Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Mani

I tried quite a few things before landing on this mani. For some reason, nothing was coming out right or it looked too much like a Christmas mani! Anyway, I'm really happy with the final results.

New Year's Eve Mani - Cult Nails Clairvoyant (2 coats) over butter LONDON Chimney Sweep (2 coats) with a top coat

I wanted to use one of my favorite 2011 polishes for my New Year's mani because there have been so many amazing colors this year! Of all of the ones I've reviewed, Cult Nails Clairvoyant has always stuck out. If you follow my blog you already know I have a weakness for flake glitter and love small businesses--check and check for Cult Nails Clairvoyant. Not to mention the fact that it's stunning and unique! I wanted to give the flake glitter in Clairvoyant (originally Unicorn Puke) a real boost, so I put it over Chimney Sweep. Also, because Clairvoyant has a sheer purple base, I did a quick swipe with some nail polish remover on a q-tip over each nail to really let the flake glitter show through. I occasionally do this with glitter polishes with tinted bases so that the glitter really has a chance to show its true colors.

Butter LONDON Chimney Sweep is a deep gunmetal shade that is lovely in my opinion (reminds me of Zoya Freja, which may have a tad more silver to it). I was originally going to put Clairvoyant over Zoya Raven, but I couldn't find my bottle anywhere! For some reason I never buy straight black polish so Raven is the closest I've come. It was super hard to capture Clairvoyant's amazing multicolored glow, but this gives you a decent idea--it's much more impressive in person.

Close Up of Cult Nails Clairvoyant over butter LONDON Chimney Sweep with top coat.

I wanted to give you guys a close-up of this mani since it's crazy in person! Isn't that gorgeous? I can't stop staring at my hands, every time the light catches my nails they flash a million glowing colors!

So there you have it! My last mani for 2011. What are you wearing on your nails tonight?

See you in the new year ;)

New Year's Post: 2011 Beauty Revolutions & 2012 Resolutions

I feel as though there will be this mass of new year's blog posts, but how could I possibly not do one? ;) To me, New Year's Eve is almost a crossroad where you look back on the last year and forward on the coming one, which is why I titled this post revolutions & resolutions. I'll try to be brief, but this post is dedicated to my favorite beauty products of 2011 and my 2012 beauty resolutions!

2011 Beauty Revolutions
I would call all of my favorite beauty products form 2011 revolutionary because their performance is so amazing that they stand out that much from their competition in my opinion. Keep in mind, these are in no particular order, but each is a favorite from this past year! Some are new as of 2011, some not, but all are products I fell head over heels for this year.

1.  Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy and Eye Shadows - Indie woohoo!
I am a huge fan of Fyrinnae and while I'd purchased before 2011, they were an absolute favorite of mine this year between new shades that were released and old shades I fell back in love with. As I've probably mentioned before, several of my go-to shades for looks I do are Fyrinnae shadows (Snow White - deepest black ever, Winter Again - sheer frosty white/blue duo, Nijiro - neutral with amazing sparkle). I know they can be tough to order from since they get bombarded, but seriously ... don't give up!

2. Sugarpill Loose and Pressed Shadows - Another indie!
This year was my first year really getting into Sugarpill and what a crazy tumble into love it's been! I am absolutely in love with the bright, lively colors available in both loose and pressed shadows Sugarpill offers. Everything from beginning to end is fabulous and I fully intend to continue to expand my Sugarpill collection in 2012--looking forward to what Amy (owner of Sugarpill) has in store for us!

3. Cult Nails - Small business :)
Cult Nails, which was launched a year ago I believe, is a polish company I grew to love this year! I'm a big fan of indies and small businesses and I absolutely adore the creativity and personal attention Maria (Cult Nails owner) offers is phenomenal. Eager to watch Cult Nails grow over the next year!

4. Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion
This has become my absolute favorite face lotion ever! It is super hydrating, doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, and has amazing ingredients--no nasty chemicals. Love, love, love it!

5. Votre Vu Eye Beauty Balm
I recently became aquainted with Votre Vu this year and while I've loved almost all of the products I've reviewed of theirs (especially this year's holiday sets the "It Kit" and "Winter Wonderhands"--love!), the Eye Beauty Balm has become a must-have product for me. While this product does contain parabens, I don't use it every day and I use it in such a small amount I personally feel it's ok. It works wonders!

6. Nails Inc Magnetic Polish
Why am I so in love with this? I have no idea why magnetic polish still delights me, but it does! Still dying to get my hands on the teal magnetic polish. Maybe in 2012!

 7. Faux Lash
Faux is a new company that I got to know this past year and their lashes quickly became a staple for my eye looks! I adore the quality of the lashes and love the styles available--and you know how picky I am about false lashes ;) 

8. Honey Bee Holistics - Small business!
I purchased from Honey Bee Holistics for the first time this year and instantly knew I'd found a new must-have in terms of body lotions. The ingredients are fabulous, the products are handmade, and the lotions are the most hydrating body lotions I've come across in a long time! They don't irritate my skin, the kids' skin, or hubs' skin either--huge plus!

9. Zoya Nail Polish 
 Zoya has become one of my favorite 4-Free polish companies this year and 2 of Zoya's many polish shades are currently my Holy Grail colors--Sooki (pin-up red) and Trixie (silver foil). I love the variety and in addition to fabulous polish, their Remove+ polish remover is amazing! I'm currently holding a giveaway on my nail polish swap forum for one custom picked Zoya Colar Box if you're dying to get your hands on some.

