over the past month and a half. 

Though they certain deserve all the praise I've given them, products like Armani ETK in #15, NARS Sin blush and Burberry Tangerine blush need to take a little mini-vacation for a while. In an attempt to actually remember to use some of the other products in my collection, I've vowed to switch up my routine and primarily use a small selection of products for the next few weeks or so. A few of these have never been featured on my blog before, so that will give me the opportunity to review them along the way as well.
Out with the old and in with the new, I say!

The "new" players are:
Clarins Bronzing Duo in 01 Light
Rimmel Blush in Santa Rose
MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist
Too Face Lip Creme in Naked Dolly
Chanel Blush in Rose Initiale
MAC Lustreglass in Love Nectar

I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on my progress, and expect a few reviews as I go :)

Hope you're all having a great Wednesday.


What I've Been Wearing.

...on my eyes...
I pretty much wore Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow in #15 all throughout December and into January. For a more natural, daytime look, I'll wear it by itself with mascara. For nighttime, I might spice it up (the term "spice" used loosely here!) with a darker shade through the crease and a flicked liner, but that's really all you need. It is such a versatile shade with the dreamiest formulation imaginable. Have I done enough to convince you? ;) 

Just more recently, as my laziness has hit an all-time low, I've somehow convinced myself that it is now acceptable to leave the house with just a wash of Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige all over the lid, a bit of mascara and that's it. Though the color is nearly identical to MAC's Paint Pot in Bare Study, my poor Bare Study is several years old and a bit on the drier end of the spectrum, hence why I prefer using Barely Beige instead :)

...on my cheeks...
Surprise, surprise - I've still been reaching for Burberry Tangerine and NARS Sin, but I've also really been enjoying Illamasqua's cream blush in Zygomatic lately as well! I have a strong distaste for cream blushes that have a cream to powder formulation (why not just use a powder then?), so naturally, I love the fact that Illamasqua cream blushes stay true to their cream texture and actually offer a creamy, dewy finish. The formula is so easy to blend, not sticky in the slightest, and Zygomatic is the perfect everyday beigey pink blush.

...on my lips...
Although I've been loving my Anthony Logistics Blood Orange lip balm lately, I've also been trying to use up my Jack Black lip balm after noticing it was on its last leg. For a sheer wash of color, I've been reaching for Clinique's Moisturizing Chubby Stick in Mega Melon, which I received as a Sephora 100-point perk, and my new love - YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in #15 Corail Intuitive (post here!).

...and on my face.
For foundation, I have not strayed from my tried and true favorite, Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation. Not only do I love the formula and finish on my skin, it's one of the only foundations in my collection at the moment that matches my paler than pale skin! For blemish/redness concealing, I've been reaching for Revlon PhotoReady Concealer, and for undereyes, my go-to combination is Armani Master Corrector in #1 to neutralize my dark circles, followed by Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Brightener to conceal the pink from the corrector, as well as to brighten my under-eye area. Works like a dream.

What have you been wearing lately?


YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in #15 Corail Intuitive.

I remember back when I started blogging nearly 3 years ago, the original YSL Rouge Volupté line was all the rage. At one point, I even had two of my own until I came to the sad realization that I really didn't care for the formula at all, and I had just bought into the hype. Though they were pigmented and creamy, they seemed to settle into lip lines like nobody's business, and the wear time was virtually non-existent. I eventually sold one in a blog sale and kept the other because I liked the color (Peach Passion, if you're curious), though not without hesitation.

Fast forward a few years and YSL has now brought out a new, ultra-hydrating and shiny version of the Rouge Voluptés, appropriately called Rouge Volupté Shine. You'd think I would have learned my lesson and steered clear, but being the makeup fiend I am, I bought one.

Although I've been on a bold lip kick lately, I really wanted to choose a shade that was more wearable for everyday to ensure I could wear it often enough to make it worth the $34 (ouch!) investment. I ultimately went with #15 Corail Intuitive after seeing how gorgeous it looked on my friend Jess.

Corail Intuitive is a peachy coral, and although it has a sheerer finish than the original formula, I find the color can be easily built up too. It has tiny micro-shimmer that really isn't visible on the lips. What I love about this formula compared to the original is that it doesn't settle into lip lines and is incredibly hydrating, whereas I felt the original tended to sit on the lips instead. In addition, unlike the original formula where it felt like I was wearing lipstick, I find this formula much more lightweight and comfortable, and it feels more like a balm due to its moisturizing properties, although it is creamier than a traditional balm. It has the usual YSL lipstick scent (mango?), and it lasts for about 2-3 hours on my lips.