10. Anastasia Hydrafull Lip gloss
I very recently had the opportunity to try quite a few Anastasia Hydrafull lip gloss shades and instantly knew they'd go into regular lip gloss rotation! They are amazing! If you're a lip gloss junkie (guilty as charged!) then you have to give these a try. They offer one of the smoothest finishes I've ever seen. Ugh, so good! I have a list of shades I need to add to my growing collection ;)

11. Incoco Nail Appliques
I was originally only shooting to list 10 favorites, but I couldn't pick one of these to exclude so there you have it! 11 favorites for 2011 ;) I love Incoco nail appliques; not just because of their awesome colors and designs, but because they wear so well! Nail polish usually chips on me within a day or two regardless of the brand or what I use because I type for living (copywriter). For whatever reason, Incoco nail appliques last on my nails for a week or more with no chips! That is phenomenal to me!  I'm currently holding an international giveaway on my polish swap forum for a full-sized set of Incoco nail appliques if you'd like to give them a try.

2012 Resolutions
I've never been one of those people that makes a big deal of New Year's resolutions. After all, don't we all kind of have the same ones year after year? Getting healthier, stopping bad habits, staying away from guys we know we shouldn't date, etc. However, I thought it would be nice to make some beauty resolutions since they'd benefit my blog!

1. Add Videos
I've thought about doing video tutorials for a while now and it just hasn't been a feasible thing time-wise, but I've known for some time that my goal in 2012 would be incorporating videos into my blog occasionally. It's not happening tomorrow, but hopefully in 2012 I'll be able to make it happen!

2. Discover New Amazing Products from Unknows
I am a huge fan of fabulous products made by unknown companies or barely known companies. I'm dying to find some amazing beauty products in 2012 that aren't hyper-popular yet. Wish me luck! It can be very hard to find unknown companies and even when I do, I'm so particular about ingredients, sanitation practices, etc. that it can get a bit discouraging. I'm going to try for you all though in the coming year!

3. Makeup Certification
I've wanted for some time to enroll in a makeup artistry certificate program and hopefully this year is the year! Find the time and resources to do it can be tough, but hopefully this is one thing I can say I've accomplished by the next New Year.
 
4. Continue to Grow My Blog
I started my blog at the very beginning of this year and I'm so proud of the growth I've seen in myself and my posts over the course of this year. I want to continue to grow, improve, strengthen, establish, etc. Hopefully I can continue to provide insightful info that helps or at least interests my lovely, makeup-loving readers!

What about you? What's your Number 1 beauty resolution for 2012?

Have a happy, exciting, wonderful, safe New Years! Can't wait to "see" you all in 2012 ;) 



Spotlight: Anastasia Beverly Hills Wish You Were Here Contest!

I just got the heads up about this contest a couple days ago and wanted to make sure I posted it before too much time had gone by so you have a chance to enter! The prize is fabulous and entering is so simple. Just so you know, the contest has already started and ends January 20, 2012!



Friday, December 30, 2011

EOTD: Blue Fairy New Year's Eve Look

I'm sorry I haven't posted an EOTD in a while, between the holidays and our family being sick non-stop for a while I just haven't had it in me to capture any of the looks I've done. So sorry! But, I wanted to make sure I posted a New Year's Eve Look since it's such a fun time to do something extra special with your makeup ;)




I wanted to make sure I gave you lovely makeup lovers 2 views of this look so that you can see some of the details like the blending in the crease, the double-winged liner, etc. I really like this look! For some reason when I thought about doing a New Year's Eve look I instantly thought of doing a fairy-like, whimsical yet sexy look that incorporated some silver (I prefer silver over gold for some reason!) and some of my favorite makeup brands from 2011. I was also itching to try out some of my new Sugarpill shadows. I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out. Sometimes you get a fabulous idea and then executing it is a nightmare ;)

Here's what I used:
  • Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer - patted all over lid and under eye
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #3 - patted over 3/4 of lid starting at inner corner
  • Sugarpill Royal Sugar loose shadow - patted onto outer corner of lid and blended into silver, pulled down to outer corner of drop shadow
  • Sugarpill Bulletproof pressed shadow - blended into "outer v" and pulled into crease
  • Sugarpill Tako pressed shadow - patted lightly into inner corner over silver and onto part of inner drop shadow
  • Sugarpill Lumi loose shadow - patted into inner corner and pulled up to blend into edges of Royal Sugar, pulled from inner corner down into drop shadow and blended into edge of Royal Sugar
  • Fyrinnae Nijiro loose shadow - blended from outer corner of Royal sugar to brown (buy this if you want a unique, sparkly neutral shade!)
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes pencil in 0L - lined upper and lower waterlines
  • Maybelline waterproof liquid mascara in black - lined upper lash line and pulled outer corner into tiny double-wings
  • Faux Lash in Alexia - used Duo lash glue 
Now you may be wondering--did she forget to apply mascara to her lower lash line? The answer is--no, I ddin't forget it was a conscious choice! I intentionally didn't apply mascara to my lower lashes because sometimes when I do winged liner on my upper lash line I try not to draw too much attention to my lower lash line. I did line the waterline simply because I didn't like the way it looked naked or with any shade of liner but black. Obviously if you wanted to replicate this you could do what you like with your lower lashes!

On a side note, I am so absolutely thrilled with all of the new Sugarpill shades I used tonight! I am in love with Sugarpill and can't wait to see what Amy comes out with in the future! I'll be doing a post on my makeup favorites from 2011 tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled.

What do you think of this look?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Peel Off Mask

I was fortunate enough to get a Montagne Jeunesse Peel Off mask in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox and I wanted to make sure I did a separate review on it because it was probably the biggest surprise for me of all the products I tried in this box. I'm (admittedly) a bit of a beauty snow when it comes to high-end brands versus drugstore brands. It's very unintentional, but between wanting cruelty-free products and products that do not contain unsavory ingredients, I tend to find that many drugstore products either irritate my skin or don't meet those criteria. I will absolutely try drugstore products and do on a regular basis, but as I'm sure you've noticed, I rarely review them because (aside from several drugstore mascaras) I don't typically find them worth my time to review here for you lovely makeup lovers. Oddly enough, I've passed by products by Montagne Jeunesse before because--quite honestly--I found the packaging to look a bit bizarre and unappealing! The odd, beauty masked faces just never did it for me. Well, this product has apparently reinforced the fact that I need to look beyond the marketing/branding sometimes and just look at the ingredients and product. Now don't get me wrong, packaging alone won't throw me off every time, but it does play a small factor with me.

Anyway, on to the mask!

I received the Juiced Cucumber Peel Off Masque by Montagne Jeunesse in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox. Do you see what I mean about the images on their packaging???? Creepy! haha

How it Worked
First of all, the mask is extremely cooling and a tad tingly. There was a minty zing to it that caught me a bit off guard for a moment, but it wasn't unpleasant and didn't burn my skin--it was actually quite nice. This masque spreads like most other peel off masks I've tried in a thick gel. I allowed it to dry for the length of time suggested by the instructions. One of the first things that impressed me about this mask was that it didn't feel as though my face was stuck in a vacuum as it dried! I am all for some firming action or tightening, but I hate it when my face feels overly pulled on. The second thing that impressed me was the fact that the entire mask peeled off in one piece! I have tried so many peel off masks that fractured into a million annoying, sticky bits as I tried to peel them all off. With the exception of a tiny bit that somehow made its way to my hairline (which easy came off), my masque came away in one piece! I noticed after using it that my pores were a bit clearer and smaller! I have large pores in some parts of my face for some reason and I'm always thrilled to find products that minimize them to any degree. All in all, I found this to be super effective! The ingredients were very reasonable as well for a drugstore product. I was impressed by that fact as well.

Price
It seems as though the price varies a bit, but I've seen the individual packets go for around $1-$1.50 at drugstores near me. 

Where to Buy
Perhaps almost as impressive as its performance, the price tag and availability are equally noteworthy! You can find these lovely masques at local drugstores such as Walgreens, CVS, etc. as well as super stores such as Target and Walmart.

Final Thoughts
If you're hoping to do a little at-home facial on a budget--and you can get past the creepy faces on the packaging (I say that in jest ... sort of!)--Montagne Jeunesse masques are worth a look. I'm still surprised by how much I liked the mask I tried and for the price, I don't think you can really go wrong with these unless you have issues with any of the ingredients. Mine, aside from 2 dyes, had very natural ingredients--and you know I'm a stickler about that when it comes to skin care! I give these a polished-thumb-up!b    

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Mani 2011

I wanted to share a holiday look with you guys, but given how sick I've been it just didn't happen :( However, I did make sure my nails are looking their best so I thought that I'd share my Christmas mani with you--not the same as an EOTD, but better than nothing, right?

Here's my super sparkly, blinged out Christmas mani! I used OPI Crown Me Already over Zoya Delilah. Crown Me Already was released in celebration of the Miss Universe pageant this past year and Delilah is one of my absolute favorite reds. It's a tad less berry-ish than it looks here and more red-red in person, but it has super subtle micro-glitter that gives that extra something that separates it from some of my other beloved reds.


Here's a close-up of my Christmas Mani. As you can see, OPI Crown Me Already is crazy!!! There's at least FOUR different sizes of glitter and several different shapes. In person this glitter polish is extremely light-catching and sparkly. It literally looks as though you've dipped your nails in diamond dust. I love it and I'm not generally a big fan of traditional glitter polishes!

What did you do to get in the holiday beauty mood?

Happy Holidays from Makeup Chic Literary Geek!!!

Wishing all of you a fabulous holiday season :)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spotlight: Votre Vu Winter Wonderhands

If you read my review of Votre Vu's Forget the Baubles ... Get the "It Kit", you know I've been dying to get my hands on one of Votre Vu's other holiday gift sets--Winter Wonderhands. You can imagine how over the moon I was when a lovely PR professional from Votre Vu reached out to me and offered to send it to me! It just came today--talk about perfect timing--and I had to share this with you before taking a little break for Christmas tomorrow.

I love everything about Votre Vu's packaging! Their branding is apparent in every detail from beginning to end--love it.

I love their seal and silver tissue paper! I can't bring myself to throw it away ;)

Here's first peak inside the box! No, you're not seeing triple, those are THREE lovely little Votre Vu bags in there!