Overall, I love this lipstick. I've been reaching for it most days. I love how hydrating and comfortable the formula is, and the shiny finish is quite natural and makes lips look incredibly soft and supple. I wouldn't be surprised if another shade (or two) eventually find their way into my collection ;)

I purchased mine online from Sephora (not all shades are available yet) for $34.


New Drugstore Lipstick Round-Up.

This past month or so has been an exciting one in terms of drugstore beauty products, particularly in the lipstick/stain realm. Although I'm often hesitant of new releases in the drugstore because I've tested my share of dud formulas, there was simply too much (positive) commotion surrounding these new collections that I couldn't resist.

First up is Maybelline's Color Whisper range, and I have the shade Who Wore It Red-er

These lipsticks did not come sealed in any way (not the best news for those of us who may be part of the Hygiene Police), but as a result, I was able to open them up to take a look at the actual color of the lipsticks since it's impossible to tell through the translucent red casing. I chose Who Wore It Red-er because it looked like a gorgeous terracotta red that was unlike any red I currently own, but much to my dismay, it applies like any old generic pinky red on my lips :(

Despite my disappointment in my shade selection, the lipstick itself is smooth, hydrating and balm-like, and the color is sheer yet buildable. 

Next, I purchased two lipsticks from Maybelline's Vivids collection in the shades Vibrant Mandarin and Hot Plum.

I'm in love with these. They are 100% opaque, and the formula is the perfect marriage of creamy and dry - as in, it's creamy enough to apply easily and evenly, but dry enough to last and last on the lips without budging. These also leave a mean stain, so if a several hour commitment to your lipcolor isn't your thing, you may want to think twice about these ;) 

Vibrant Mandarin is a bright, warm orange, and Hot Plum is a bright purple with pink undertones. Both shades apply true to color and are unlike anything else currently in my collection. LOVE.

Vibrant Mandarin

Hot Plum

I wore Hot Plum out the other night!

Last up are probably the most talked about drugstore lip products since the Revlon Lip Butters due to their uncanny resemblance to the YSL Glossy Stains (which I haven't tried, by the way), and they are L'Oreal's Caresse Shine Stains. I have the shades Infinite Fuchsia and Berry Persistent.

Infinite Fuchsia (left) and Berry Persistent

These look like lip glosses but have a unique gel texture that dries down to something reminiscent of a coating on your lips. There is little to no transfer once the product is dry, unlike the traditional lipstick formula. And as expected based on the name, it has a wet, shiny finish and leaves quite the stain underneath.

Although I haven't tried the YSL Glossy Stains, I have tried Maybelline's Super Stay 10Hr Stain Gloss before, and while those apply just like these L'Oreal Shine Stains initially, my main issue with Maybelline's version is that it looks horrific as it wears off since it fades from the center of the mouth out. With L'Oreal's version, I notice that it wears off evenly. Phew.

Infinite Fuchsia applies more like a red berry shade on me, while Berry Persistent is a bit darker and more purple in comparison.
Infinite Fuchsia

Berry Persistent 

L to R:
Maybelline Color Whisper in Who Wore It Red-er
Maybelline Vivid in Vibrant Mandarin
Maybelline Vivid in Hot Plum
L'Oreal Caresse Shine Stain in Infinite Fuchsia
L'Oreal Caresse Shine Stain in Infinite Fuchsia (stain)
L'Oreal Caresse Shine Stain in Berry Persistent
L'Oreal Caresse Shine Stain in Berry Persistent (stain)

Overall, I'd say my favorites from this slew of new releases has to be the Vivids. The two shades I have are ridiculously bright and pigmented, the lasting power is fantastic, and the collection as a whole is just an exciting change of pace for the drugstore. And I apologize for not noting the exact prices I paid for these, but since they're from the drugstore, I believe all were in the $6-10 range :)

What are your thoughts on these new releases? Yay or nay?


The New Jack Black.

During the month of December, I started off in Portland, then I went to Orange County, Vegas, Seattle, and finally back to Portland, and I must have gone to 5 different Sephoras in total. I can't remember for certain which one I ended up finding this gem at, but I'm glad I did.

Of course, as is true with many of the other great lip balms on the market, Jack Black being one of them, this one came from a men's skincare line: Anthony Logistics For Men. It even says so in the name, as if to remind me that it really wasn't meant for me...but I don't care :P

The Advanced Formula Lip Balm has SPF 25, and the scent I have is Blood Orange. I'm not usually much into citrusy scents, but I. LOVE. THIS. It smells (and tastes.....not that I would know :P) exactly like orange soda! Yum.