Here's a closer look at the insert you can see in the image above. This show you all of the goodies included in this fabulous gift set. And yes, you get 3 sets of Bebe Duettes, which come with 2 tubes per set--one with the white balm and one with the berry-colored balm!

This is the back of the insert, which talks about the fabulous Bebe Duette sets that come in this set.

I love that Votre Vu products come in these adorable little bags! Each of the 3 sets in this gift kit (2 Bebe Duettes per set) comes in its own little bag, making it easy to gift them if you feel generous ;)

This is an example of 1 set of Bebe Duette tubes (inside the bag above). As you may have already guessed, the one with the kiss on it has the berry-colored lip balm.

Here's the back of the Bebe Duette tubes. The lotion is a thick, delicious mixture of coconut and almond, but it's light enough not be overpowering. I absolutely love it and I'm extremely picky/sensitive to scents.

I wanted to give you lovelies a chance to see the two lip balms side-by-side. I cannot tell you how much I adore the lotion/lipbalm duo tops! They're so darn fabulous!!!

Price
This lovely gift set is priced at $69 retail, with a retail value of $118.50. 

Where to Buy
This lovely Votre Vu gift set can be purchased on their site HERE

Final Thoughts
If you hadn't already guessed, I'm in love! This is everything I thought it would be and more! I still can't get over how convenient and perfect the Bebe Duette lotion/lip balms are. These are the perfect size to throw into your bag or keep in your desk so that you can keep your lips and hands hydrated. Especially up here in New England, it gets insanely dry and cold and lips and hands can take a beating. I know mine will be in excellent shape this winter! If this peaks your interest, nab it while you can. I feel like this has super broad appeal as well, which is not something I can say for every product I try. Sometimes when I review products, I consider whether or not my younger sisters, mom, and occasionally grandmother would like some of the items I try--that's the appeal spectrum I use.This is one of those things that I can honestly say they would all adore using. The price is excellent for what you get and you're going to love flipping the multi-tiered cap up over and over--at least I do!

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Beauty Gift Swap - See what everyone received!

I had so much fun organizing the holiday beauty gift swap, I just want to thank you lovely makeup lovers for participating! I'm hoping that most of you will let me know what you got so I can post pics or links to your videos here :) Feel free to email them to me at letschat@makeupchicliterarygeek.com and check back as I'll update this as things come in! Also, I'll be organizing a similar event after Near Years, so check back for updates on that as well!

Here's what you've shared so far...

Jalaina S. Received from Erin: Check out her Youtube "open box" video!

Spotlight: New Years Nail Polish Giveaway! Open Internationally

In celebration of the coming New Year and the launch of my new polish swapping forum, I'm having 2 giveaways!

While entries can only be done through my forum--Trading Pretty--I wanted to let all of my readers know so that they have an opportunity to enter as well ;)

Up for grabs are 2 fabulous prizes, broken up into US-only and International giveaways!

The Prizes

The US-only prize is...
Custom Zoya Color Box (left to right) - Savita, Kendal, Kristen

The International giveaway prize (open to US and international polish lovers) is...
Incoco Copper Rouge Tips French Mani Appliques - See my past review on Incoco nail applies HERE.

How to Enter
Entries must be done through my polish swapping forum--TradingPretty.com. Go under the Giveaways section to view both giveaways. Entries can only be made by forum members. Entrants do not have to be followers of my blog, though I always appreciate new followers ;)

When do the giveaways end?
Both giveaways end January 15th, so hurry on over!

Good luck, everyone, and please feel free to spread the word! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Violent Lips Red Kiss Tattoo

Black Friday/Cyber Monday gave me a great opportunity to snatch a few must-haves as well as long-time-wants. One of those happened to be Violent Lips tattoos! These things have fascinated me since the first time I saw them ... though I can't remember quite when that was. I took advantage of their amazing Black Friday weekend sale and purchased a set for myself and a set for one of my younger sisters. This was my first time ever applying these, so keep that in mind as you read my review!

Sorry that part of this is a tad out of focus, my camera kept going all nutty because of the high-shine of the glossy exterior of the envelope these come in!

Each Violent Lips packet comes with 3 tattoos, which is smaller than a postcard, but larger than a business card.

As you can see on the back of the card these tattoos come on, they have guidelines for trimming the pieces to your lips as well as instructions--very handy!


Each lip tattoo punches out of the card it comes on--2 separate pieces for the lower and upper lip.

I found that trimming them was easy because of the guidelines, but difficult when it came to figuring out where my lips matched up! Kind of a catch-22 ;)

Here is the tattoo on my lips! As you can see, somehow I managed to slightly mess up on side of my upper lip and didn't quite meet the edge of my own lip, but all in all application wasn't as insane as I thought it would be.

Price
Violent Lips average from $9.99 to $14.95 retail.

Where to Buy
I've heard that you can purchase these at your local Sephora, but since mine is a bit useless, I've never seen Violent Lips there. I would strongly suggest purchasing them directly from Violent Lips as they have the largest selection overall. You can get them HERE.  

Final Thoughts
I think these are fun and definitely more interesting than swiping on some lipstick or gloss. The application does take some time, especially the first few times. My first application took me around 15 minutes when all was said and done between watching the tutorial, trimming, re-trimming, and applying. The one thing I will say that I found to be a downside to these is that you cannot apply anything (including balm) to your lips before you apply these, otherwise they won't stick. These make my lips feel a bit dry, so not being able to put something under them was kind of a bummer. I'm not sure if I'm the only one that has found them to feel a bit drying, but it was noticeable. Not so noticeable that I won't be giving them another go, but noticeable enough that I wished I could have put on some balm beforehand. I also want to point out that these are said to typically wear between 4-6 hours. That's a decent amount of time, but unless you plan on having to remove them while being out, I'm not sure if 4 hours is enough to leave and come back in some circumstances. Also, removing them was fairly easy, but it did take a bit of scrubbing with some oil to completely remove ever single piece of the tattoos. Overall, the versatility and uniqueness outweigh any cons in my mind in some situations. While I definitely wouldn't wear these on a daily basis, I can absolutely see myself turning to these for exciting events or special looks. I look forward to trying a few different styles, there are a few that have really caught my eye!

Have you tried Violent Lips? What did you think of them? 


Review: Boots Botanics Organic Face Nourishing Eye Make Up Remover

I recently saw Boots post something on facebook regarding their Organic Face Nourishing Eye Make Up Remover and knew I had to find out more! As you know, I'm always on the hunt for natural and organic beauty products that perform as well as (if not better) than traditional products. Thankfully, Boots gave the opportunity to give this product a try for myself!


A little hard to capture the label since it was towards the side of a rounded tube, but check them out if you can!

Price
Boots Botanics Organic Nourishing Eye Make Up Remover is priced at $6.99 retail. Can I just say--wow!

Where to Buy
This product can be purchased from Boots' website HERE as well as at your local Target and Target online HERE. 

Final Thoughts
Where to begin? First of all, I'm in love! Now in all fairness I often remove my makeup using straight, unprocessed oils such as jojoba, avocado, etc., so finding a product that is sold in a store like Target that is 93% Certified Organic and made mostly of oil/wax is a major find to me personally. 

All of that aside, it works really well! This product almost has the consistency of a natural lip balm that comes in a squeeze tube rather than stick. You squeeze a tiny bit on your finger, gently dab it onto your closed lid, add some water, then gently wipe it away. This melts into your skin beautifully! The best part is, it didn't irritate my skin or dry it out! I have such a hard time with so many cleansers being too harsh for my sensitive skin, but this not only did the trick without stressing my skin, but left it nice and supple--always a good thing when you're talking about the skin around your eyes! I can't say enough about this eye make up remover. I know that some of you will look at a makeup remover that consists primarily of oil and say--not for me--but I strongly suggest you give it a shot! Natural oils get such a bad rap, largely due to poor information out there. As I always say, to each his/her own, but I doubt you'll be disappointed ;) Regardless, this gets my seal of approval!

Does the fact that this is organic and available at such an accessible price and store make it more appealing or does none of that matter to you when choosing makeup remover?

Review: Boots Extracts Mini Body Butter Collection

I've been trying to review as many gift ideas as possible for you guys and I was recently given the opportunity by Boots to review their cute Mini Body Butter Collection--perfect timing given how harsh the cold is right now up here! The set comes with 3 mini body butters in Cocoa Butter, Bergamot, and Almond.

Boots Extracts Mini Body Butter Collection - Cocoa Butter, Bergamot, Almond body butters

What's Inside
As you can see in the picture above, this Mini Body Butter Collection comes with 3 different body butters. My nose is a bit stuffed (still sick!), so it's a little hard for me to smell these body butters completely, but I'll try my best to represent their scent accurately ;)

Cocoa Butter
This smells like every other cocoa butter lotion/cream I've ever used (not quite the same as unprocessed cocoa butter, which smells exactly like chocolate) and has a fabulously thick consistency. 

   
Bergamot
This Body Butter has a sweet, floral smell that almost reminds me of Victoria's Secret Pink. This is also super thick and hydrating.

      
Almond
This smells like a sweet almond, not quite like marzipan, but you can definitely tell it's almond. This was very thick and hydrating as well.


Price
Boots Extracts Mini Body Butter Collection is priced at $9.99 retail.

Where to Buy
This can be purchased directly from Boots HERE as well as at your local Target or Target online HERE.

Final Thoughts
 When Boots says "Butter" they mean butter! These were literally as thick as spreadable butter, it was amazing! Usually when I try body butters they're thicker than typical moisturizers, but not by much. These are ultra-thick and very hydrating. The ingredients, for the most part, are pretty good. A naturalist would probably opt for something more natural overall, but a typical beauty lover would likely appreciate these products as they are. I like that this set comes with 3 mini body butters as it gives you the option to gift the set or separate them out and gift them separately! From what I've seen, the set Target carries has the same body butters, but different packaging--mine came in a trapezoid box, while the one at Target appears to come in a rectangular box--both quadrilaterals, but one potentially a bit more wrapping and/or stocking-friendly ;) I know you guys love a sprinkling of geekiness in with your beauty reviews! Anyway, I like the set, I like the body butters, and the price is definitely budget-friendly.

Have you tried Boots Extracts Body Butters in the past? What do you think?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spotlight: Holiday Mani!