It has a plastic, slanted tip applicator, much like the Jack Black lip balms, and the balm itself is clear with just the slightest touch of shine on the lips. I'm sure it's not really mean to be shiny since it's geared towards the male population, but I imagine it's also quite difficult for such an emollient product to be completely matte, don't you think?

When I apply it to my lips, the gorgeous thick, yet emollient, texture coats my lips and actually sinks in. Compared to products that just sit on top of the lips and all moisture is lost once the product wears off, my dry lips feel healed and considerably softer and more supple than they were before I applied the balm. It works fantastically both during the day and overnight because it lasts for hours on the lips. 

My one and only qualm about it is that when the weather is cold, it can be nearly impossible to squeeze it out of the tube! I've literally had a moment or two where I had to just switch it out for another product because I couldn't get any product out. I've never experienced that with my Jack Black lip balm before, but in comparison, I'd say the Anthony Logistics For Men balm is slightly thicker than the Jack Black, so it makes sense that it'd be more difficult to squeeze out when it's cold.

When comparing the ingredient lists of the Anthony Logistics For Men and the Jack Black balms, the two are pretty much identical, which explains why they perform so similarly. I honestly don't have a preference between the two formulas, although I may be slightly partial to this one simply because I'm infatuated with the scent and taste! The lip balms from both brands contain 0.25oz and will set you back $7.50....$7.50 well spent, if you ask me :)

You can find Anthony Logistics For Men Advanced Formula Lip Balm SPF25 at Sephora.


My 2013 New Year's Beauty Resolutions.

I'm usually quite anti-New Year's resolutions. I just find resolutions like 'I'm going to go to the gym everyday' or 'no more ice cream' are ridiculously impossible for me to keep. I prefer resolutions that will transition into long-term self-improvements, not ones that simply mask themselves as drastic, but temporary, changes.

I've made a few self-improvement type of resolutions this year that I won't bore you with, but this is also the first year I will officially be making beauty-related resolutions as well:

1. Drink (much) more water. Period.

2. Invest more in quality products and significantly less in 'cheap and cheerful' ones that I'll never use again....although, those are fun every now and again too ;)

3. Shift some of the focus of my beauty lens a tiny bit away from makeup and onto skincare. There is no foundation like gorgeous skin.

And that's it, really! Hopefully, with only 3 resolutions to focus on this year, I'll be able to keep them up. Either way, you know I'll keep you guys updated along the way ;)

Do you like to make New Year' resolutions? If so, what are they this year?


My Top 12 Blogs and YouTube channels of 2012.

I love finding out what blogs people like to read and whose videos they like to watch, so naturally, 'sharing the love' type posts are also some of my favorite to write! Don't forget, I always have a blog roll to the right of my blog filled with a few current favorites as well, some of which are also included in this list. 

I'd love to know what a few of your favorite blogs and YouTube channels were in 2012!

My Top 12 Beauty/Fashion Blogs (in no particular order):

My Top 12 Beauty/Fashion YouTube Channels (in no particular order):
2. Zoella
11. amarixe

My Favorite Products of 2012.

Happy 2013, everyone! I hope everyone had a fun and safe NYE, regardless of whether you got glammed up for a night on the town or simply snuggled up in bed watching countdown festivities on tv. 

I had a great few weeks off from school myself, celebrating the holidays with loved ones, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm suffering from a case of the post-holiday blues now....it always starts to show its head after Christmas but it gets especially depressing after New Year's :( Anyhoo, here's to another great year, and as promised, here are my favorite products of 2012 :)


Concealer: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer + Armani Master Corrector

Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder 

Eyeshadow: Armani ETK in #15

EyelinerMAC Superslick Liquid Liner + MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy + UD 24/7 Liner in Perversion

Eyeshadow primer/base: UDPP 

Eyelash curler: Shu Uemura

LipstickDior Addict in Singuliere + MAC Rebel (in action as recently as last night, as seen below!)

Nail polish: China Glaze Shocking Pink 

Shower gel/soap: Nothing in particular.

Body lotion/cream: Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter in Twice is Nice

Body exfoliatorHaus of Gloi Bubbling Scrub in Twice is Nice

Hand creamNothing in particular.

Lip balm/treatment: C.O.Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm + Jack Black Lip Balm

Perfume: Stella by Stella McCartney + Vera Wang Lovestruck

Cleanser: Murad Clarifying Cleanser + Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil

Toner/lotion: None.

Facial mask: Masker Aide sheet masks (review coming soon!)

Exfoliator: Clarisonic Mia

Makeup remover: Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil

Here's the link to my 2011 favorites too, in case you're interested! Be on the lookout for my Top 12 Blogs of 2012 soon :)

What were some of your favorites this year? I'd love to know!

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