Today was one of my baby sister's birthdays and I wanted to do something fun, festive, and cute when I saw her and some of the rest of my family. Zoya Trixie is an absolute favorite of mine and I knew I wanted to do something "her", but I thought perhaps one of the recent Zoya holiday glitter polishes would be a nice complement. I really had a tough time choosing between Rina, Kissa, and Twila (see review HERE). I almost went with Twila because I have a serious think for silver and blue, but finally ended up going with Rina because she's so green and gorgeous!

Here's what the combo looked like...

Zoya Rina over Trixie

I really like the overall effect! I think it's pretty, unique, and festive :) What do you think?

I've managed to get some horrible virus and my throat feels as though someone's driving a spike down it, but if I have the energy I'll be sure to post a holiday eye look and perhaps another mani, too. What is your ide aof the perfect holiday mani?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spotlight: NYC New York Color

I recently received an NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine in Nude York City in my Influenster Holiday VoxBox. Now, if you follow my blog you know I'm not obsessed with drugstore makeup brands, but I can appreciate a good drugstore product when one comes along.

I have quite a collection of lip products and it seems as though I've been purchasing a lot of reds, pinks, and nudes! I think the nude choice shocks me because I'm such a fan of color on lips. I was kind of amused that I received none other than a nude shade for my NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine in my box!

NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine in Nude York City

Ironically, this shade looks almost identical to several I already own by companies like MAC, Stila, Anastasia, etc.

First Impression
For those of you that mind sticky lip gloss (I actually don't care either way), you may want to try this if you're looking for a drugstore lip gloss in a trendy color because it's pretty smooth. I'm impressed by close in hue this is to higher-end glosses I already own. 

Product Details
Liquid Lipshine retails for $2.49 (I almost choked when I saw how cheap it is!). It's said to create a 3D effect on your lips like many of the other glosses being released lately. I love that it includes vitamin E, especially because winters are so drying here in New England, and I'm interested to see the other shades--there are 10 of them in total. NYC New York Color is carried by most drugstores and superstores like Target as well as on the company's site, www.newyorkcolor.com.

Final Thoughts   
With such a low price tag, I can see why I've seen other beauty bloggers mentioning NYC New York Color before as a favorite drugstore brand. While I'm definitely not planning to trade out all of my high-end lip glosses for drugstore glosses, I am open to checking out some of the more flashy colors NYC New York Color has to offer.

Have you tried Liquid Lipshine before? What did you think?

Spotlight: imPRESS Press-on Manicure

I recently received my Influenster Holiday Vox Box and in it I got an imPRESS Press-On Manicure. Now, I'm not typically a fake nails kind of girl, but I have to admit these are pretty cute! I don't think I've used press-on nails since I was about 12 or 13 and the thought of doing it regularly now isn't really my style, but given how realistic these look, if I had a last-minute event and my nails were a mess I'd consider throwing on a pair of these in a jam.

imPRESS Press On Manicure in Ecstatic Cling - Go hot pink nails!

First Impressions
There are 2 things that immediately caught my eye when I saw these: 1. packaging (how cute is the fake polish bottle?) and 2. They weren't thick and chunky or super long. I think the shape and size, which is a sports-length.

One downside I immediately noticed was that the beds of my nails are proportionately longer than the nails that fit the width of my nails. I have longer, slightly thinner nail beds and while I prefer a squared-off nail, these are almost square in proportions. Not quite a great fit for my nails.

Product Details
These come in 36 different colors/patterns and retail for $5.99 for solid colors and $7.99 for patterns. Given that nail appliques run around $10, that's not a bad deal if you don't mind press-ons. You can purchase them at most drugstores as well as online at www.imPRESSManicure.com.

What do you think? Would you give these a try or are press-ons just not for you?

Spotlight: Influenster Holiday VoxBox 2011

I joined Influenster a couple months ago because I love trying and reviewing new products--who doesn't?! I managed to qualify for their special Holiday VoxBox and I just received it today. I have to admit, I was sitting on the edge of my seat because my sister, who also signed up and qualified for the Holiday VoxBox, received hers 2 days ago! We live in different states, so apparently my postal system is just a tad slower.

Anyway, as soon as my VoxBox came I dove right in! I made sure to take pictures right then as well because I didn't want to forget and I knew I'd want to open up a few of the things I received right away. Good thing because Hubs already stole my Mentos Pure Fresh Gum! He loves that stuff ;)

First Glance

Here's a peek inside my Influenster Holiday VoxBox! Some fun goodies ;)

What I Received
Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar - I am a huge sucker for anything coconut and especially during the winter, I love a good exfoliating bar. I'm interested to see how this works for me. Generally I use higher-end products, but I do buy Softsoap liquid soap sometimes, so I am familiar with the brand.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure - I love that they sent me hot pink! Do they know me? I don't like pink in general, but when it comes to nails and lips, I love it! I haven't worn fake nails since I was about ... 12 or 13, but I'm interested to see if/how these work for me.

LARABAR in Apple Pie - I am a big fan of LARABARs. Especially in my household, we eat a lot of natural food bars.

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum - I used to be a huge gum chewer, but I have super bad TMJ so I had to quit about 5 years ago (seriously still hurting over that one), but Hubs is a huge fan of Mentos Gum so he snatched this up the second I opened it ;)

NYC Liquid Lipshine - I received this in a nice nude color. If you follow my blog you know I'm kind of (accidentally) a bit of a high-end beauty fan. Not that I won't ever use drugstore products, in fact I use several regularly in my beauty routine, but they have to be AMAZING for me to want to use them instead of more expensive brands. Why? Because I personally find that the higher-end brands I prefer have better quality products and that they're more ingredient-conscious. I'll be interested to see how this compared to some of my $20+ lip glosses ;)

Montagne Jeunesse Peel Off Masque - Of all of the products I've tried so far, this was the one I thought I'd probably go "eh" over and then walk away. Ironically, I'm a tad impressed. The ingredients, aside from 2 dyes, are actually pretty great and this peel off mask actually peeled off! My skin looks a bit clearer/brighter and wasn't irritated. The only downside may be the initial smell, which was a bit strong at first, but it fades fast. Oh, that picture on the front is a bit creepy, too ;) But it doesn't affect my overall opinion of the product haha.

Favorite Product
When I do VoxBox reviews I'm going to list my favorite product moving forward. For this box it's a tough choice, but I'd have to say the Peel Off Masque. It really worked and that impressed me!

Final Thoughts  
I'm really glad I signed up with Influenster and have to say I thought this Holiday VoxBox was a fun little treat :) While I normally only review beauty products on my blog, it was nice to change it up a bit. I'm looking forward to hopefully reviewing more VoxBoxes in the future!

If you're interested in signing up with Influenster you can do so HERE.

Spotlight: Official Beauty Army Info!

You may or may not have already heard, but a new beauty sample subscription company is coming to town and it's one I'm super excited about because a fellow Beautylish-er is part of their team! I definitely intend to subscribe if I can snag a subscription ;)

Beauty Army will be launching January 1st and allowing 300 lucky beauty-lovers sign up for their fabulous subscription service which enables subscribers to either choose up to 6 products a month to try or receive a box of samples hand-picked by the beauty specialists at Beauty Army!

Here are some of the details:

Simply click the “Sign Up” page on your computer or mobile device to get started!  After answering a few beauty questions, we will recommend a selection of samples for you to choose up to 6.

The multilevel personalization, you choose or we choose for you, comes at the same value:  $12 monthly or pay for 1 full year at an 11 kit cost of $132 and receive your 12th kit free!! As always, Beautiful, the shipping fee for your kit is included!

Once your kit ships, you will receive an email with your the tracking number.  To ensure smooth delivery all of our kits will ship USPS First Class, which does not require a signature.  You kits will ship as follows: Order between the 1st and the 15th of the month and your kit will be delivered that month.  Place your order between the 16th and 31st and you will receive you kit in the early part of the next month. We are currently shipping only to the US at this time.

Have you fallen in love with a product in your kit? Make sure you leave a review on our website so the Army can see what you think and don’t forget to stop by the shop and pick up a full size, shipping is a flat fee of $5 per order.  Our membership as well as our store accepts all major credit cards.

You can get more info or sign up here: http://www.BeautyArmy.com/join

If you sign up, please visit Beauty Army's Facebook page and let them know I sent you ;) (Makeup Chic, Literary Geek Beauty blog http://www.makeupchicliterarygeek.com).

Thanks!

Rant: Birchbox Fail

Update (2:31pm): I received a call back regarding my call earlier this week. I spoke with the same CS rep that emailed me (see below) and essentially the reason they are waiting to send out replacement boxes to those of us that still don't have tracking info is because they won't have the inventory to do so until next week.

Does this make me feel better? No. Again, I still feel as though this could have been better anticipated or that a better solution could have been found (i.e. don't put that product in December's box and include another product or offer Birchbox points), but there's nothing that can be done at this point. So I guess I'll keep waiting and see what happens.

Original Post:

I know I rarely do rant posts, but I am at my wit's end with this situation and think it's appropriate to share my experience with all of you given the fact that I've been a huge fan of Birchbox in the past and suggested it to many of you. I've seen many other bloggers give up on Birchbox recently. I was hopeful that if I gave my subscription until December, perhaps things would change for the better. I guess not.

If you've been following my blog you already know about my frustrating issue with the December Birchbox--this problem has hit a group of subscribers, not just me. I still have not received it and shipping info hasn't even loaded into the system because I'm one of the "lucky" ones that ended up with a new product in my box.

If you want to get up to speed you can read my post on what's in my box according to the site HERE.

You can also read about the Birchbox delay HERE

This situation is getting more and more frustrating. I thought that my box would be a few days late. I wasn't thrilled, but it wasn't a huge deal. Then more time went by and I finally called Birchbox. Unfortunately, I was only able to leave a message--still haven't received a call back and I left the message Monday. I emailed as well because I assumed that if my box was delayed, customer service might be behind in responding to the flood of inquiries I'm sure they've received regarding this problem.

I just received a response via email, which said:

Thanks for writing in! I just took a look at your tracking number and see that the tracking information has not loaded yet.  We've seen this for a number of customers - it just appears that the tracking updates are taking longer to load than usual.  In addition, although we always try to ship the boxes out as early in the month as possible, unfortunately they did ship out closer to the 10th this month.   And with yours in particular, we were waiting on a specific sample to send you, which is why we emailed you notification of the delay.  


I've added you to the list to be sent a new December box, but we'll keep an eye on your tracking number to see if any updates load in the meantime!  If they don't load, we will ship you the replacement December box next week!

Next week?! I honestly find this to be so incredibly frustrating. Not only has my box been delayed and the best Birchbox could offer was $20 off a purchase of $75 from their site, but by the time they send out a new one and I receive it, it will be almost January. I understand that a number of us are in this situation and that the costs of replacing the boxes that seem to evaporated must be high, but isn't that something a company that cares about their customers should accept without flinching to offer great service? I don't understand why Birchbox didn't offer something like points to those of us still waiting for our boxes in addition to a replacement box. Other than the first email I received regarding the fact that my box would be delayed, they have not sent anything else with updates. I feel as though the ball has been dropped. Given this experience in addition to the last few months, I think I've lost almost all of my faith in Birchbox. I loved them when I first signed up, but with so many new companies springing up, I can't help but think it's time to end my subscription and try something new. 
Either way, I emailed back expressing my disappointment in how this has been handled, but haven't received a response yet. I'll update this post when I do.

Has your box been delayed? How do you feel Birchbox has handled this situation?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Swatch & Review: Zoya Charla

I remember first seeing swatches for Charla when Zoya first released her, but for some reason I've only just purchased her now! After all, how could I say no with all of Zoya's fabulous flash promos going on?

Zoya Charla - So pretty!


Color Description
Charla is a tough color to describe in some ways because she's got so much going on! Zoya describes her as a "sparkling tropical blue metallic, but I think she's actually got a good deal of green in her! Also, if you look very closely, you can see super-micro-fine glitter. She's very mermaid-esque to me;)

Application/Opacity
This was a dream to apply in the sense that it wasn't goopy, super thick, or super thin to apply! I had barely any clean up because it was so easy to manipulate, in fact. This is not the most opaque polish Zoya has to offer. With 3 coats it looks pretty opaque in person, largely because of all of the reflective sparkle, but my camera was able to see right through it because I turn the ISO down so my shots are better quality-wise. 

Zoya Charla - 3 coats with clear top coat. I didn't clean up the edges before taking a pic because I wanted to show you just how easy she is to apply--very little bleeding onto my skin/cuticle. I find that even though this photographs less opaque, it doesn't look quite this sheer in person! Also, it is much more sparkly in person and you can see the micro-glitter in it. As I mentioned, this skews a bit more green-blue than just blue. It really is a lovely polish!

Price
Like all of Zoya's nail polishes, Charla is priced at $8 retail.

Where to Buy
Charla can be purchased directly from Zoya HERE.  

Final Thoughts
I am so glad I purchased Charla! I think this is a fabulous color for Summer and even festive enough for a non-conventional holiday color (in my opinion) because of all the sparkly-green shimmer. If you like the color, don't be thrown off by the lack of complete opacity in the swatch. With 3 coats it looks opaque in person! If this has peeked your interest, definitely give Charla a try!

Please share pics of what you got from your Secret Santa beauty swapper!

Share Your Gifts!
Now that everyone knows who they're giving to and receiving from, you're probably all enjoying shopping for your Secret Beauty Santas! Don't forget, shipping should be done no later than the 18th (which is a Sunday, so it's probably a good idea to try to get the gifts out by Saturday) so everyone gets theirs by Christmas ;) 

I hope that once you get your little shipment of holiday cheer that you'll send me pictures (send to: letschat@makeupchicliterarygeek.com) of your gift so that everyone can see what everyone else got--that's half the fun, right?! I'll do a separate post once I start receiving pictures from you lovelies. Thanks again, ladies, for participating in my first Secret Santa Beauty Swap! I'm planning on doing a few similar events in 2012 throughout the year, so please watch for updates if you'd like to be involved in something like this again ;)

Looking forward to your pictures!!!


On a side note, I'd like to invite you all to join my nail polish swapping forum! You can swatch new or barely used (in good condition) nail polish with other polish peeps hoping to shift around their collections ;) You can also share your fun manis, nail art, or polish swatches with a community of beauty-enthusiasts like yourself. Visit my forum here: www.tradingpretty.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spotlight: Zoya Color Box in Delicate Pinks

This is my third Zoya Color Box as I've purchased two others--Zoya Color Box in Soft Grays and Zoya Color Box in Bold Greige! I purchased this along with Soft Grays during one of the BOGO promos because I couldn't resist. Here's Delicate Pinks (scroll down to the end if you've already seen the exterior packaging)...

Like the others, once you remove the shipping box you'll find this white Zoya box, which the color box sits snuggly within. The way these are packaged reminds me of nesting dolls and I want to show you each layer, so bear with me!

Here is the gorgeous glossy Zoya box. It is so sleek and classy, I love it!

After you remove the sleek, shiny Zoya box you'll come to the cute Zoya tissue paper layer! I swear I felt like I was opening up a Christmas present!

The final "box" layer! This is the Zoya velvet box. These are very nice quality!

Zoya Delicate Pinks Color Box (left to right) - Laurie, Madison, Erika. So bubblegum-y and lovely!

Price
These are currently available during the holidays for $24 retail per color box. Shipping is free and expedited on these!

Where to Buy
These are offered exclusively on Zoya's site in 12 different color combinations! You can purchase these HERE  

Final Thoughts
Can you tell I'm digging Zoya's color boxes? As I've said before, they are the perfect gift for anyone that likes nail polish and the best part is, the presentation is flawless. I still want all 12! I included the Zoya color boxes as one of my foolproof family gift ideas in another recent post. You can see that post HERE.

What do you think?!